23rd June 2022 Ptarmigan Homes

How house builds and home design have evolved over the years

Picture a typical British house and you’ll probably envision bay windows, stone bricks and wood paneling. In this day and age, many people choose to add a personal touch to the design and build of their home. After all, it’s the place we spend most of our time – where many of life’s little moments and rites of passage take place. The turnkey home service allows buyers the opportunity to make their dream home a reality and has become popular in recent years. But have you ever wondered how homes in the UK came to look the way they do today?

What’s That About A Window Tax?

Imagine having to pay extra money monthly for a bit of natural light! Well, that’s exactly what the Georgians had to do. Unlike today, where large windows play a key role in the design of many homes, natural light was not found in every room of the standard Georgian house. This is because a tax on the number of windows within homes was prominent throughout the period (1714-1837) so people sought to save a few pennies by sealing windows with bricks.  Luckily, we have a lot more flexibility today when it comes to windows, however, much of the stone facades of the Georgian period are echoed within contemporary house builds, which often feature beige or classic red brickwork.

Fortunately for us, the window tax was scrapped and as time progressed, the Victorian period kick-started a change in the way houses were being built. Like today, bay windows were popular to let in the natural light, while red-coloured brickwork played a part in the design of many homes during this period. One trend that many of us will be glad to know did not progress was that of the outhouse, where working-class families would find their toilet outside.

Not-So-Temporary ‘Temporary Housing’

Did you know that a lot of the houses built after World War II were only meant to stand for around 10 years? ‘Prefab’ houses were built as an answer to the housing shortage caused by the devastation of the war. Winston Churchill rolled this initiative out in 1944 as a quick fix solution. The aim of the Ministry of Works (MoW) emergency project was to build 500,000 ‘new-technology’ prefabricated houses but in the end, just over 150,000 of these ‘temporary’ houses were built. Many are still occupied today despite the short intended lifetime of a prefab – those must be some strong foundations!

While Beatlemania made a mark on the music industry in the 60s, the terraced house made a mark on Britain’s streets. This housing trend highlighted the lasting impact of the housing crisis caused by the war, packing in more people to live within one street. This was celebrated as a modern and ‘radical’ approach, reaching its peak in the 1970s. Despite this, high-rise buildings started to replace some of these terraced homes as they were able to house multiple people within flats.

I’ll take a one-way ticket back to the 90s please…

Remember the 90s? When Spice Girls, tamagotchis, Friends and Harry Potter were all the rage? Alongside the evolution of pop culture, the UK was also experiencing a ‘glow up’ of traditional Victorian housing developments. Thanks to progressing trends, new builds could be characterised by their neat brickwork, mock timber framing and cottage features. The desire for outdoor space meant front gardens and driveways became more common while double glazed windows were installed (without the worry of a window tax!) to maintain heat and assist with keeping energy bills low.

“Alexa, turn up the volume.” …the construction of modern homes today

These days, sustainability is a key feature of modern life and the construction of homes. As energy prices soar and efficiency standards become stricter, low-carbon technology is a must with new-builds. Our homes often include electric vehicle installation points or alternative energy solutions such as UV panels.

If you heard someone ask Alexa to turn the music up a few years ago, you’d assume they were just speaking to their friend at a party. Now, they are asking a smart device in their home to do that for them. Technology has become a driving force behind modern housing with an increasing range of smart-home devices allowing homeowners to control the likes of audiovisual technology, lighting, and heating with just a few spoken words. Another trend which has become more popular in recent years is the self-build and turnkey house service.

Turnkey homes on the rise

A turnkey house is exactly what it says on the tin: a signed, sealed and delivered home in which you can unlock the door by turning the key and moving in immediately. Turnkey house suppliers typically offer a service in which the homeowner has a hands-off approach during the self-build process. A turnkey supplier will design the home, source the necessary materials, and build the house to completion.

What makes a turnkey house so attractive? Perhaps the most lucrative benefit is the ability to choose the design of your own home without having to put the time and effort in to organise and construct it. Maybe you are inspired by the symmetrical designs associated with the Georgian era, or you might prefer the modern spin on a Victorian bay window. Whatever your design preference is, the hands-off approach to the ‘self-build’ also means you don’t have to worry about a lot of the boring legal stuff.

At Ptarmigan Homes, we offer high-quality turnkey package solutions, through to timber kit supply, across the Highlands & Islands, Moray, Aberdeenshire and Argyll. A family-run business, we take care of every hassle and provide a personal touch to your home build experience. Find out more about what we offer and get in touch to see how we can make your dream home a reality today.