Guest Home Tour – Strawberry Hill House

I mentioned on Sunday that one of the newest additions to our garden was a strawberry plant from Strawberry Hill House, which we visited when my dad was in town. That reminded me that I never shared any images with you, so thought I’d do so today.

Strawberry Hill House was  built in the 18th century by Horace Walpole in a Georgian Gothic Revival style.  What is particularly interesting about this house is that although it appears to be quite a grand opulent castle, Horace did not have the same sort of wealth that others in this neighbourhood had, and so he had to cut a few corners. Interestingly, a lot of the tricks he played back in the 18th century, ring true today. When one can’t afford real stone tiles for instance, photo-real prints of stone on ceramic tiles often do the trick.

Personally, I’m of the opinion that if you can’t afford a particular expensive material, then don’t fake it – use something else… That said, Horace’s ideas were interesting and ones that some of us undertaking our own renovations might partially relate to.

So here are some of his ‘tricks’:

  1. Start with buying a small wood frame cottage, then render it white and add crenelations around the top so it looks like a stone castle
  2. Add a two storey bay window to add interest to the facade and rooms behind
  3. Salvage small panes of historic painted glass from France that are inexpensive as they aren’t ‘on trend’, and incorporate them into your windows. This will give the house an air of historic authenticity. (Middle left images)
  4. If when you start you can’t afford a grant hall and a dining room, create a multi-purpose space with secret cupboards so furniture can be hidden away.
  5. If you cant afford wide floorboards, pay for a few wide boards in the centre of the room where they are most visible, then use narrower, less expensive boards around the perimeter where they are typically obscured by chairs and tables.
  6. If you cant afford stone fireplace surrounds, have them carved in wood, then paint them stone colour.
  7. If you cant afford a stone carved entrance hall, paint it to look like one using perspective painting techniques. Then when you’ve saved up enough, really go for it in the new extension to make up for it with intricately detailed wood carved panelling (bottom right image)
  8. If when you’ve finally saved up enough to build a proper Grand Hall, make sure you build the shell first. Then, if you’ve gone over budget, you can always save money by making the ceiling decoration out of paper machier and painting it gold! (Top left and top right images)



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