The majority of dwellings featured a wooden frame, a towering chimney, a steep roof, and an enclosed fireplace within. Wattle and daub—wood strips or sticks coated with clay—was used to make the walls between the timber frame, and the exterior walls were usually whitewashed. Thatched roofs were common on Tudor dwellings. The thatch was made from the feathers of birds such as geese and ducks, which were gathered in large quantities by workers called "thatchies".
Tudor houses were very simple and functional, designed for warmth and comfort rather than luxury and style. They included a living room, dining room, and sometimes a kitchen too. There might also be one or more bedrooms upstairs. In larger homes, there could be separate rooms for other family members too: a home for the parents, another for the children, and even a place where guests could stay.
People lived at least part of their lives outside the house too. Gardens filled with vegetables, fruits, and flowers provided most families with all they needed for food. Fields produced wheat, barley, oats, rye, beans, and peas; farms also had livestock such as cows, pigs, and chickens. Many towns grew large trees for use in wood products such as furniture and building materials. London alone required over 100,000 tons of wood a year!
Outside your home you'd also find public spaces such as streets and parks.
Tudor furniture was built of locally sourced timber, most typically wood. The impoverished Tudors slept on straw pallets or rough mats covered by a sheet. There were undercovers, and instead of a bolster or cushion, a log was utilized. The affluent Tudors invested on four-poster beds. These large beds were often made from massive trees that had fallen within their natural habitat.
The typical Tudor house was built with wood obtained from local sources. Therefore, it follows that its furniture was also made of wood. However, because money was very short in those days, oak from England or France was usually used instead. In fact, English oak was especially popular among the Tudor settlers in North America.
English oak was generally more durable than its French counterpart. It was also less likely to cause sicknesses such as rheumatism or asthma. French oak was sometimes used instead but it tended to be more delicate and susceptible to pests and decay. Women probably didn't work with wood so they weren't involved in the selection of its quality or quantity. Men might have some role in choosing good timber but not necessarily. They mostly focused on the construction process and assembling the pieces once it was done.
They used nails rather than screws because they were cheaper and easier to get. Nails were made of iron or steel and they fit perfectly into the holes of the wood frame. Of course, with modern tools this isn't a problem anymore!
Tudor dwellings were built in a half-timbered style. Stone foundations were first poured, then surrounded by a raised, hole-filled step into which timber frames were inserted. The first floor was boarded and stairs were erected at this stage; both were made of wood, and the jetty support beams were prepared. The second floor was also boarded, and more stairs were added.
The upper floors were reached by additional stairs. These were usually made from oak handrails set on stone posts with turned ends. Sometimes plain wooden steps were used instead. The stairways were wide enough for a person to walk up them, but only just: one footway was as much as could be managed by a narrow lane or path. There were no landings, so anyone going upstairs had to pause at each level to let passengers pass.
In larger towns there may have been separate entrances for different floors, but otherwise people entered by way of the ground floor. Windows were rare: even in cities they were allowed only in specified places like shops, and even then only one could be placed on either side of the door. Open windows were dangerous because they gave access to burglars and other thieves.
People rarely walked up stairs anymore than necessary. Instead, they used ladders, lifts, and ramps. Ladders were simply long boards leaning against two adjacent walls with their ends meeting at a height convenient for walking on.
Although wealthy individuals could buy tiles, most Tudor dwellings had thatched roofs. In Tudor times, the very wealthy enjoyed having a big garden, sometimes with a maze, fountains, or hedges designed like animals. Poor folks planted their own herbs and vegetables in considerably smaller plots. In wealthier homes, rooms were decorated in a mixture of French and English styles called "country life" or "courtly life." These terms don't mean what you might think today—aspect windows, plaster walls, and so on. They just mean that the owners wanted to live in a place that was comfortable and relaxing even when not hosting guests.
Tudor houses had three common types of roof: flat, gabled, and hipped.
Flat roofs were the simplest to build but also the least stable. The weight of a flat-roofed house is entirely supported by the ceiling beams. If any part of the roof is missing or damaged, so is part of the foundation. Gabled roofs get their name from the fact that they have two slopes: one for snow and ice, the other for rain runoff. Although more complicated to build, gable-roof houses are much more stable than flat ones. Hipped roofs are exactly what they sound like: A triangular peak projects out from under the eaves of the roof, providing a platform for more rooms or attic space.
Tudor homes are expensive to build because they employ so many various types of construction materials and pricey, intricate embellishments. As a result, they are most commonly seen in wealthier suburbs. Innovations in masonry methods made brick and stone homes more economical to build in the early 1900s. But the introduction of the engineered timber frame in 1945 brought cheaper housing within reach of middle-class buyers for the first time.
Tudor homes have larger windows and doors than other styles of house due to the use of thick walls and beams inside the building. This allows light into the home and gives the appearance of bigger rooms. Smaller windows and slit doors were used instead.
Tudor homes tend to be taller and narrower than other styles of house. This is because higher ceilings are needed in large rooms to allow for air circulation. Sloping gable roofs are also associated with the style because they are easy to construct and provide much-needed extra space above the entrance door and window. A tiled or shingle roof is usually found on a Tudor home as well.
Tudor homes were built by architects across England who were able to charge extravagant prices due to their unique styling. The best-known architect of Tudor homes is Henry VIII's chief builder Thomas Henry Doulton.