Victorian houses are easy to recognize with their unique exterior trim. The Victorian house is known for it's asymmetrical shape with small or large porches. Their roofs are steep and typically have a gable wall on the front of the house. The houses have decorative, multi-colored trim that sets them apart. The most popular features are columns, siding and shingles with textured or decorated edges.
Built during the Industrial Revolution, Victorian houses were one way that homeowners could show their success with large, fancy homes. They were built across the country, in suburbs and the country. Today they add charm to the neighborhoods where they're found and sometimes remind you of gingerbread houses.
How Many Victorian Houses Are There?
Victorian houses evolved during the reign of England's Queen Victoria, who lived from 1837 to 1901. Each house has different touches based on the home's architect. Here are the most known of the Victorian house styles:
- Gothic (1840-1860) houses have gingerbread wood details, which many people recognize as the Victorian house style.
- Italianate (1850-1880), another Victorian style has columned porches, a flat roof and bay windows.
- Another Victorian style house, the Second Empire (1860-1880) has tall, wrought-iron ornamentation.
- Queen Anne (1880-1900) is known for it's turrets and elaborate brackets, finials, posts and lacy filligree trim.
- Shingle style (1890-1910) homes are known for their wood shingles, used on the roof and sides of the house.
Common Victorian House Features
Victorian houses are mostly two story. They often have turrets and attic dormers with small, cozy spaces on the third floor. They have wide front porches decorated with banisters, spindles and columns. Their roofs are steep and irregular in shape and their front gables have gingerbread detailing.
The most striking feature of many Victorian houses are the wood shingles with different shapes, painted with bold colors to make them really pop and catch your eye. In addition to the shingles, Victorian houses also have finials brackets, bay windows, patterned masonry and turrets that feel like the castles in our fairy tales. These features are asymmetrical and give each house a unique personality and surprisingly, the windows and doors are plain in comparison.
Interiors of Victorian Houses
Traditional Victorian houses have even more decorative trim indoors with intricate ceiling designs, cornices similar to crown molding with more decorative moldings, chandeliers, ornate mirrors and fireplaces. Victorian homeowners also painted the interiors in a variety of pastel colors similar to the home's exterior.
While today's Victorian floor plans have the flexibility of an open layout, many Victorian style houses still feature small rooms and cozy nooks for when you want to get away from it all.
Here is a sample Victorian floor plan from FloorPlans.com. You can learn more about the “Victorian House Style: An Architectural and Interior Design Source Book,” with this book written by Linda Osband.
Have you dreamed about owning a Victorian house?
Here are moree books to continue researching your Victorian dream home. Have fun and please share what your projects with us.
America's Painted LadiesThe Victorian House BookVictorian DecoratingVictorian House Designs
I like the most about Victorian house is its interior and orientation of the rooms according to sun origins. I liked your post and shared also…
I like how you talked about different styles of Victorian homes like Gothic, Italianate, and Queen Anne. My parents live back east and are looking into purchasing a home from the 19th century. Thank you for the information on Victorian homes and how beautiful they are.
purna Group of Consultants
19th century homes are a good choice
Older homes were definitely built to last much longer than homes being built today … sad.