Yellow Victorian home

The term Victorian Homes is a broad one that encompasses a number different architectural styles and building methods. The one thing that brings them all together, however, is excess. Victorian architecture is known for its towering spires, intricate woodwork, and unconventional house plans. These homes are not for the practical homebuyer, but if you’re looking for something that turns heads and slows down traffic, a Victorian house might be the perfect fit for you.

A Victorian Primer

What makes a Victorian home Victorian? That’s not an easy question to answer. Here’s a short list of the dominant building styles that fall under the Victorian umbrella, and the defining characteristics of each.

  • Gothic Revival—The Gothic Revival style draws its inspiration from medieval European architecture that produced towering, ornate stone cathedrals, and intricately decorated castles. Homes built in this style mirror these traits, creating a formal, almost spooky appearance. Think vintage Hollywood horror movies and you’re on the right track.
  • Italianate—Italianate architecture draws heavily from traditional classical ideals and is characterized by masonry construction, pillars, arches and sprawling floor plans. If you’re looking for a home that harkens back to ancient Rome, look no further.
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  • Second Empire—The Second Empire style is known for it’s imposing appearance, highlighted by a tall, rectangular tower topped off with an iron railing. They usually have steep sloping roofs and often sport intricate decorations and carvings around doors, windows, dormers, and entryways.
  • Queen Anne—An offshoot of the Second Empire style, Queen Anne architecture is known more for its excess than any formulaic trait. Queen Anne homes are often sprawling structures with multiple octagonal towers and wrap around porches. In the latter part of the 19th century it became the rage to paint these homes in a number of bright, pastel colors, gaining them the moniker of “Painted Ladies.” When most people think of a Victorian home, this is the style that comes to mind.
  • Gingerbread—The Gingerbread style is the most elaborate of them all. Gingerbread homes are known for intricate wood carvings that grace windows, doors, porches, dormers, and just about every other aspect of the home. This incredible craftsmanship and attention to detail gives these homes an almost fairy tale appearance.

Victorian Homes Today

While the above housing styles define the Victorian Style, their influence on more modest homes is still evident today. A layman’s Victorian can be as simple as a home with an irregular floor plan, steep roofs and a wrap around porch. Whether you’re looking for a castle like residence or just a new home with Victorian originality, these homes are some of the most beautiful and endearing on the market.


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