Victorian-style houses have a unique charm that makes them irresistible to homebuyers. Vibrant, ornate, and romantic, they make for astounding pieces of architecture that can’t but take your breath away.
These houses, built at the height of the Victorian era, in the period between 1837 and 1901, boast intricate designs, bright colors, plenty of decorative woodwork, stained glass windows, imposing turrets, and high towers.
However, not all Victorian-style houses are made the same. The whole genre has several subcategories, each more fascinating than the other. Take a look at some of the most mesmerizing types of Victorian-style homes.
Like modern home designs, colonial, cottage, or French country, Victorian-style houses have unique elements that distinguish them from other architectural designs. What defines the Victorian style are:
Furthermore, you’ll recognize Victorian-style homes by their interior, as well. They’ll have smaller rooms and kitchens with larger entertainment areas and plenty of fireplaces to warm you up during the cold winter months.
If you aren’t too keen on some of the interior and exterior elements of your Victorian-style home and wish to remodel some areas, you should know that you may encounter strict restrictions. To perform any alterations on a historic building, you’ll need to obtain building permits and a Certificate of Appropriateness (C of A). You’ll need to keep as much of the original design as possible. And that original design can come in many different styles.
Take a look at some of the most common types of Victorian-style houses.
Folk Victorian is the most frequent style you’ll encounter. Compared to some more elaborate Victorian-style homes, it’s more simplistic, with cleaner lines and more minimalistic design elements.
As its name would suggest, Folk Victorian homes were most popular amongst the regular folk, aka the middle class. Since they couldn’t afford architects, they’d construct the houses themselves with the help of a skilled carpenter. They’d also use more affordable materials as they couldn’t ship intricate design elements.
Most Folk Victorian houses will lack defining Victorian-style details like bay windows, gingerbread trims, and overhangs on higher floors. Moreover, they’d generally be smaller and more subdued.
Another aptly-named type is the Stick style. Still relatively simplistic when put in the context of Victorian-style homes, Stick-style houses are defined by their decorative patterns made using vertical, horizontal, and diagonal boards. You’ll never see a plain, smooth siding with these designs. Even porches will have diagonal support brackets that add both function and form.
Stick-style Victorian houses will almost always have overhanging porches on the upper floors in the style of Swiss Chalet.
Eastlake, commonly referred to as the Stick-Eastlake style, is a variation of the Stick style. In addition to horizontal, vertical, and diagonal boards, Stick-Eastlake houses will feature additional, complex decorations and geometric ornaments.
Named after the British writer and furniture designer Charles Eastlake, the idea was to get elaborate designs made by manufacturers who enjoy their work. Funnily enough, Charles Eastlake wasn’t fond of the Stick-Eastlake Victorian style and didn’t enjoy being associated with it.
With the Second Empire or Mansard style, we’re finally getting to the more ornamental designs commonly associated with Victorian-style houses. Unsurprisingly, the defining characteristic of the Second Empire is the prominent mansard roof with two slopes and plenty of dormer windows surrounded by intricate designs.
Many Second Empire homes in the US will feature belt courses, iron roof crests, quoins, and balustrades. These additional design elements lend somewhat of a Renaissance touch, which is why this style is often referred to as the Renaissance Revival.
Queen Anne is the definition of a Victorian-style home. Colorful, bright, eclectic, excessive, it’s the house you think of when you hear the word “Victorian.”
Queen-Anne-style homes will be asymmetrical, with at least two or three floors, octagonal towers, round and steep roofs with patterned shingles and crestings, and protruding turrets. It will have the traditional lacy, gingerbread trims, stained glass windows, massive verandas, and intricate spindlework. While the siding can be made of wood, brick, or stone, it will always be brightly colored and vibrant.
Gothic Revival homes are quite a thing to behold. Inspired by the Gothic and romantic architectural designs, they draw from the medieval cathedrals to create dramatic elements that you can’t take your eyes off of.
Houses built in the Gothic Revival style will have steep, high-pitched roofs, elaborate overhanging eaves, pointed arches, diamond-shaped windows, and tall turrets. They’ll look almost like small castles.
Most commonly, the architects will use stone siding, while the wood siding is the more frequent option for the Carpenter Gothic sub-style.
The Shingle-style Victorian homes were popular among the high upper classes. Most commonly used for vacation homes by the beach, they’re defined by minimal external decorations and, as expected, shingles. Virtually the entire exterior of a home in this style will be covered in shingles – from the roof to the siding and, at times, even the porch pillars. You’ll notice complex rooflines and spacious porches but virtually no other form of exterior decor.
Finally, Italianate-style Victorian homes were inspired by none other than the Italian 16th-century-style villas. They’re asymmetric, with low, flat roofs, narrow windows, glass-paneled double doors, square towers, and wide porches. Wide rather than tall, Italianate-style homes are elegant and romantic, with elaborate carvings and gorgeous quoins.
Victorian-style homes boast gorgeous, ornamental designs, intricate details, and breath-taking exterior and interior elements. Spacious and inviting, they can easily become your dream home. What’s best is that the style can be mixed and matched with other, seemingly opposing styles to create brand new designs that can’t but take your breath away.