The Age of Victorian Architecture
We are quite mad for Victorians. The pomp, the ornate exteriors, the woodwork, fireplaces and crown molding to die for. Drive through any of our major cities, especially the ones with deep water access and you shall find her majesty. This page contains a basic breakdown of the sub types. Follow the link to the updated interior of a DC Victorian era townhouse.
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The reign of Britain’s Queen Victoria lasted from 1837 to 1901. American Victorian architecture that appeared from 1860 to 1900 can then subdivided into several subtypes. The growth of the railroad made these grandiose homes possible.
With the dawning of industrialization, lumber, doors, windows, roofing, siding and the decorative trim that defines Victorians could be massed produced and affordably moved to other parts of the country by rail.
The era also ushered in a new building technique known as the “balloon frame,” which was composed of lighter lumber held together by nails – the default system still used today. Before balloon framing, constructing a house required building the internal structure from heavy timbers.
Victorian influences stem from Medieval house types and bridge the gap between old styles like Georgian and what was to come – the modern styles of Craftsmen and Prairie. Formal, ornate, and meticulously crafted, Victorians have survived and been restored in locations across the country.
can be identified by the raised trim a.k.a "stick" work.
features the mansard roof. Here's one in our nations capital with its porte-cochere intact. These structures provided shelter while entering and exiting the carriage. We now call them, garages, car ports, or porches.
Victorians show up as farm dwellings and the shotgun houses in New Orleans. Many feature crossed gables and simple trim.
styles typically welcome visitors to grand scale front porches. This view shows the smaller porch that faces the street. The main porch on this one (far right) looks out onto the water, indicating more traffic from the water than the sidewalk.
style can be identified by their exterior cladding and were popular in coastal locations. This one is in Connecticut and maybe a reproduction.
features towers and massive arches over doors and windows. While people generally associate Victorians with wood construction, brick and stone was also used. Say what you will about authentic
ostentatious, romantic, overblown, regal, ornate, or aristocratic - it definitely has a point of view.