Victorian Era Architecture By Carson Lagina


Many think of Victorian architecture looking like a doll house with fancy trim and bright colors. It actually refers to a style that emerged between 1830-1910 during Queen Victoria's reign.

Style Types

The Victorian era was made up of several well-known styles, including Gothic revival, Italianate, Second Empire, Queen Anne, stick style, Romanesque style and shingle style. They formed from the Gothic style. Architects made it their own by adding French, Italian, Tudor and Egyptian details. Interiors of the home refelected personality of owners or builders

Gothic Revival

  • early Victorian houses
  • inspired mostly from Western Europe
  • multicolored and textured walls and steep roofs


  • incorporated the arches and pediments of Roman architecture with elaborate detailing made possible by the emerging industrial base of the growing nation
  • featured elaborate porch decoration and arched windows

Second Empire

  • inspired by cityscapes of Paris
  • incorporates rectangular or square floor plans, tall flat facades capped by Mansard roofs with dormer windows, and double entry door
  • inspired architecture in Paris in the reign of Napoleon

Queen Ann

  • 1880's came into style
  • image of these types of homes is what most people think of when picturing Victorian homes
  • feature irregular floor plans, multiple steep roofs and porches with decorative gables

Stick Style

  • feature decorative trusswork, and exposed half-timber framing
  • steep pitched roofs with simple gables
  • common in California


  • influenced by Italianate style
  • used in many of the large public buildings built during the late 1800's


  • similar to stick style
  • known for use of affordable wood products
  • architects used shingles on either sidings and roofing and sometimes both

Key Elements

Two to Three Stories

The homes are very large and grand but rooms were usually small.

Wood or Stone Exterior

  • majority of Victorian styles use wood siding
  • Second Empire and Romanesque styles have siding made of stone

Complicated Shape

Have wings and bays that go in every direction.

Decorative Trim

Referred to as "Gingerbread ", these homes are decorated with elaborate wood or metal trim.

Textured Wall Surfaces

Commonly used to decorate Victorian siding are scalloped shingles, patterned masonry or half-timbering.

Steep or Mansard Roofing

Victorian homes have steep rooflines with many gables facing in different directions.


High-end Victorian homes areembellished with round or octagonal tower with steep point.

Vibrant Colors

Initially one color, usually white, beige or black was the color of the house. By 1887 people started using bright and vibrant colors which is essential to Victorian architecture.


Top From left to right: "Painted ladies" in San Francisco - Victorian houses painted in three or more colors; Gingerbread house- Savannah, Georgia built by Cord Asendorf in 1889. Bottom left to right: Wedding Cake house- square brick home in Kennebuck, ME built in 1826 covered in wooden Gothic decoration; Rosson House- built 1895 in Phoenix, Arizona, great example of Queen Anne style

Today's Hassels

  • smaller rooms and less closet space
  • need to do rewiring and repair trim and plaster
  • elaborate trim can be a lot of repair
  • most trim styles today aren't available so hard to replace
  • health hazards of lead paint and asbestos
Gray, Liz. "Victorian Architecture." HGTV. Scripps Network, 24 Apr. 2015. Web. 30 Dec. 2016. <>.
"Victorian 1837 – 1914." Victorian Period | Architectural Timeline | House of Antique Hardware. House of Antique Hardware, Inc, 2016. Web. 31 Dec. 2016. <>.
"Victorian Era Architecture Style Features.", 2016. Web. 30 Dec. 2016. <>.


Created with images by Corey Leopold - "Kilmainham Gaol" • latteda - "Painted Ladies" • Boston Public Library - "The Wedding Cake House, Kennebunk Landing, Maine" • ~Pawsitive~Candie_N - "Rosson House"

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