Australian House Styles


Colonial Period (1800 – 1849)

Colonial House Skirtings Architraves

The typical Colonial home is very simple with few decorative features. It was originally influenced by the British Georgian and Regency Periods throughout the 19th century.

Attributes of a typical Colonial home include symmetrical design, corrugated iron roofs, brick chimney stacks, multipane sash windows, six panelled doors, brick quoining, external shutters, wide wrap-around verandahs, hipped roofs and stone or brickwork.

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Victorian Period (1850 – 1901)

Victorian House DoorsVictorian home architecture incorporates various styles ranging from classic facades and Georgian styles to extremely ornate and decorative embellishments. “More of everything” was a trademark of the era.

Typical features of this period include decorative cast iron or lace work, terrace housing, steep pitched roofs, fretwork, chimney stacks, multi coloured brickwork or red brickwork, stain glass windows, double pane windows, oriel windows and curved verandahs.

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Federation / Edwardian Period (1890’s – 1920’s)

Federation Edwardian House DoorsFederation and Edwardian style homes were one of the first distinctively Australian homes. Their design embraced the outdoor lifestyle of the Australian people. They are often very picturesque and eye catching.

Characteristics of a Federation/Edwardian style home include terracotta tiled roof, asymmetrical roof lines, gable and motifs, leadlight windows, high ceilings, plasterwork, ceiling roses, finials and brackets, red-brown brickwork, decorative timber verandahs, and timber fretwork.

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Late Edwardian / Californian Bungalow Period (1915 – 1930)

Californian Bungalow House DoorsThe Californian Bungalow was a style originally imported from Los Angeles. Also known as the “Cal-bung”, it is a solid and respectable house. With a heavy and firm appearance, it is easily recognisable by a number of distinctive characteristics.

Californian Bungalows are usually single storey with double or triple low gabled roofs, painted with batons, wide eaves with exposed rafters, stained glass windows, thick masonary verandah piers or pillars, rough rendered walls, dark bricks, enclosed front porches, high-waisted doors, terracotta shingles or tiled roofs and panelled or wainscoted walls.

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Art Deco Period (1930 – 1939)

Artdeco House Skirtings ArchitravesIn Australia “Art Deco” refers to the 1930’s. The style originated in France in the 1920’s following the popular art nouveau movement, although a Hollywood influence was apparent as well. An understated elegance together with the use of geometric motifs and characteristic colours are associated with the art deco era.

Other common components of houses of this era include flat roofs, porthole windows, curved glass, steel frame windows, zigzags and geometric shapes, clean lines, curved motifs, glass bricks, bright pastel colours and hand rails lining balconies.

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Post War Period (1940 – 1949)

Post War Skirting DoorsThe Post War style homes are simple and modern in design, and usually made from weatherboard, asbestos cement or brick veneer. Materials were scarce during this time, reflecting both the economic constraints and the move towards contemporary designs.

Building forms were simple with limited embellishments, set well back from the street with skillion, flat or butterfly roofs, metal casement windows, weatherboard cladding and few plaster or cornice moulds.

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Post War Skirting DoorsThe Post War style homes are simple and modern in design, and usually made from weatherboard, asbestos cement or brick veneer. Materials were scarce during this time, reflecting both the economic constraints and the move towards contemporary designs.

Building forms were simple with limited embellishments, set well back from the street with skillion, flat or butterfly roofs, metal casement windows, weatherboard cladding and few plaster or cornice moulds.

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Modern Period (1950 – Present)

Modern House DoorsHousing in Australia hit a boom period after the war. There was a growing availability of mass produced building components and materials. A new lifestyle was adopted and reflected in the interior and exterior design of many modern homes. The term “less is more” is evident for modern and contemporary homes.

Trends of today include such characteristics as open plan living, box like facades, striking contrast colours, patios, minimalism, clean lines, large windows or walls of glass windows, skylights, geometric shapes, traditional hip and architecturally designed split skillion roof, rendered or plain brick walls, atriums, planter boxes and landscaped and manicured gardens.

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