Style Points | The Tudor Cottage


This Alameda Tudor Cottage, located at 3143 NE 32nd Place, was built in 1929 by architect and builder Albert H. Irwin. Irwin built more than 25 Tudor Cottage and Tudor-Norman farmhouse style homes in Alameda, Beaumont, Portland Heights and other locations. For more information on Albert Irwin, click into a profile I’ve written about him in The Builders. Photo Courtesy of Albert Irwin Collection-Paul Crocker.

The Tudor

  • References to an earlier time period;
  • Distinguishing between Tudor Revival and English Tudor Cottage
  • The Style in Alameda and other Northeast Portland Neighborhoods

We’ll distinguish between Tudor Revival and Tudor English Cottage. But first, some background on key elements of Tudor.

Roots in Tudor England

Based loosely on English style from 16th Century England-the period when the Tudor family ruled England-and evolved from a type of architecture and construction known as post and beam.

Large timbers framed the buildings and plaster was used to fill in the areas inside the posts and beams (the ancestor of stucco), providing a rustic appeal. The form included steeply pitched roofs, elongated windows, often ornate use of patterned brick or stone, small window panes, a cross gabled structure, large chimneys (with chimney pots).

Reviving the Tudor in America

Tudor Revival refers to those homes-usually larger and often two or three stories-built in Portland as early as 1910, though the style began to be used elsewhere in the country just before the turn of the last century. These larger homes mimicked the early post and beam style, but not the actual structural use of posts and beams, by using half-timbers affixed to a stucco exterior. Alameda’s “Autzen Mansion” near 26th and Alameda is a good example of a classic Tudor Revival residence.

Tudor Revival homes were costly to build. Their steep and complex roof systems, decorative brick work, use of stucco and wood trim all took time and extra care.

Why was the Tudor Revival popular? For many the style was attractive because of the reference it made to early England, to a more “romantic” time. At a time of great industrial growth and change, it provided a link to a “simpler” era. It was also a distinctive look, different from the Victorian and Queen Anne periods which it followed.

The English Tudor Cottage-A Simpler and Popular Form

A variation on this, which was very popular here in Portland and elsewhere, was referred to as the English Tudor Cottage, English Revival Cottage, or simply as “English” style. It differed from the classic Tudor Revival in several ways:

  • These were smaller and more modest homes, built for middle-income families, usually one story.
  • They were built on smaller lots, typically between the mid 1920s and late 1930s.
  • The cottage version might have the half-timber over stucco style. But often not. The exterior material might be all stucco, or brick, or even shingle.
  • Look for the long rectangular windows, and often-even on the cottage-use of leaded glass windows.
  • The steeply pitched roof is still a common feature on these homes, as is a cross gable style…where the roof ridgelines run perpendicular to each other, with the gable end facing forward.
  • The market for these homes in the late 1920s and 1930s was strong. Sears and Roebuck even produced a very popular kit version of this house.

The Portland Context

A study of Sanborn maps from the mid 1920s shows that much of the northerly portions of Alameda (and other nearby neighborhoods like Beaumont and Rose City Park) had been developed. The predominant house type built during the earlier years was the bungalow, though there are plenty of four-squares, arts and crafts and colonials as well.

The English Tudor Cottage style was indeed popular and commonly used in the areas built after the mid-1920s, again typically in the southern and eastern portions of the neighborhood. Home construction was strong in parts of Northeast Portland in the late 1920s but then slowed after 1929 and didn’t really recover until the late 1930s.

The English Tudor Cottage would have been popular during this era because it was less expensive to build and to buy; it had an attractive feel and look, with references to classic and higher-end homes; it was more “modern” compared to the common and aging bungalows that were all around; it was typically a bit smaller than homes built in the teens and early 1920s (smaller families).

Be sure to take a look at the Tudor English Cottage plans and story that ran in the December 20, 1925 issue of The Oregonian.


5 responses

  1. I am trying to locate appropriate exterior period lighting for my English Cottage home and am having difficulty locating factual history on this. I’d love some help! My home is 1925, in Portland, Oregon on Alameda Street.


    Beth Morse

  2. The first stop for me when it comes to period lighting is Rejuvenation Inc. in Portland ( I would guess that maybe you have already been there. If not, it’s more than worth a trip. The folks there are very helpful, and can point you to fixtures that would fit with the era and style. They can also likely point you to original catalogs and other design references that can be helpful.

    The other thing I would be tempted to do is to have a good walk around our neighborhood, Irvington and Laurelhurst at night. There are plenty of English cottages in these places that you could see and think about. I have actually knocked on doors to ask about various old house design details from time to time.

    When I think of the English cottage, I think of semi-rustic…something growing out of the Arts and Crafts movement. Hammered, lantern-like fixtures. Good luck with your search…let us know what you find.

  3. what is that “naked” archway door called? I have the same thing on my house and having a name for it would be very helpful to me.

  4. Harold Uppinghouse and his company Oregon Home Designers designed many of the “historic period” (e.g. English cottage and Norman farmhouse) style homes in the Alameda area. He was active in the Portland area 1925-1941 and advertised his designs in the Sunday Oregonian during that period. He offered stock plans for sale as well as unique custom designs. One of the latter, the Wilson-South House in Northwest Portland, is included in the National Historical Register.

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