My current WIP needs a house. A very particular kind of house. Something less than a Pemberly and more than a Longbourn if you know what I mean. I need a Nertherfield. Planning great estates for my characters’ families is easy. There are numerous books on the great estates of England and almost every great house has a website of its own. Floor plans are fairly easy to come by, and so many BBC productions pay loving attention to them. Planning something on a lesser scale for my younger sons however can be something of a challenge.
I poured over a bunch of books this weekend looking for inspiration, since this is going to be a house book. It has to be right. It’s going to be character in and of itself. And the heroine has to love it. Most of my books were not at all useful. To focused on the grand houses of the era. But The Georgian Villa showed promise. It has floor plans for more modest houses. I settled on two that looked promising and had floor plans in the book, Shawfield Park (1711) and Hawkhill (1757).
|Hawkhill interior |
Shawfield is a Palladian house which is described as “a modest seven-bay house with a pedimented and slightly projecting centre-piece, hipped roof.” It has a belvedere on top for added interest and a nice long, open terrace running along the entire front. It is two stories over a basement with small garret rooms for the servants (so four stories effectively) There is a full article with minute descriptions of the layout and rooms on JSTOR for $14, which I held off buying.
I also looked at Hawkhill, which was built designed by Adams. I’ve been in several of his houses, so I know what to expect of the interiors. Hawkhill was torn down in 1971, but I still managed to find pictures of it which confirm that though a far more modest house than Osterly Park, Hawkhill shared the same design flair.
In the end I think I will go with a combination of the two. Hawkhill for the principal floor and Shawfield for the others (Hawkhill has a horrible layout on the first floor where the bedrooms are, no windows on the entire back side in what must be the servants’ quarters).