Edwardian & Federation architecture in Australia

Edwardian architecture refers to the refined homes built during the reign of King Edward, from 1901 to 1910, and up until WWl.

This popular architectural period is also known as ‘Federation’, as it coincides with the Federation of the Australian states and territories into the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901.

Edwardian architecture drew upon elements of the Victorian style and Queen Anne revival period of 1895 to 1910. Queen Anne ruled from 1701 to 1714, and both American and English architecture referenced the grandeur of this period.

40 Calypso Avenue MOSMAN 1

Characteristics

Some of the most recognisable Edwardian features include red brick exteriors with embellished wood detail known as fretwork. Terracotta tiles or galvanised iron are generally used for roofing, which is designed with a steep pitch. The gable ends and roof eaves often feature ornate timber brackets, and timber detailing and fretwork are a common inclusion on verandahs.

Stained glass windows towards the front of the home became increasingly popular during this period and often incorporated native Australian fauna and flora motifs and geometric designs. Internally, Victorian-era features are still evident, including plaster ceiling roses and cornices and timber skirting and architraves.

Oorrong Rd Toorak 1

Market value

When marketing an Edwardian or Federation property, it is important to inform buyers about the home’s unique characteristics as it can give the property an advantage in the market, says Paul Bird from the Real Estate Institute of Victoria.

“Sellers should always ensure agents are fully informed about period features – what is original and what is reproduction, what has been restored or redone. Buyers will ask about these things,” says Bird.

However, while these characteristics can be highly desirable to some buyers, they are not always the strongest selling point, explains Bird. “Buyers have individual reasons for purchasing, and intact period features may not necessarily rate highly. For example, a buyer may be looking for a family home and a large Federation home may suit the family’s needs, with space and layout more important than the retention of period features. So the family may prefer a modern extension with open-plan living,” he says.

17 Carew Street Sandringham 2

The considerations affecting market value tend to be very similar to Victorian-era homes, including:

  • Access to highly desirable, ambient inner-city locations
  • The presence of ornate building details, and quality craftsmanship and building materials
  • The impact of council heritage overlays and the level of maintenance required.

244 Glebe Point Road GLEBE 2

Renovation tips

As with Victorian-era homes, councils have become more flexible with renovations to Edwardian houses. Generally the focus is on maintaining the facade’s period features, while it is common for a modern interior to be built behind. The heritage overlay directed by the local council will determine how ‘heritage sensitive’ the renovation needs to be.

Cameron Frazer from Ask An Architect, the building advisory service of the Australian Institute of Architects, says the main difference in renovating an Edwardian home in comparison to a Victorian home  is that you generally have more room to move. “Edwardian homes are often on larger blocks because they were built later than Victorian homes, at a time when there was more urban expansion, so potentially you have more room when renovating,” he says.

When renovating older buildings you may encounter:

  • Rising damp
  • Uneven or springy floors
  • Rotten timber in the roof or foundations (caused by a lack of ventilation and age)
  • Poor thermal performance requiring insulation
  • Electrical wiring faults
  • White ants
  • Crumbling brick.

Looking for a Federation style renovation opportunity?  There’s no better example than my latest Mount Lawley listing below!

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