What is a Tudor Style House?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A Tudor style house is a home built with architectural features which reference Tudor and Medieval architecture. While one might assume that Tudor style homes were built during the 1500s, in fact this term in architecture refers to a specific style which grew popular in the 1800s and persisted through the mid 20th century. During the Tudor era, a wide variety of architectural styles were seen, making it impossible to use a single term to describe the architecture of this period.

High chimneys are common on a Tudor style house.
High chimneys are common on a Tudor style house.

The Tudor style trend developed in response to the ornate styles of Gothic and Victorian architecture. It focused on simplicity and clean lines, referencing trends which were common during the medieval period and the Tudor era in England. Eventually, it metamorphosed into Craftsman style architecture, and in fact many Tudor style homes display a blend of both styles.

Tudor style homes often have plaster walls.
Tudor style homes often have plaster walls.

The key distinguishing characteristic of a Tudor style house is the use of decorative half timbering, which means that building timbers are partially exposed, surrounded with stucco, plaster, or brick. In the medieval era, these exposed timbers were actually a critical part of the structure, but the modern Tudor style house has other structural supports, making the timbers purely decorative.

Another distinguishing feature is the lack of symmetry. Tudor style houses tend to be rambling, with lots of shapes and angles, and side gables, along with a major cross gable roughly around the middle of the home. The homes are also usually two stories high, and they can be quite large, despite the fact that they are supposed to evoke medieval cottages.

Another common feature is an overhanging second floor. Tudor style homes also usually have mullioned windows, and they tend to feature narrow windows rather than broad ones. High chimneys are also common, as are solid wood doors and heavy structural elements. Some even feature thatched roofs for an additional note of “authenticity.”

The interior of a Tudor style house can be quite varied. Dark woodwork, exposed beams, and plaster can all be seen. Rough edges which are supposed to look hand-finished are not uncommon, and the floors may be wood plank, slate, tile, or other materials.

This style is sometimes referred to as Mock Tudor, Tudor Revival, or Tudorbethan. Although the Tudor style house craze peaked around the middle of the 20th century, architects continue to design and build new homes in this style. Homes designed in the Tudor style can be found all over the world, including in communities which were most certainly not settled during the Tudor era. When well built, these homes can command a premium on the housing market, as they are distinctive and one of a kind, especially when surrounded with thoughtfully landscaped grounds.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments



Although Henry VIII abused his authority and was staunchly independent, I think that this behavior had many positive effects in addition to the negative effects. He set the legacy for a truly independent British, and eventually, American spirit. The extreme of Western individuality was born and bred in the British Isles.


The Tudors lived in a manner that disdained the direction and leadership of the rest of Europe and developed a distinctly British way of doing everything, including Christianity, architecture, and marriage.


Tudor takes the simplicity of a Puritan house and blows it up to a superfluous size. The effect is much like a simple magnanimity, with no overly lush artwork, but extensive strength of structure and form.

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