The monarchy of Queen Victoria in Great Britain and Ireland from 1830 to 1901 birthed the Victorian epoch with its Romantic perspectives, and ironically, stifling morality. The succeeding nine years undid those 71 years when her son, King Edward VII, took over in 1901 until his death in 1910. Although taking root in the final Victorian decade, art nouveau was the most authoritative Edwardian style. In architecture and design, it focused on naturally curved and linear forms such as floral designs. Many Edwardian floor tiles retained mosaic and geometric patterns, a Victorian trend, but in a more streamlined fashion and with lighter coloration.
Gone were the radiant tints that pervaded printing and Victorian majolica, and in their place, earthy and woodsy hues plus pastels. Monotone or multi-colored, Edwardian floor tiles were dressed in plain colors, only ever glazed for hearths. Pastel linoleum rested on Edwardian floors in affluent abodes, and terra cotta or hardwood otherwise. Pebble stoned outdoor steps, perhaps with sheet metal, led to longer and wider portals that opened up to roomy Edwardian houses on extensive property. Classic Victorian houses had confined doorways and vestibules in comparison. Housemaids became a thing of the past, homeowners favoring self cleaning door handles, house numbers and accessories with leather, iron or black refinishing as opposed to copper alloys such as bronze and brass.
Pre-war colonial, Federation and Heritage architecture were present in English and American homes from 1901 to 1918. Floors were important in foot paths, entrance halls, outdoor rooms such as verandas whereas muted and fuss-free in bathrooms and kitchens. Light bamboo and wicker furniture, fretwork, rugs instead of carpets, nickel plating on taps and other fixtures conspired to radiate a fresh, buoyant ambience. Compared to the normal 8 inches these days, authentic antique Edwardian tiles were 6 inches in length and mostly tessellated. Bullnose Edwardian tiles for decorative use on floors and walls had transfer prints or embossing.
Neoclassical Georgian, Tudor and Elizabethan influences were pronounced on the Edwardian period along with the Arts and Crafts style since midway the Victorian era. Edwardian floor tiles were inspired by the Italian terrazzo, granite or marble chips grouted in concrete and polished to a smooth flooring. Current building materials include travertine, limestone, vitrified clay, terracotta, slate, unglazed stone, sandstone, marble, granite, ceramic, porcelain, glass and quarry. For creating a classic Edwardian effect on restored Heritage and Federation homes, or a refashioned Edwardian impression for contemporary residences, pastel colors or a natural earthen surface would be perfect.