How To Create a Federation-Style Home

The Federation home design certainly stands the test of time. These regal, elegant homes have provided classic heritage charm in Australia for over a hundred years. There’s something about the timelessness of Federation homes that keeps the Federation style popular even with new home builds today. And with the addition of contemporary features and design elements, this home style is perfect for accommodating the modern Aussie lifestyle.

Let’s explore what makes Federation-style homes so unique and how you can replicate this architectural design in your next build.

What is Federation Style?

Federation style is an architectural design in Australia that gained popularity around 1900. Generally speaking, the Federation-style house is Australia’s version of the Edwardian and boasts the same charming features. The name ‘Federation’ was given in reference to when Australia became a federation, collectively becoming the Commonwealth of Australia. This design is steeped in history, as it was a symbol of Australia’s budding identity! Builders and architects of this time drew inspiration from France and Britain, adopting those classic Edwardian and Queen Anne features and then adding uniquely Australian twists to make a home design we can truly call our own. In fact, Plunkett Homes have now been building Federation homes for 120 years!

What Influences the Federation Style?

The Federation-style house is a blend of classic European architecture and the Australian lifestyle. Design influences stem from a flamboyant mix of the Arts and Crafts Movement with embellishments from Art Nouveu, and native Australian flora & fauna.

Today, the Federation style still draws upon those timeless features but is combined with contemporary architectural and design styles to give this classic an updated look to suit the modern Aussie lifestyle.

Architectural features

The Federation home can be characterised by traditional architectural features such as asymmetric gable rooves made of either slate or terracotta tiles, a large verandah, decorative timber features, fretwork featuring Australian motifs and flora, stained glass and leadlight windows, bay windows and painted window frames, and chimneys and fireplaces. Most of these homes have decorative tiling on the patio floor and entry pathways, and the exterior facade is typically brown or red brick.

A floorplan with Federation design elements

The interior design principles of a Federation home are often distinguished by a main grand entrance and long central corridors, often coupled with generous living zones. Inside, the eyes are often drawn to high, ornate ceilings and timber archways to compartmentalise interior rooms while providing cross-ventilation. These high ceilings are complemented by skylights and large floor-to-ceiling windows. Often French or bi-fold doors will open up to an outdoor patio or verandah.

The floor plan of a modern federation-style house maintains the traditional spaciousness but maximises efficiency and functionality with the addition of modernised internal living spaces and zones (such as home offices, entertainment rooms, parents retreat, and double garage space) alongside contemporary lighting, heating and security features.

If you want to create a Federation home interior, look to materials and surfaces in light colours to maximise the brightness of the room and consider ornate rugs and plush sofas in velvets, leather, and patchwork prints. 

The exterior design of Federation homes

Traditionally, these homes were characterised by a red brick exterior as builders used whatever surplus of resources they had at the time. Nowadays, a Federation-style house exterior can also feature weatherboards and render in light, neutral tones. Fretwork and decorative timber features are also utilised alongside modern landscaped gardens and ample lighting in the form of solar lights and LED trim moulding along pathways and entrance stairs. Rooves still harness that enchanting gable style but can consist of slate, tile or Colorbond steel. You will also see low picket fences, expansive verandahs, front porches and patios alongside exterior garden zones to make the most of the great outdoors.

Federation-era colour palette

A colour scheme of deep, rich reds, browns, golds, emerald green and warm creams highlights the palette of a traditional Federation home design. These colours are still used in the modern Federation colour palette, but we find that a simple palette with strong, contrasting colours works best. Plunkett Homes specialises in striking the perfect balance between old and new in our modern Federation-style houses. Think neutral schemes of white, cream, grey and taupe for exterior and interior walls with soothing tones of green and blue. For rooves, we stick to traditional deep terracotta reds alongside greys and whites to stay in keeping with that quintessential Federation look.

Furniture and décor

One of the first things you will always notice when you step into a Federation-style home is timber floorboards. Whether oak, pine or mahogany, timber flooring is the main showpiece and is complemented by soft furnishings and textures. Federation homes also have decorative internal work and features such as ornamental cornices, textured wall panels, and built-in window seats or alcoves. Contemporary Federation-style homes often feature lighter, modern furnishings and decor with sleek lines and polishes. For example, a large granite island bench in the kitchen or console tables in the entranceway. You will also notice there are influences from the traditional heritage design, with ornate pendant lights, chandeliers, pintuck chairs and sofas adding a charming contrast to the modernised interior.

Design Examples of the Best Federation Homes

Plunkett Homes has been designing and building Federation homes in WA for 120 years now – it’s a style that never gets old! Our range of Federation homes is popular among all types of homebuilders as it’s a home design that holds a timeless look and appeal while fitting in comfortably with today’s modern world.

Some updated elements we bring to our Federation homes include fixtures and finishes like:

  • Home theatre/entertainment room
  • Master suite with ensuites and built-in robes
  • Study/home office
  • Kitchens with a large island bench and scullery
  • LED downlights and smart home capabilities 
  • Resort-style bathrooms including freestanding bathtubs
  • Double oven and stovetops
  • Soft close drawers
  • Ample storage space 
  • Alfresco/patios

Like our clients Eric and Leonie, you have the option to customise your Federation home build to reflect your unique lifestyle. We’ll work with you to achieve a home that is practical, functional and beautiful and that will suit your block of land.

Choose the Plunkett Way – Customise Your Federation-Style Home to Suit Your Lifestyle & Needs

It’s hard to go past the style and elegance of a Federation home. Not only do Federation-style homes have a strong sense of heritage and history, but they are built to last.

If you have looked at the available house designs and decided that a Federation home is right for you, consider Plunkett Homes. We are proud of our ability to preserve the traditional elements of Federation design while incorporating modern home inclusions to create a home suited to modern urban living.

Get in touch with Plunkett Homes the expert home builder that can help customise any floorplan to suit your needs, lifestyle, block of land or budget by offering different elevations to the classic federation style!

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