Thursday, January 25, 2018


Georgian, Greek Revival and Gothic Revival

Guest post by Ola Mochol, Founder and Creative Director of PGF Staging Studio

Photo by Raquel Fassler

Hamilton. This was not love at first sight. Actually many say first sight is not its strongest face. At least that's what I thought until last year. Why did it change? And is it possible to, if not fall in love, maybe start to warm up to a place that fails on presentation, like on a bad first date? What has to happen?

My fist encounter with Hamilton (well, Stoney Creek to be exact), was in 2003. Like many summer visitors, I don't recall too many views of the place. I only remember looking at Hamilton from the top of the mountain. My husband shared similar perceptions of the city. He didn't have much time to explore in 90s (granted there was a lot less to explore back then), he just "lived" there.

Photo by Raquel Fassler

Destiny soon brought me and 'ho-hum' Hamilton together. Travelling westbound from Toronto to Mississauga to Burlington and Niagara, meant I couldn't avoid visiting Hammertown. Well,  technically it boiled down to paying a speeding ticket (lol). I didn't like visiting largely thanks to my prejudice. But I was surprised one day to discover how nice the downtown looked (stigma shattered). The deeper I discovered Hamilton, the more I wanted to see and hear about it, experiencing the lifestyle of a city transformed by such a cultural and economic renaissance. I organically started exploring the many neighbourhoods the city had to offer through the necessities of my daily routine.

Photo by Raquel Fassler


Then one day, a particular neighbourhood stole my heart with what is described to be the largest concentration of early 20th-century castles/mansions in Canada. Such does make an impression on oneself. DURAND...that's what I'm talking about! According to Wikipedia, the stretch along Markland Street and Aberdeen Avenue, east of Queen Street, was home to the 'industrialists'. The grand estates were home to the families whose names graced the signs of the north end factories and made their fortunes in transportation, finance and industry. Yes, the city lifestyle - shops, bistros, boutiques, leisure options - gets my curiosity, but the history, heritage and rich stories evident in every brick is what gave me the sense of  attachment to the place.

Photo by Raquel Fassler

I've learned quite a bit about this history lately. So I thought why not share some of that in a mini series about the architectural styles of the region. I'm not a historian, but I will do my best to describe the distinct features of each style so it's easy for you to differentiate one from another. I've decided to start with the most common ones. The language of architecture can be very complex and often hard for the layman to understand. Therefore I tried to keep it as easy and light, deliberately skipping over the more technical descriptions. The styles' dates of appearance are also not listed since each (over time) have infiltrated each other so much and I found it to be too heavy for this '101' beginners view.


Photo by Raquel Fassler

  • Rectangular box-like shape
  • Symmetrical facade
  • Organized horizontally
  • Formal entrance centred
  • Wood, roughcast (cement cladding made of lime, water, cows' hair (!) with fine gravel top coat), red or yellow brick
  • Hipped or end gable roof
  • Large tall chimneys
  • Dormer windows

See the modernized example how the interior of this type of house looks like in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Georgian Revival or Neo-Georgian were generally larger than the above and almost always red brick. Popular for clubhouses and small apartment buildings.

Greek Revival

Photo by Raquel Fassler
  • Monumental temple appearance
  • Shallow, hipped, low-pitched or flat rooftop
  • Doric columns
  • 3-dimensional doors
  • Stone panels over windows and doors (lintelled)
  • Greek inspired decorate motifs - floral anthemia and meanders
  • Smooth stone or yellow brick

Gothic Revival

Photo by Raquel Fassler

  • Steeply pitched multiple-gabled rooftops
  • Tall and slender straight-topped or pointed-arched windows
  • Centre gable
  • Symmetrical 1 & 1.5 storey cottages or asymmetric 2 storey L-shaped
  • Single detached
  • Roughcast, red or yellow brick
  • Curved baseboard trim

Photo by Raquel Fassler

"Hamilton biggest asset is that it's a historic city. It's the experience you can't get living in the later built suburbs. It's the uniqueness and character, that draws more and more people to call this place their home."

Ola Mochol is the Founder and Creative Director of PGF Staging Studio. She creates visual stories for houses on sale in Hamilton, Burlington and Niagara Region in Ontario, Canada.


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