I’ve been smitten with victorian houses since the first time I noticed a beautiful home with towers and gigantic windows in a neighboring town where I grew up. These homes built in the mid to late 1800’s are beautiful, charming, and in most times, HUGE.
To understand why Victorian homes are the way they are, it helps to have a little bit of knowledge about the people who lived during Victorian times. This was, as Charles Dickens would say in the book Tale of Two Cities, “The best of times, and the worst of times.”
The Victorian era is the time in history in which Queen Victoria reigned over the United Kingdom of Great Britain from 1837 until her death in 1901. This is sometimes also known as Britain’s “Golden Years”, in which there was mostly peace amongst the leaders, and economic condition were excellent.
In the United States, the Victorian era began to boom after the Civil War ended in 1865. As the economy improved, peace was more commonplace, and new technological improvements were made for manufacturing, the perfect conditions for leisure and luxury.
Why Art Victorian Houses So Huge? Why Victorian Mansions Are Common
One characteristic of many homes built during the late 1800s is that they are gigantic – Victorian mansions are quite common, though many of them are in need of costly repairs as they have aged considering most of these homes are over 120 years old!
The reason for this comes from the actual lifestyle and interests of the people who lived during these times.
Those who lived in this golden era between 1880-1901 loved to entertain, loved intellectual discussions, and especially loved their hobbies. Fortune telling and mysticism grew in popularity, and Victorians had a number of gadgets and curio collections. It was not uncommon for a home to be built to have several rooms dedicated to a single purpose, such as room for playing the piano and other musical instruments, a room for entertaining guests, a library, a study, an observatory, a conservatory garden room and more.
Large style homes are common for this era!
Beautiful Balconies and Exterior Trim Details
A common characteristic of this style of home is detailed ornate trim and beautiful sitting porches and raised balconies. Here is a row of historical homes in Cape Map, New Jersey that fit this description nicely.
Victorian Homes and buildings line the historic district of Cape Map, New Jersey.
Cape May is a beach town, and notable history is the Great Cape May fire in 1878. The devastating fire destroyed much of the Victorian architecture, though several buildings have been restored and recreated since then.
When we would visit the Jersey Shore as kids, I remember wanting to live there one day! The houses are quite charming and beautiful!
These styles of beach houses are popular and can often be found around the globe.
Of course, it’s worth noting the United States is not the only place where these intricate creations featuring Victorian Architecture can be found. Notable Victorian era cities range from London to Melbourne.
Modern Beach Charm
Today, the Victorian style is often duplicated in modern beach houses. These are a few examples of modern contemporary new construction homes that have taken inspiration from the late 1800s coastal architecture.
A brightly modern take on the classic beach style home.
Popular southern locations such as Texas, Florida, and New Orleans all often share these characteristics of both modern and historic architectural styles.
Edwardian and Georgian Architecture
Edwardian and Georgian style homes can be found around the globe.
City and Row Style Architecture
Decorative trim work prevails!
Truly, if I were to live in any of these homes shown here, I think this one shown above might just be one of them! Ah, look at that garden! So beautiful!
Decorating a Victorian Home for the Holidays
This bright cheerful home is decorated with many Christmas decorations on the exterior. Although, even without the additional decorations, the homes can be quite beautiful against a snowy backdrop – almost Christmas card worthy all in their own!
Historical Architecture: A Piece of History is Preserved
The beauty of these homes is something historians have worked hard to preserve over the many years since they were first built. Several properties are now open to the public as visitors centers and historic points of interest around the globe.
It can be difficult to determine the history of Victorian homes found online. Sometimes even the owners may not know all of the details, unless of course the property is now a historical center. For example, many homes of notable people who lived during the Victorian era are now open to the public to preserve history.
For example, the Glenmont Mansion victorian home in New Jersey is actually now the Thomas Edison National Historic Park. This 29 room victorian mansion is where Thomas Edison lived for half of his life.
The “painted ladies of San Francisco” are a popular site to see in the California city.
Even More Victorian Beautiful Homes You Might Enjoy!
Once you start looking at Victorian houses on the internet, you may fall into an abyss of property searches – so many beautiful homes can be found. While we know very little about the properties shown below, you are sure to find a lot of inspiration here if you are looking for ideas to build or refurnish your very own Victorian era inspired style of home!
Take a look at the detail of all the beautiful ornate trim work! This type of wood trim would cost a fortune to recreate today!
Should You Rehab a Victorian Era Home?
The answer is Maybe: They are Both A Dream and a Nightmare as a Fixer-Upper. Most Victorian era homes are over 100 years old, and often are in need of extensive repairs. However, the results are astonishing and beautiful. For the right person who is able to do it, it can be well worth the investment!
This is also one of the reasons you see so many new construction homes that take on the characteristics of the old style architecture is because the replacement and restoration costs often far exceed the cost of building new. Real estate appraisers often have a hard time determining the true value of a historic home built in the 1880s.
If you want to add modern amenities to the home, the costs continue to skyrocket, as it often involved extensive contractor work to update the electrical and plumbing systems.Structural damage is also sometimes a concern depending on the age of the home and the location. Old Victorian style homes in a mining town for example may be subject to mine subsistence which can be devastating for an older home’s foundation.
The costs and time for labor can be enough to turn off many would-be investors from purchasing these properties to rehab and flip – but those who do take the initiative also see the reward, whether as their own home they choose to live in, or as a real estate investor who specializes in rehabbing historical properties.
These style of homes, largely because of their extensive ornate details can be a lot to maintain as well, especially for exterior trim finishes. Many people also choose to update these homes with vinyl siding which is less maintenance.
Modern New Construction in Victorian Style is Quite Common
Because of the costs to rehab a property that is so old, many people instead choose to replicate this style through new construction.
Which Victorian Home Do You Love the Most?
In this gallery we’ve shared over 42 pictures of beautiful Victorian homes. Some of these homes are true authentic properties built in the late 1800s, while others follow the common and popular Edwardian, Queen Ann and Georgian architectural styles common in the time.
Do you have a favorite of all of the houses we’ve shown here? What do you think it would be like to live in a Victorian mansion? Have you ever considered purchasing and rehabbing a Victorian home?
Join the discussion and share your thoughts, ideas, and experiences with Victorian style architecture in the comment section below!