Ultimate Guide to Edwardian House Renovations
Renovating an Edwardian house? What an adventure ahead!
Edwardian properties are rich in character and tend to be more spacious than other styles of homes in Britain – making them an excellent renovation investment. Here, we’re sharing a step-by-step on how to renovate an Edwardian house sympathetic to its architecture, your budget and your needs, first explaining a brief history of Edwardian houses.
Let’s dive in!
By the way if you’re new here, we’re Fi + Neil. We specialise in supporting first time renovators navigate their renovation projects with ease – and build a happy home. We started this website after flipping one property, renovating the next, and getting frustrated at the lack of support out there for first time renovators. We’re changing that and providing all the support we can through our renovation guide, online courses and interior design support (Fi is a designer). Great to have you here!
In this guide:
Renovating an Edwardian house – A Brief History
Renovating an Edwardian house – What to look out for
Renovating an Edwardian house – Where to start
Budgeting for your Edwardian renovation
Layouts for your Edwardian renovation
Designing your Edwardian house
Planning your Edwardian renovation
Shopping for your Edwardian renovation
Getting support with your renovation
Renovating an Edwardian house – a brief history
Built in 1901–1914
Edwardian houses were heavily influenced by the Arts & Crafts movement when they were first built. Artists, architects and designers of this era, such as William Morris and Phillip Webb, rebelled against the speed and mass production of buildings and furniture during the Victorian era. They favoured simplicity, handmade and quality designs crafted by the local tradesmen, not machines.
This means the detail you find in Edwardian houses, on woodwork, cornicing, brickwork are a cut above – so fingers crossed you’ve got some original features such as carved porches, timber railings, fretwork patterns, stained glass doors still present in your house.
Are Edwardian houses a good renovation investment?
Absolutely. They are one of the most sought after British styles. The boom and industrialisation of the Victorian era, meant building space was limited within cities, and with this, many Edwardian properties were built on the suburbs of towns having much more spacious plots – giving you a lot more bang for your buck nowadays. They are a solid built houses making them a fantastic investment for people who want space.
Edwardian houses typically have much bigger hallways, living areas and gardens making them a sound renovation project for families. Privacy was a big thing in those days, so they built these houses set back from the road to make way for front gardens (many of which have been turned into driveways) and often have larger back gardens too. This outdoor space is a big selling point, as it could give you a lot of opportunity to increase the footprint of your home. But it’s important to budget for your renovation effectively. Even if you’re not planning to extend, Garden renovations and landscaping can be pricey. Lots of renovators join our free email series (A Survivor’s Guide to Renovating) to get support with budgeting for an Edwardian renovation.
Back to the inside of Edwardian houses, don’t get us started on the light! Larger panes of glass started being manufactured during the Victorian/Edwardian era, allowing for large sash bay windows to be added to Edwardian style properties, still holding the detail of stained glass and weather bars that is adored in Georgian properties. Depending on your aspect and what’s been built around you, you should have a good level of natural light in the rooms you’re renovating, which is priceless in our opinion.
Renovating an Edwardian house – what to look out for
All renovation projects come with their woes and while Edwardian houses are well built with steep pitched roofs (perfect for loft conversions) and ample space requirements, they do have some nuances to look out for when you’re renovating. Again, if you’re worried about your house renovation cost spiralling, our renovation course is a must as it will get you set up with a tracker, you’ll learn about contingency and tackle the project in an organised (and therefore money-saving) way. Lots of people start with the renovation guide and move on to the renovation course when they’re ready for more practical support and guidance.
What to look out for:
Edwardian houses have shallow foundations which makes the susceptible to tree/root damage and ground movement. It’s good practice to remove any trees/shrubs sitting too close to the house and look out for cracks in the mortar as signs of damage.
Not usually an issue for this style of property, but sometimes air bricks, installed for ventilation can become blocked or covered. Make sure you inspect them regularly to keep them clear which will prevent rising damp. Condensation is also a must to keep on top of. Keep the house aired as the walls tend to be solid/cold surfaces as opposed to plasterboard, which can cause mould. Read our guide on condensation problems if you’re worried you may have issues.
If a previous owner of your Edwardian renovation project has replaced the original sash windows with uPVC windows, it’s worth inspecting whether they have been fit to withstand the load of the walls and roof above. The original wooden windows will have been fitted to take the weight, whereas uPVC windows aren’t designed to. Some Edwardian house renovators have had to budget for renovation work to windows.
If you’re lucky enough to have an original stained glass Edwardian front door, you might be less pleased when you discover just how much energy loss they bring. Tightening or replacing the hinges, installing weather strips and seals to fill any gaps will help to make your front door more secure as well as reduce heat loss. If your budget will allow it, removing and replacing any single glazed sash windows to wooden double glazed will improve energy efficiency.
How to renovate an Edwardian house – where to start?
The actual step-by-step process to renovating an Edwardian house won’t be any different to the process of renovating other British styles of houses, such as Victorian houses, 1930s houses, Georgian houses etc.
We spent 3 years renovating a 1930s house and have developed a tried and tested approach that has been applied to all different renovation projects. We’ve helped hundreds of UK renovators with all different era homes, styles and budgets do the same through our free guides and How to Renovate a House Online Course.
Here’s a very brief overview of the steps you’ll need to take. Please do take a look at our free and paid resources for far more in depth support.
