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Period Home Materials and Finishes

August 31, 2017
Period Home Materials and Finishes

There’s no denying it, Heritage Homes are exquisitely beautiful. They radiate a richness of character and soul that transport you back in time to an elegant bygone era.

Australia is fortunate to have a variety of beautiful period style homes throughout the country. The most common ranging from Victorian, Boom Town Era, Federation style, Californian Bungalow and Art Deco.

Today, these period style homes are highly sought after for renovation projects. This is hardly surprising given that all of these eras reflect architecture and design that is simply charming and truly timeless.

Benefits of a Heritage Home

What’s most fantastic about a heritage house is that although it must retain its original traditional period features, it can be adapted into a contemporary looking home that is eclectic and beautiful.

Period homes present many renovating and decorating opportunities. For example; extensions can be made, open living spaces can be created, sky lights can be incorporated and modern furniture pieces can be teamed with classic and ornate interior detailing.

This guide takes a look at the exterior and interior features of a period home and includes suggestions for heritage colour palettes, materials and finishes that while respectful of the original era, offer a more modern feel.


Tips for Restoring a Period Home

When undertaking a period home renovation, it essential to understand the importance of retaining the original period home features such as ornate plasterwork, mouldings, cornices, skirtings, architraves, windows, fireplaces and hardwood flooring and the like.

It’s equally important to pay close attention to all of the little details such as;

It’s all of these unique details that reflect the original character and charm of a period home and make it so special. While it is absolutely possible to blend old with new and unite period home features with modern day pieces, it’s necessary to be able to create the right balance.

To assist you with how to achieve the right balance, we have put together two mood boards that respectfully unite period home features with contemporary materials and finishes to bring you a modern day take on period home design.

We chose to focus on a palette of heritage blues and greens as they are easier to live with and although they are heritage colours, they can also take on a contemporary feel.

Scheme 1: Heritage Greens



Scheme 2: Heritage Blues



If you would like to find out where these beautiful materials and finishes are available from scroll down to view our table of finishes below.

Period Home Colours

Colour plays a vital role in period home design. One of the best things about selecting colours for a period home is that both light and dark hues work well. Thanks to their high ceilings, a period home can look dramatic and striking with darker colours and offer an opportunity to create contrast and enhance decorative period features. For example; a painted navy wall looks stunning against an ornate brass mirror or white marble fireplace and an all-white ceiling.

The most popular colours for period homes include; Grey’s, [Greens], Blues, Burgundy’s and Creams, and can be applied to both exteriors and interiors.


Period Home Exterior Features

What period home would be complete without Lace Fretwork & Frieze Panels or Corner Brackets and Balustrade Panels? They can be made from wrought iron or timber and are used today in the restoration of Heritage homes Australia wide.


Period Home Interior Features


Ornate Detailing – Trims & Mouldings

Decorative trims and mouldings not only protect and conceal joints between surfaces, they exemplify the character of a period home. Made from plaster or timber they are an essential feature within a heritage home interior. These details should always be retained and restored or reintroduced if previously removed.


Skirting Boards & Door Architraves

There are skirting boards and architraves available in a whole range of profiles and sizes relevant to all the different period home eras. Be sure to select a profile that is correct for your home’s era not just one you like.

Dado Rails

A Dado Rail is a decorative moulding strip that can be found at the top or lower part of a wall. It has two functions. Aside from being decorative, a dado rail protects walls from furniture when placed at a lower level. Alternatively when placed up high its can serve as a picture rail and also helps to create the effect of the high ceilings being at a lower level.

Interior Panelling (Wainscoting)

Interior Panelling (also known as Wainscoting) is another decorative way to protect walls from damage. These panels and can be placed at the lower part of the wall and usually run from floor level to waist height. Wainscoting can be painted to match the walls or painted white for a fresh, classic look. It is also available in varnished or oiled timber for a more masculine, traditional look.


Wall Paper – Anaglypta

Anaglypta is a 130 year old brand of wall paper that uses an embossing technique to create a pattern in a wide range of designs that can be painted over to match your wall colour. Styles range from vintage to contemporary making them a perfect wall treatment for heritage homes.


Heritage Flooring

The most popular style of flooring for a period home is to have hardwood timber flooring but laid in a Parquetry or Herringbone block style. The most popular colours period style homes are French Grey, Mink Grey, Smoked Oak varieties.



Ornate Cornices

A cornice is found where the top of a wall meets the underside of the ceiling. It's purpose is to hide joins and create a beautiful detail. Just as there are many profiles for skirting boards, the same applies for cornices. Be sure to look for the style that is suitable for the era of your home. Most cornices suppliers list their cornice styles in order of category from Victorian to Federation, Edwardian, Italianate etc. so finding the correct one should be easy.

Decorative Ceiling Roses

When one walks into a period home, it’s impossible not fall completely madly in love a decorative ceiling rose. Made from plaster and used since Georgian times, a ceiling rose is generally found on the ceiling of a living room, dining room, or bedroom. There’s nothing more elegant or impressive, especially when a beautiful chandelier or pendant light is suspended from one.

Pressed Metal Panels

Pressed metal panels were hugely popular in homes from around 1880 all the way through to the mid 1930’s and are still being included as a feature in today’s period home upgrades, especially in Victorian and Federation style homes. These panels can be left as a metal finish, powdercoated or painted and can be used to highlight a ceiling or even applied to walls, or used as splashbacks in kitchens.


Period Lighting

A period home will lend itself to all styles of lighting whether they be traditional, classic or contemporary. We are seeing more and more contemporary light fittings being fitted into heritage homes with the result looking nothing short of spectacular. See a few of our favourites below.


Period Door & Cabinetry Hardware

Sometimes it’s the little things that make the most impact and this certainly rings true when it comes to door hardware. Considered jewellery for the home, the right door handle can transform a door. There is a fantastic range of period home profiles available. Below are a few of our favourites.

Heritage Bathrooms & Kitchens

The great thing about a period home is that they provide the opportunity to create a beautiful kitchen and bathroom that doesn’t have to have a traditional. Contemporary versions of traditional features can incorporated to create a modern day vibe.

Period Bathrooms

For the bathroom, a modern frameless glass walk in shower looks stunning teamed with black or brass tapware and with materials and finishes such as marble and timber. Subway tiles or herringbone tiles are perfect for the wall, with encaustic or tessellated tiles for the floor. While these are traditional tiles they can be applied to look quite modern and there are modern variations of these styles of tiles. For an authentic period style bathroom look at fixtures that reflect the period such as a claw foot bath and pedestal vanity.


Period Kitchens

A kitchen can be modern but incorporate heritage colours and finishes to help create a link to the era of the home. For a fresh looking kitchen, consider two tone cabinetry. For example; painting the lower cabinets in a darker colour such as navy, dusty blue, sage or a federation green looks stunning when teamed with brass, bronze or leather cabinetry handles or knobs. Painting the overhead cupboards in an off white such as parchment will create a contrast that will make the kitchen feel light, open and airy while still providing the opportunity to include colour.


For a real authentic period style kitchen consider opting for a butler sink and AGA oven. If you want to make a statement, a butler sink will bring a touch of class to the kitchen. They have been around for hundreds of years and today continue to be a popular choice for period homes or farmhouse kitchens.

An AGA oven is a truly iconic brand which has been around for 300 years and is used today by many celebrity chefs and serious home cooks.


Heritage Green Schedule of Finishes

Product Type Manufacturer & Supplier Product Name & Colour
1 Exterior Fretwork Chatertons Lacework Cantebury Fern Corner - Sandcast
2 Curtain and Blind Colour 1 Cultiver Linen – Natural
3 Curtain and Blind Colour 2 Cultiver Linen – Charcoal Grey
4 Curtain and Blind Colour 3 Cultiver Linen – Sage
5 Exterior General Paint Paint Finish Dulux Western Myall UD, GR23
6 Exterior Trim Paint Finish Dulux Vivid White W, 1W
7 Ceiling Rose Hopkins Plaster Plaster Ceiling Rose – White, HP0028, 458 mm
8 Pressed Tin Pressed Tin Panels Large Maple , Dulux Duralloy – Shoji White
9 Pressed Tin Pressed Tin Panels Lachlan Hearts, Dulux Duralloy – Shoji White
10 Interior Paint Colour Swatch 1 Porter’s Original Paints Piraeus, Irish Linen, Cashmere, Meringue
11 Interior Paint Colour Swatch 2 Porter’s Original Paints White Pepper, Volcanic Ash, Ghost Gum, River Birch
12 Interior Paint Feature Colour 1 Haymes 008 Bay Berry DKT
13 Interior Paint Feature Colour 2 Haymes 010 Water Grey MTT
14 Interior Paint Colour – Ceiling Haymes W05 Off White
15 Kitchen Laminate - Under bench cabinetry colour – Option 1 Laminex Bayleaf Natural Finish
16 Kitchen Laminate - Under bench cabinetry colour - Option 2 Laminex Peat Natural Finish
17 Leather Handle Hepburn Hardware Tan Leather Handle with Antique Bass Rivets
18 Kitchen Laminate – overhead cupboard colour Laminex Ash White Natural Finish
19 General Flooring Royal Oak Floors American Oak – French Grey Timber Plank
20 Wall Hook Hepburn Hardware Antique Brass Hook with Tan Leather Rose
21 Marble Caesarstone 5111 - Statuario Nuvo
22 Laminate – Kitchen Cabinetry Kick Board Laminex Charcoal Natural Finish
23 Laminate – Bench Top Laminex Antarctic Stone Natural Finish
24 Furniture Finish Christian Cole American Walnut
25 Kitchen Cabinetry Knob Hepburn Hardware Antique Brass Knob with Tan leather
26 Door Handle - Option 1 Sneddons Victorian Leaver Latch Antique Brass
27 Door Handle - Option 2 Sneddons Monaco Leaver Latch Porc/Antique Brass
28 Bathroom Feature Tile (option 1) Tiento Tiles Herringbone large Cararra marble mosaic
29 Bathroom Wall Tile Tiento Tiles Fleur ceramic wall tile 150x150mm
30 Bathroom Feature Tile (option 1) Tiento Tiles Herringbone black marble mosaic
31 Marble Bench Top (option 1) Caesarstone 5131 - Calacatta Nuvo
32 Laminate Bench Top (option 2) Laminex Vulcan Stone Natural Finish
33 Bathroom Wall Tile Tiento Tiles Perla Spanish handmade ceramic glazed tile 150x150mm
34 Entry Floor Tile Tiento Tiles Kalim mix pattern ceramic 100x100mm tile. Colours shown grey, green & beige.
35 Exterior Fretwork Chatertons Lacework Clover Lace - Charcoal

