Homes constructed during the Victorian era, approximately 1840 to 1900, were known for their expansiveness and use of innovative techniques made possible by the industrial age. Named for Queen Victoria, a monarch of Great Britain who held the longest reign of any British or female monarch, the style was characterised by frills, elaborate woodwork, big porches and, frequently, turrets.
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Mimicking Italian renaissance villas, these Victorian-era homes were favoured by Americans, as they were relatively inexpensive to build using many different materials. Cast-iron and press-metal decorations were liberally placed throughout the homes. Featuring flat roofs above rectangular walls, these houses often had up to four stories. They contained impressive side bay windows in addition to tall, narrow windows with hooded mouldings. Their arched double doors were frequently decorated with heavy mouldings. Squares cupolas dominated the structure in addition to wide, overhanging eaves and cornices.
Folk Victorian 1870-1910
A favourite among country people, Folk Victorian homes were predominantly square with a front gable and side wing sections. The big porches were decorated with spindlework beneath low-pitched, pyramid-shaped roofs. Similar to Queen Anne houses, Folk Victorian homes were adorned with flat, jigsaw cut trim in a variety of patterns, or spindles and "gingerbread" detailed trim. Their main feature was a wraparound porch that frequently spanned the entire house.
Shingle Style 1874 -1910
Shingle-style houses were distinguished by more indoor living and window space than other Victorian-style homes. These homes featured irregular roof lines, eaves on several levels and enclosed porches or sun rooms. Their asymmetrical floor plans held wavy wall surfaces, and on some, stone on lower stories and stone arches over windows and porches. Cross gables and patterned roof shingles were favourite additions of many shingle-style homes. These houses were more informal and divested of the lavish decorations of Tudor or Gothic homes. Most houses of this style were sided in rustic cedar shingles and contained rambling, complicated floor plans.
Queen Anne 1880-1910
The Queen Anne house style is probably the most well known and the most decorative type of architecture from the Victorian era. Queen Anne's have steep roofs, round or square towers, front-facing gables, porches on one or two sides of the house, and bay windows. This romantic architecture is decorated with ornamental spindles and brackets produced by the new woodworking machinery available at that time. The towers are the predominant features that stand out on these houses.
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