Get estimates for your renovation work
The best place to start is with your finances. Once you’ve got the keys to your Edwardian renovation property (and even before then) research, call around for quotes, and itemise every single cost you know will be associated with updating the property. Unfortunately, the costs of renovating a house are much higher now than they were just a few years ago.
So two good rules of thumb are to
1) Budget (and commence) any work flagged in your survey first to ensure the property is structurally sound.
2) Set a comfortable contingency to allow for unforeseen issues which inevitably arise.
The free email series we created (A Survivor’s Guide to Renovating) has been very popular with first time renovators looking for cost saving tips, and where to start on mapping out their budgets – so head there for more guidance, and head to our online course for actionable exercises and a community to help you every step of the way.
Decide on the flow of the house and whether you’re extending or converting
Next, get clear on your overall layouts for the house, deciding on everything from lighting plans, electrical plans, heating plans, furniture layout and any structural changes you want to make such as converting your loft space into a dormer, or adding a kitchen extension to the side or rear return.
You can choose to work with an interior designer for smaller scale projects (£50,000–£100,000) or an architect for larger remodelling (£100,000+).
These are very helpful routes to explore, however many of the house renovators we work with in our online renovation course choose to plan layouts themselves, with our direction, in a large number of rooms. Our exercises help renovators prepare for handing over to an architect (if you require on) and think about what is required for a comfortable house that maximises space, light, warmth, so nothing is missed (even if you aren’t doing structural changes).
Explore and decide on the interior design, sympathetic to the Edwardian features in your house
Edwardian houses were known for their lighter colour palettes and emphasis on natural light however the modern day Edwardian home owner is opting for darker colour choices to accentuate original Gothic black Edwardian fireplaces. They’re repurposing redundant alcoves as storage spaces building alcove shelving in living and dining areas, and alcove wardrobes in bedrooms with a chimney breast.
If your property has been unfortunately stripped of original features over the years, you may wish to reinstate Edwardian design such as parquet flooring, a gothic, tiled fireplace, or carved Edwardian interior doors.
Our advice is to be as sympathetic to the Edwardian period as you can in all the ‘fitted’ additions you’re making but with other design decisions such as colour, furniture shapes, materials, you can afford to opt for more modern designs to keep the house current and ‘you’.
Appoint contractors and schedule a timeline for the renovation work to commence
You might be choosing to renovate all of the rooms in your Edwardian property at once, or, phasing the work due to financial or living constraints. Either way, appointing a contractor and getting a timeline in place will help you ensure everything gets complete in the correct order. The plasterer for example, shouldn’t be called in before the first fix of electrics is all complete.
We work with first time renovators to help them plan and manage timelines correctly which prevents having to undo and redo work costing time and money. See our Planning module in our How to Renovate a House Online Course for the ultimate support on how to hire the right tradesmen, how to plan your project meticulously to ensure costs don’t spiral and you get a stunning result.
Research suppliers and arrange delivery for the items you need
Any seasoned renovator will know just how underestimated this part of the project is. It takes a long time to research and source the right items for your Edwardian house renovation. From taps to door handles, getting the right look at the right price is hard. Again, it can sometimes pay to hire an interior designer who knows the industry and can access trade discounts. Alternatively, searching instagram accounts and blogs such as ours can help to give you supplier ideas. This is a big thing we work with our students on, and have exclusive discounts to top suppliers they can access, so if you’re interested in this, consider signing up to our program.
Finally, the actual build itself and watching your ideas come to life
There is nothing quite like renovating a house – no matter what the era. In one sense it is an amazing feat seeing your ideas come to life so quickly. In another sense it’s one of the hardest challenges for people to manage the dust, the decision making, the fear of things going wrong, the finances. 2 in 5 renovators go way over budget too and it’s normally due to lack of planning. So we encourage you, get the help you need to renovate your Edwardian house and there is no doubt it will save you time, money and give you an excellent overall finish.
3 quick tips to make the most of your Edwardian house renovation
Tip 1 - Retain original elements
Many Edwardian homes have fantastic character and interesting elements on the interior and the exterior. Be strategic about what you renovate in order to add value while retaining the best qualities of the building’s history.
Tip 2 - Consider an open plan rear kitchen diner
Opening non-load bearing walls to create light filled kitchen dining spaces makes for a fantastic renovation for most edwardian houses. This is due to the typical layout of these types of houses. Be sure to check load bearing vs. no load bearing walls and plan your new renovation layout accordingly.
Tip 3 - Consider a roof dormer or loft conversion
Edwardian homes often contain larger loft spaces. Some also have roof dormers formed already and only require windows for light. Each roof shape is different, be sure to check the head room in your loft before committing to this as part of your renovation.
Get access to our free email series today – it’s for first-time renovators who want to give their Edwardian renovation the best head start 👇👇
Avoid pitfalls and compromises
Reduce renovation stress
We’d like to support you!
We’re passionate about helping first time renovators tackle their projects in the correct order and in an organised way so that ultimately you make the most of your home, your budget and enhance your life when your renovation is finished.
How we can help you:
Get access to our free email series A Survivor’s Guide to Renovating
Enrol on our How to Renovate a House Online Course
Or if you’d like more 1-on-1 interior design support get in touch
Fi & Neil
House Renovation Guides
We also have a range of guides to help you get to grips with your renovation: