Originally this style arose during the reign of the four King Georges, and was filtered through three American regions: the New England, Mid-Atlantic and Southern areas. The New England version with wood siding, had no front porch, but rather a shallow entablature with pilasters a few inches deep. The Mid-Atlantic variation was usually of stone with heavier molding and trim details. The Southern version was made of brick. Georgian as a term, became synonymous with “symmetrical” in Vancouver and has been applied to houses derived from an English, American or French antecedent.
Marked by rigid symmetry, hipped roofs (sometimes side-gabled), and axial entries, the designs are subject to well-defined geometric proportions. The front façade is in a 3, 5, or 7 bay format with a central entry and often accompanied with matched wings. If a five bay house, the third floor has three dormers in its roof, centred on the space between the five bays below. Ideal dimensions ascribe to the “Golden Mean” of 1–1.62.
Classical details abound with pedimented porches, columns, pilasters, dentil courses on the cornice, sidelights, and fanlights. (If the front classical porch element has two storey high columns, the house is Neo-Classical style and seemly more heroic in character). Vancouver Georgians have deeper overhangs than their American counterparts – a regional response to our rainforest climate. Windows are multi-paned vertical rectangles and sometimes flanked by shutters. If the roof is flared at the bottom with “bell-cast” eaves on a hipped roof, the house is often referred to as French Eclectic.
Brick only appears in one Shaughnessy Georgian; wood lap siding or stucco prevails. If stucco, belt courses, cornices, and corner quoins can be found as embellishments. Doors are six-panelled in a deep high-gloss colour. Chimneys are exposed brick or stucco.