Victorian Houses and Loft Conversions

By Jon Pritchard In Loft conversion No comments

As loft conversion specialists based in the city of Bristol, one of the most common types of conversion we carry out are on Victorian or Edwardian properties, in addition to the city’s many Georgian buildings.

A prolific period in British architectural history, Victorian properties were built during the reign of Queen Victoria from 1837 to 1901, and whereas public buildings such as the former warehouses overlooking Welsh Back in Bristol or Temple Meads railway station for example fell out of favour with architects in the 1960s, homes from the period have remained in high demand.

Indeed, a recent survey of Britons showed that Victorian and Edwardian era properties are just behind Georgian homes in a poll of the most sought after homes that people would like to live in.

One thing that’s great about Victorian homes, apart from being full of character of course, is that in towns and cities around the UK they tend to represent a very diverse housing stock. And they are particularly diverse in Bristol, from villas around The Promenade area of Clifton to 2-bed Victorian mid-terraces in areas such as Totterdown, the city’s housing needs are well covered by properties of this period.

In terms of style, Victorian homes tend to be red brick; this is a legacy of the latter part of the era when building materials became standardised, although many of the era’s properties do not feature this hallmark. Indeed, it was a period of time when society was undergoing rapid change so things evolved quickly over the years in terms of design. Some of the main changes the period brought about include: the introduction of bay windows in the 1860s, the installation of front doors to one side of the property rather than in the middle, and toward the latter part of the period, houses were increasingly built with lower ceilings, featured a little more ornamentation than previous, and stained glass front doors first began to appear. 

When it comes to getting a loft conversion done to a Victorian property, they are a sensible option for enhancing and upgrading century old homes so that they are able to cope with modern demands. Terraced houses in particular stand to gain because of their narrow footprint, usually no wider than a single room plus a corridor, they can be totally transformed by a loft conversion. They do however need to be carried out sensitively by experienced professionals because of the structural and architectural requirements associated with this type of conversion.

It is common for Victorian mid-terraces for example, to be built using parallel columns instead of solid brickwork, which means that the overall structure might not be strong enough to deal with additional load bearing a loft conversion necessitates. Moreover, it is important to consider the type of loft conversion to be undertaken with care if you live in one of these properties. A specialist with a long track record of Victorian conversions will be able tell you what the best type of conversion; for example, a roof dormer loft conversion to the Victorian mid-terrace maximises space gain whereas this may not be the case with other properties.

Needless to say, there is often more freedom attached to larger properties, giving scope to create wonderful large bedrooms complete with a wet room, WC and a separate dressing room. Perfect!

As with any conversion to a ‘period’ property, plans for Victorian homes are best to remain faithful to the original design of the building, not only because of regulations but also due to the aesthetic and resale value. Properties have much more character when compared to later developments, which is why they are more desirable for buyers and why you will want to keep that character in tact!

To ensure a Victorian loft conversion is successful, partnering with an expert with substantial local architectural knowledge is highly advantageous. It is important for your provider to have a grasp of local rules and regulations because some Victorian properties are protected in addition to being able to advise on how remodel these special homes according to your specification.