In her Field Guide to American Houses, Virginia McAlester notes that American Tudor style homes made up about 25 percent of new houses built in the 1920s, second only to Colonial Revivals. Today, American Tudors’ free-form medieval roots continue to adapt to a wide range of dwellings, from single-level homes close to the center of town to sprawling countryside estates.
This London home provides several key details that illustrate the Tudor theme. The arch with its pointed apex and shallow arcs can be seen in the room’s door panels, transom windows and fireplace surround. The fireplace detail appears carved out from the material, rather than built up with trim, as in classical details. Diamond-shaped window muntins represent a favorite detail of Tudor style.
A minimal baseboard and lack of crown molding let the rough-hewn beams define the character at ceiling level. Short hardwood floor planks set in a herringbone pattern add more interest. The smooth plaster walls calm the elements of this combination.
Transom windows above the double-hung units, dark hardwood floors and heavily textured plaster walls also distinguish this room’s style. Beautiful stained wooden French doors shaped into the Tudor arch confirm this room’s identity.
Interior Details That Define the American Tudor Style Room
- Dark-stained hardwood flooring
- Trim and molding that appears to be carved from one solid piece
- Strapwork or carved stonework
- Plaster wall finish
- Dark-stained trim and paneling
- Scalloped plasterwork
- The Tudor, or four-centered, arch, which uses four arcs, two small and two broad, that meet at an apex in the center.
- Leaded glass, sometimes with a diamond pattern
- Casement or double-hung multiple pane windows
- Transom windows
- Stained glass
- Partial hexagonal bay window configurations
- Ceiling beams or trusses, whether for flat ceilings or vaulted
This grand and elegant 1927 Tudor’s living room in In Portland, Oregon, lets the partial hexagonal bay window grouping add the primary interest to its space. The gently textured plaster walls ascend from a minimal baseboard to a level ceiling without a crown detail. The bay holds 16 multiple-pane casement windows with transoms and completes with a ceiling of wooden strapwork detail fronted with an exposed beam. These crossed bands of detail result in a pattern of diamonds and triangles, providing a delightful focal point.
A newer Minneapolis house captures the Tudor theme in the arch of the fireplace, transom windows and dark-stained trim, floors and paneling. Picture windows below the transoms lend a contemporary element to the theme.
Back in the spectacular Connecticut Tudor we saw before, the vaulted family room ceiling provides another dramatic space. Note the four-centered arch design fashioned into the trusses supporting the roof.
The Tudor arch also provides the opening at the fireplace with a paneled mantel surround traveling upward to complement the height of the room. The transom windows at right have diamond-shaped leaded muntins.
Note that the large stained-glass window in this room is a Gothic arch shape. Its slopes do not straighten before reaching the apex as they would in a Tudor arch.
These characteristics also relate to Gothic and Medieval architecture styles in which American Tudor has its roots.
Has the romance of Tudor style pulled you in? If you have a Tudor-style home, we’d love to see it. Upload a photo in the Comments and tell us your home’s story.