Part 1: Window Repairs, Renovation or Replacement

Historic England are the first, go-to experts in helping homeowners of the National Heritage List for England’s Grade I, II* and II listed buildings to avoid any unfortunate repercussions when replacing any structural parts of the home.

English Heritage offer a great deal of guidance with up-to-date, published legislation on listed buildings throughout the country. Historic England say the exact number of listed buildings in the UK are not known – “as one single entry on the National Heritage List for England can sometimes cover a number of individual units, such as a row of terraced houses.”  As a result, there are an estimated 500,000 listed buildings on the NHLE.

While laws are more relaxed in regards to the interiors of these homes, they often have a number of specific stipulations upon purchase, such as maintenance of original finials, fireplaces, floors and windows. Consent for any alterations, removals and renovations of original period features such as windows, fireplaces, hearths and floors must be obtained before work can commence, with applications to the local authority taking anything up to eight weeks. It is a criminal offence to make changes to listed buildings without prior consent. With beauty and design, comes responsibility, and it is tasteful to go about addressing the interior decor of your home to enhance the historical preservation. That said, the living standards in 2017 mean that energy efficiency, gas/electric and plumbing should be and comfortable and in keeping with up-to-date laws. There are a number of websites that can help guide owners of properties listed as of ‘historical interest’, in terms of what can and can’t be done structurally and interior wise, importantly guiding readers what is tastefully regard as appropriate to champion the rare qualities of a listed home.

Grants

The great news is, getting in touch with your local authority is not only following the law to protect your assets, but in doing so, grants are often available to help you to maintain the exterior and interior of your historic home. For permissions to replace or alter your listed building, the Home Building and Renovating website advise that “Application forms can be submitted online or in hard copy, and can be obtained from your local planning authority’s website or at planningportal.gov.uk.”

According to Historic England, “Repair is Preferable to Replacement”, however, the older a building is, the less energy efficient, unsafe and less safe the glass and frames may become. Unfortunately windows and doors will inevitably need replacing. Utmost care, knowledge to as carefully replicate the techniques used in window replacement will ensure the authenticity of your renovation. Specialists in Edwardian, Victorian and Georgian sash windows are key in providing a great restoration or replacement fascia. When this is complete, it is then possible to enrich the exterior window structure with appropriate styling to the era of the build. They provide the updated and rebranded document that cite the principles on potential renovation projects of Listed Buildings – these span the British architectural ages from before 1700 to 1950. The vast majority of Grade II listed buildings make up 94% of all listed properties, and in terms of timber window replacement, Landmark Trust recommend that consent is given by your local authority Conservation Officer.

Exterior Window Replacement

With many grade II listed buildings of the Victorian, Edwardian and Georgian age all fitted with various types of sash windows, the replacement or repair of these is often a niche service – and a necessary investment when maintaining the features of the listed building. The sash window is a uniquely British visual element in housing architecture in the 18th and 19th centuries during the rise of the industrial revolution.

The word sash was derived from the French word ‘chassis’ which means ‘frame’. When restoring or replacing these period properties, great care is taken by specialist sash window experts, using putty to replicate the traditional techniques, which can then be painted to the correct style or match the colour of the window frame. Single glazing and more modern slim fit double glazing can also be installed in replacement, mimicking the optical effect of older sash window styles.

The earliest style featuring the sash was first seen in the Georgian era, before the industrial revolution that saw Victorian architecture become more grand, elaborate and decorative. The production of larger sheets of glass made the Victorian windows larger, and hooks or lifts were often seen on the lower windows which made them easier to lift.

The Edwardian and post-war windows became more practical in style – mainly due to cost and mass production when huge numbers of new houses were being built. In the war, many of the UK’s city buildings were destroyed, making the original features of existing period properties now even more sought after.

Next Steps

After you have obtained the planning and consent on your interior and exterior renovations, the decision to adorn your windows with blinds, curtains or shutters can make the listed property really come to life. Larger Victorian windows may be of untypical shapes and sizes to modern home builds, meaning specialist curtains and blinds can be made to fit your window and home with unique and bespoke style. Shutters are quite simply one of the most stunning ways to dress your window, working particularly well in listed terraced buildings. Homestyle are the leaders of window finishers in the UK. Offering a versatile selection of stained finishes, durability and security, shutters can work well to keep the heat in thinner sheets of glass where double glazing and UPVC isn’t an option – often the case in a listed property. Homestyle offer a wealth of bespoke and boutique fabrics to make your home a stunning place to feel comfortable, cosy, stylish and secure, and while many Georgian and Victorian properties may look wonderful with pelmets of longline, heavily draped curtains, the addition of handmade, wooden shutters can also work with a number of Edwardian sash windows.

Homestyle are one of the UK’s very best interior window designers, fitters and finishers in the UK. Offering the biggest range of bespoke shutters, awnings, curtains and blinds, they can help create the perfect window for your home. Laden with an extensive range of sumptuous materials, fabrics, woods and high quality resins. Homestyle can ‘visit your home or place of work with an extensive collection of samples’.

Whether working with older fixtures, or helping you discover how to enhance your window space into a feature of its own, their experts know how important the window area can be, and the entire process – from design, measurement, fixing and materials used – offers the best all-round service in window decoration that will be authentic and sympathetic and familiar to any listed building requirements.

 Interior Décor Schemes

Modern interior décor can entail a beautiful melting pot of furniture, upholstery and room framing – with wall paneling, partitioning without structural invasiveness, wooden floors and artwork adorning plain painted walls.The versatility of listed buildings can accommodate for many personal style preferences, while remaining authentic and in keeping with the listed building’s era. With so many inspirational styles, with items sourced from specialist antique shops, boutique furnishing shops and budget friendly Ikea, online interactive mood boards such as Pinterest and Houzz can give you a million ideas and tips to get creative and mix traditional with new. Fusing authentic antiques and plush drapes, fabrics and soft furnishings with industrial repurposing of retro items, cabinets, lockers and tables, form and with function can work within the confines of your home. Georgian, Victorian, post war and even 60’s buildings can offer a fantastic array of structural templates that nod to vintage, antique and retro styling, without the need for structural alteration. The fashionable mixture of industrial chic can help blend contemporary styles with traditional. This can be achieved with statement leathers, wooden furnitures, metal suitcases and art deco flourishes.

Empirical Style

The addition of jewel colours and intricate statement furniture can work incredibly well in a listed building, with drapes, shutters and swags framing a room to give a colonial Indian theme reminiscent of the Victorian British Empire. We find much inspiration from these stunning, Indian-made and Indian-inspired furniture pieces, who import ‘hand crafted wooden furniture finished to a sublime standard’ – carved, embossed and painted chests, almirah cupboards and tables finished in decadent materials to give an opulent feel in a turn of the century listed home. Textured, iridescent tones made from mother of pearl, camel bone and polished nickel pieces from Iris Furnishings. Sat pride of place upon sanded, polished floorboards, stained to perfection with oils and varnishes to withstand everyday use, a stunning rug coupled with ambient lighting can transform your house into a home, harnessing the period features in your listed building to look their very best.