The term "Victorian" refers to the reign of Queen Victoria in the mid to late 19th century, and this architectural style was popular during and after this time.
Victorian homes have a distinct charm, decorated with geometric, machine-cut ornamentation in a way that resembles a quaint gingerbread house, such as the “Painted Ladies” of San Francisco.
Victorian homes are often tall and narrow with unique and complex rooflines. This vertical emphasis allowed them to be built in dense city neighborhoods where they were designed to impress.
The popularity of the Victorian style spread quickly throughout the British Isles and in North America, made possible by the Industrial Revolution. The development of new construction technology at this time rendered fanciful spindles and elaborate trim work by machine rather than by hand, speeding up the process and cutting down on costs considerably. This, combined with the affordability of wood and steel at the time allowed the ornate style to spread to middle and working-class families who were able to construct fanciful homes of their own.
With projecting circular turrets, tiny balconies, wraparound porches, and ornamental facades, Victorian homes often feel like mini castles or Gothic mansions. Victorians are effusive with charm, painted in multiple colors with details and millwork accents to spare. These homes invite you to have tea in bay window nooks or curl up with a book in a brightly painted turret.
A common uniting factor of the New England Colonial home is a prominently featured front door, often accentuated in some way with a decorative crown—or pediment—supported by pilasters. This statement-making front entry may also be projected forward to create an entry porch supported by slender columns. Typically, the entrance is positioned at the center of the home, with a symmetrical facade extending to either side.
Often found along Main Street in many small American towns, Colonial homes evoke a sense of Americana like apple pie and hot dogs on the Fourth of July.