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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 classic styles such as Victorian houses. 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 during 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 a 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, 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 the 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 led to overflowing ornamentation which included Italian style. Grand entrances with verandas projected like wings and terraces with accessorized parapets.

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Characteristics of the Victorian-Style House.

A few features of the Victorian-style house are

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

Plan of a typical Victorian house:

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

Parlors in Victorian houses are places for 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 paneled doors, bay/dormer windows, and gardens with fountains.

Victorian Houses



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 Victorian houses, they used wood and decorated at the ridges where two slope roof meets. Therefore, these roofs gave a castle look to the house.

Interiors

Victorian Houses- 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.

Victorian Houses
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 the lack of transport facilities, so initially, the 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 needed skilled laborers, carpenters, and fabricators, in those times technology was not so advanced, so 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 by acquiring less area on the ground floor 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 instance, your site is 30 ft x 40 ft, our built-up area can be 15 ft x 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 into a tower room), and 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 as a stone; there are varieties of real stone cladding tiles offered at lower prices, so it’s economical too. As far as interiors are concerned a wide range of options and products are available in the market.

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

Building a home is a 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 with some contemporary techniques, a modern Victorian mansion can be created. With the 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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