What Is A Tudor Home?

Reminiscent of English manors, this style of homes popular among the nation’s elite started appearing in the late 19th century.

When you first see a Tudor-style home, you may feel like you’ve been transported to a different time or place. These homes were built to resemble manors of the English countryside and were often a symbol of affluence and taste.

Tudor homes were created as an homage to late medieval and early Renaissance styles. These unique, elegant homes are instantly recognizable due to their whimsical, Old World appearance and distinctive characteristics such as a pitched roof and eclectic, asymmetrical construction. Because their construction is intended to mimic homes suitable for the colder climates of the United Kingdom, they are most commonly found in the Northern United States, but not always.

The majority of Tudor Style homes were built in the Roaring Twenties, nicknamed “Stockbroker Tudors” after their wealthy owners. Following their height of popularity between 1890 and 1940, these homes fell out of style during World War II as Americans gravitated back towards the Colonial style, also known as the “Colonial Revival” period. Post-World War II, Americans were looking for homes that were both affordable and relatively easy to build. The ornate and often quite expensive construction of a Tudor-style home fell out of fashion.

Distinctive Characteristics

The steep gables of a Tudor-style roof mimic those built in medieval England—but the dramatic slopes aren’t purely for aesthetics. They were built to withstand heavy rain and snow in the cold, harsh climate of the English countryside. The asymmetry of these homes, enhanced by the gabled roofs and high ceilings, allowed for more freedom when designing interiors than their Colonial-style predecessors. Protruding from the roofs were richly decorated chimneys, often adorned with elaborate masonry. This Bronxville home, designed by premiere Tudor architect Lewis Bowman in the 1920s, is a prime example of a signature Tudor chimney.

Another calling card of the Tudor style is the mix of stucco walls and decorative, half-timber framing. The bold contrast between the two makes Tudor architecture both eye-catching and elegant. The framing is meant to mimic medieval construction methods when homes were supported by a semi-exposed wooden frame and known as “hall houses.”

The windows in a Tudor-style home are typically tall and narrow, clustered in small groupings. This is another reference to medieval architecture. Floating oriel windows (groupings of windows that project from the upper-story of a structure) and bay windows (floor-to-ceiling oriel windows, typically on the first floor) were also very common architectural elements of these homes. Although these were more modern adaptations of the typical medieval style, the purpose of these windows was to let in more light than a typical window that is built flat into the side of a home.

One beautiful example of a Tudor home can be found here in Bronxville, New York. The signature stucco walls with half-timbered gables make this home instantly recognizable as a Tudor-style estate. The windows are framed in wood and in groupings of three or four, which is also typical of the style.