Victorian House Plans
THE VICTORIAN HOME - 101
From the many styles and time periods to reflect upon when considering residential architecture, the sky’s the limit! Contemporary, Modern, Traditional – these styles of construction are commonly used within the new home construction market; but, when you visualize these styles in your mind, not many specific characteristics come to thought. Then, we have the Victorian style who sits in a class all its own. We may not know all of the correct words to use to describe the style itself, but the vivid and detailed portrayal of a Victorian home is effortless to imagine.
Victorian home plans contain welcoming wrap-around porches, towers, spindles, exposed brackets under eaves, fanciful ornamental elements and other ornate characteristics. During the Victorian Era (approximately 1840 to 1900), a variety of new styles emerged, each containing its own distinctive features. New building materials and techniques were created and the popularity of the Victorian style became attainable to homeowners due to industrialization and the ability of mass production.
The most widely known of the Victorian home plans are those that boast the characteristics of the Queen Anne style. Unbeknownst to many people, there are actually (historically) ten time-period styles within the Victorian Era:
1840 – 1880: Gothic Revival (Masonry) – these homes were typically constructed of stone and were inspired by medieval cathedrals and castles. Most common features of this style contain pointed windows with decorative tracery, pinnacles, grouped chimneys, flat roofs with battlements or gabled roofs with parapets, leaded glass and quatrefoil (clover) shaped windows.
1840 – 1880: Gothic Revival (Wood) – much like the masonry Gothic Revival style, the wooden version of construction was adopted due to affordability. Most common features of this style contained steeply pitched roofs with cross gables, windows with pointed arches, one-story porches, scrolled ornaments, gingerbread trim and other decorative details.
1840 – 1885: Italianate House Style – this style became the most popular in Victorian America and is also commonly as the Lombard, the Tuscan or the Bracketed style. Most common features of this style contained low-pitched roof, tall appearance with symmetrical shape, wide and overhanging eaves with exposed brackets and cornices, tall, narrow windows with hood moldings, porches topped with balustraded balconies, bay windows and Roman-style arches above windows and doors. Many of the characteristics of this style are incorporated into modern day Victorian home plans.
1850 – 1870: The Octagon Style–the popularity of this style was short lived and only a few thousand octagonal style houses were constructed within a ten year time span. The house was typically eight sided, although not always, and was usually one-story. The idea behind the design was to let natural light and cool breezes reach all areas of the house.
1855 – 1885: Second Empire (Mansard) Style – creating a sense of height, Second Empire homes commonly displayed mansard roofs and wrought iron cresting. Other common features of this style include: rounded cornices at the top and base of the roof, exposed brackets beneath the eaves, balconies and bay windows, dormer windows project from the roof, classical pediments, paired columns, tall first story windows, cupola and patterned slate roofs.
1860 – 1890: Stick Style – in continuing to follow the details from medieval times, this style is most popular for its exposes trusses and “stick work.” The emphasis of the exterior is on lines and patterns – flatwork. Common features of this style are rectangular shape, wood siding, decorative braces and brackets, ornamental trusses, large overhanging eaves, decorative half-timbering and steep roofs.
1870 – 1910: Folk Victorian – due to the trim work made available by mass production, plain folk could afford these homes. These simple rectangular or “L” shaped houses contained features such as wood siding, porches with spindles, flat cut trim and decorative brackets under the eaves.
1874 – 1920: Shingle Style – this style can take on many forms, displaying characteristics from the Queen Anne style, the Gothic style, the Stick style – but the most distinctive feature of the Shingle style is that is very informal and relaxed. Containing wood shingled roofs (and sometimes wood shingled siding), other features of this style are: irregular rooflines, cross gables, asymmetrical floor plans and eaves on several levels.
1880 – 1910: Queen Anne – this is the style that most people think of when they think of Victorian home plans with the famous wrap-around porches, towers, steep roofs, ornamental spindles and brackets, bay windows, wall surfaces textured with decorative shingles or patterned masonry. Not all Queen Anne homes are lavishly decorated, but many personalities who choose this style of architecture are looking for a flashy, ornamental home.
1880 – 1900: Richardsonian Romanesque – this style has broad Roman-like arches and massive stone walls, usually constructed of rough-faced, square stones. Other features of this style are rounded towers with coned-shaped roofs, columns, pilasters with spirals and patterned masonry arches over windows. Although not commonly built as a residence due to expense, this style is still commonly seen in public buildings.
In conclusion of the many different styles from the Victorian era, present-day Victorian home plans usually incorporate some of the most popular characteristics from several of the styles mentioned above. We invite you to browse through our stock home plans or if you know exactly what you desire in your future home, we’d love to design your custom Victorian dream home. Like the famous “Painted Ladies” in San Francisco, every Victorian home is a vibrant work of art – our team is ready to assist with your masterpiece!
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