Victorian homes are distinctive for their intricate, detailed facades. In the Victorian era, architects moved away from boxlike home styles and embraced the elaborate. If you're renovating a Victorian-era home or building a home in the Victorian style, pay attention to details to give the home an authentic look.
Many of today's Victorian homes are painted in bright, vibrant colours, such as those of the famous "painted ladies" in San Francisco. Historically, this is not accurate. In Victorian times, homes were much more drab. Craftsmen made buff, brown, green and ecru paints by grinding rocks and roots. Architects wanted homes to blend into the landscape. Homeowners seeking an authentic colour palette should choose a colour for the home, then choose complementary colours for trims, sashes and accents. The home should blend with the environment as well as other homes in the neighbourhood.
Homes influenced by Gothic Revival or Queen Anne-style architecture have steeply pitched roofs. Those in the Italianate style feature flat or low-pitched roofs. Wood shingles, slate and tin are common roofing materials for Victorian-era homes. Replacing original materials can be costly, however. Compromise by choosing a subtle material that doesn't detract from the home's authentic look.
Walls with decorative wood shingles arranged in an intricate fish-scale pattern is most often what comes to mind when thinking of Victorian-era siding. If shingles must be replaced, try to maintain the integrity of the design. Brick and stone are also appropriate choices for siding. If you're replacing crumbling brick or stone, again, choose a compatible material that will blend with your home's style.
Among the most identifiable features of a Victorian home are the "gingerbread" embellishments. Brackets, cornices, trims, mouldings, columns and other ornamentation add a stylish finishing touch to your home. Modern materials easily mimic original embellishments. When adding or repairing ornamentation, make sure the modern materials blend with your home's architectural details.
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