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Victorian Houses – Features That Fascinate to Stay

What kind of architectural style would you prefer for your upcoming home, something traditional or contemporary?  As an architect, I would suggest a classic style, The Victorian- Style house. Around these simplistic and plain façade modern buildings a vintage mansion will stand out, to enrich the view in and around the neighborhood.

As the name suggests, this style of architecture evolved in the long reign of Queen Victoria who ruled from 1830 -1901. The queen was more interested in aesthetics than space out of function, so architects were given free hand to experiment with different styles like Gothic, French, Italian, and Tudor. In some houses, we might see traces of Egyptian style too. As a result, The Victorian-Style  houses are more of an era than style; they are intricately handcrafted to create a saga in the history of architecture which fascinates every architect in modern times too. The narrative of the period follows as;

Early Victorian Period (1840-1875)

The Victorian -Style homes during this time were symmetrical in layout and facade, gable roof with corrugated iron would lead to the veranda in front. Homes were less ornamental and simple in design compared to mid -Victorian homes.

Mid-Victorian Period (1860-1875)

Homes in this period didn’t differ more than an early Victorian period; new features were added like more ornamentation using stucco on the external facade, bullnose veranda roof, sidelights on either side of the front door, terrace, and a proper boundary was set between the properties.

Late Victorian Period (1875-1901)

With the flow of money (new money) individuals wanted to show off their status, so this leads to overflowing ornamentation which included Italian style. Grand entrances with veranda projected like wings and terraces with accessorized parapets.

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Characteristics of the Victorian-Style House.

Few features of The Victorian-Style house are

  • They typically two to three stories.
  • Pitched roofs.
  • High ceilings with carvings.
  • Ornamented porches.
  • Bay/Dormer windows.
  • Stained glass

Plan of a typical The Victorian house:

As mentioned earlier, an early Victorian house is symmetrical; here in, picture you can see a typical floor plan. In the ground floor plan, ‘A’ is the Verandah(Vestibule), ‘B’ parlor, ‘C’ kitchen, ‘E’ staircase leading to the next floor; containing a dressing room for each four- bedroom chambers.

Parlors in the Victorian house are place of the social meetings and showcasing status through their art collections, and finest furniture. Women meet for tea in these parlors.

Victorian house
Picture credit: book Victorian Houses and their details by Helen Long.

Elevation/Façade of Victorian house

When it comes to exteriors the highlighting features are the bold range of colors, masonry with brick cladding, porches with wooden columns and decorative posts, pitched roofs, towers, stone walls with the paneled doors, bay/dormer windows, and gardens with fountains.




Picture credit: Kerr isolated fashionable styles, from the book Victorian Houses and their details by Helen Long

Roofs are one of the important features of a Victorian house; in the above picture we can see various types of pitched roofs (roman and gothic), hip and valley, gable roofs, domed roofs, and mansard roofs. These roofs were made of slate tiles or clay tiles and in some houses they used wood, and where decorated at the ridges were two slope roof meets. Therefore, these roofs gave a castle look to the house.

Interiors

Picture credit: Drawing room scheme in from kitchen to Garret, from the book Victorian Houses and their details by Helen Long

The above picture shows a splendid interior of a parlor in the Victorian house. Interior; showoff vast collection of art pieces from different parts of the world. These contributed in the discussions in social gatherings. Different paintings of famous artists, decorative artworks, furniture, intricately handwoven table spreads, and heavy curtains added elegance and style.

Ceiling carvings were other jewels that enhanced interiors. The image shows types of ceiling rose designs.

Picture credit: Design of ceiling enrichment
 in Loudon’s, From the book Victorian Houses
and their details by Helen Long

It’s a neoclassic pattern containing a new style, of heavy, rounded forms and carvings that added essential ingredients of ornamentation and comfort, forming the look of the Victorian interior.

Materials Used in  the Victorian house

During the Victorian period locally available material was preferred due to lack of transport facilities, so initially, stone was used to create a Gothic style home, but it required skilled labor and only the rich could afford it. Wood replaced stone for the poor and middle class and made carpentry Gothic Houses. Lately with railways and new industries evolving all kinds of materials were exported like brass, marble, and terracotta.

Ornamented repetitive pattern works need skilled laborers, carpenters, and fabricators, in those times technology was not so advanced still, they managed to invent new tools and techniques to get their work done smartly enough.

Can we build the Victorian-Style villa today?

Times have changed, the population is increasing day by day and, the space to build an independent house in the times where getting a flat is difficult, how can someone dream to have a luxurious home? It’s impossible! You might think. But it’s possible if you carefully plan details from the initial stage, for example first to decide how much building space needs to be covered in the site. Most of them assume that only leaving minimum space, and using as much as land area in the ground floor. The Victorian- style houses are vertically appealing buildings, so acquiring less area in the ground floor and creating our building in one corner of the site, and taking our requirements to two to three floors, we can get that effect of the mansion. For the instance your site is 30ftx40ft, our built-up area can be 15ftx 30/35ft, and outer space can be used to create porches, parking, and gardens.

Diverse Features

The Victorian-Style homes have diverse rooflines with their pitched roofs and towers, these classic features can be achieved by building double- height porches, a wide staircase (headroom can be made a tower room), and the sloped roof at different levels. Even the construction materials substitutes are available, where you can get the exact looking product if not the same material like a stone; there are varieties of real stone cladding tiles offered at fewer prices, so it’s economical too. As far interiors are concerned a wide range of options and products are available in market

The labor required for these villa in past was more and time consuming, now with types of equipments and machinery particularly designed for construction works the task is completed in no time. The work which would take hundreds of labors and weeks, with these heavy- duty vehicles it’s done in no time.

Building a home is dream come true, a place that will contain all your ideas, and interests, and should make a style statement. Victorian style was a period where one style assorted with other architectural ideas to create a masterpiece that incorporated function, and ornamentation. Similarly inculcating your idea of a dream house with the Victorian -Style and combining it up with some contemporary techniques, a modern Victorian mansion can be created. With a help of an architect, who can understand your requirements and aspirations towards your dream, will help you to craft the Victorian- style house within your site and within your budget.

  • Written by
  • Sneha Daivajna

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