Heritage Blue Schedule of Finishes

Product Type Supplier & Manufacturer Product Name & Colour
1 Exterior Fretwork Chatertons Lacework Cantebury Fern Corner – White
2 Curtain and Blind Colour 1 Cultiver Navy
3 Curtain and Blind Colour 2 Cultiver Smoke Grey
4 Interior Paint Colour Swatch 1 Porter’s Original Paints Grey Fox, Drizzle, French Slate, Leaden
5 Interior Paint Colour Swatch 2 Porter’s Original Paints Mountain Ash, Mist, Explorer Blue, Mariner
6 Decorative Ceiling Rose Hopkins Plaster Plaster Ceiling Rose – White, HP0003, 324 mm
7 Interior Paint Feature Colour 1 Haymes NG05 Element
8 Interior Paint Feature Colour 2 Haymes NG32 Memory
9 Interior Paint – Ceiling Haymes W01 Nearly White
10 Pressed Tin Pressed Tin Panels Clover, Dulux Duralloy – Classic White
11 Wall Tiles Tiento Tiles Azul Spanish handmade ceramic glazed tile 150x150mm
12 Interior Bathroom Cabinetry Paint (option 1) Dulux Exterior Paint Colour
13 Interior Bathroom Cabinetry Paint (option 2) Dulux Exterior Trim Colour
14 Bathroom Laminate –Benchtop Laminex Vulcan Stone Natural Finish
15 Bathroom Feature Tiles Tiento Tiles Herringbone small carrara marble mosaic
16 Drop Handle Sneddons Drop Handle - White Matte Black
17-19 Kitchen Splashback Tile Tiento Tiles Kalim Grey mix pattern ceramic 100x100mm tile
20 Kitchen Laminate – Overhead Cabinetry (option 1) Laminex 202 Parchment Riven Finish
21 Kitchen Laminate – Overhead Cabinetry (option 2) Laminex Pearl Grey Natural Finish 336
22 Hooded Cup Pull Hepburn Hardware Hooded Cup Pull – Satin Nickle
23 Hooded Cup Pull Hepburn Hardware Hooded Cup Pull – Oil Rubbed Bronze
24 Kitchen Laminate – Island Bench Cabinetry Laminex Blue Grass Natural Finish
25 General Flooring Royal Oak Floors French oak, driftwood timber plank
26 Bench Top (option 1) Caesarstone 6250 - Wild Rocks
27 Laminate - Kitchen Cabinetry Kick Board Laminex Charcoal Natural Finish
28 Timber Furniture Finish Christian Cole Furniture Victorian Ash – Stained Black
29 Bench Top (option 2) Caesarstone 5143 - White Attica
30 Kitchen Laminate – Under Bench Cabinetry Laminex Gun Metal Natural Finish
31 Floor Entry Tile Tiento Tiles Clementine Italian porcelain tile 200x200mm
32 Door Handle Sneddons Cannes Lever Match - White Porcelain Metallic Black
33 Exterior Fretwork Chatertons Lacework Clover Lace - White

We hope you found this article helpful. If you are ready to start building your wish list of products, then be sure to check out our website to find many period home product ranges.

If you would like to find out more about the different types of heritage home styles, visit our article Australian Home Periods.

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Image Credits:
Header Image & Benefits of a Heritage Home:
Heritage Green Inspo. Board: | | | | |
Heritage Blue Inspo. Board: | | | | |
Period Home Colours:
Period Home Exterior Features:
Ornate Detailing – Trims & Mouldings: pinterest |
Interior Panelling (Wainscoting):
Wall Paper – Anaglypta:
Heritage Flooring: | |
Ceiling: |
Period Lighting:
Period Bathrooms: | |
Period Kitchens: | | |