The word Victorian seems to be thrown around a bit when describing house plans. Characters in books and movies constantly seem to be living in Victorian houses, but what does Victorian really mean today?
When you hear the word Victorian used as an adjective, it describes something that dates back to the reign of Queen Victoria. Many notable changes occurred during Queen Victoria’s reign, including architecture itself. Today, a Victorian house plan is patterned after the 19th and 20th century styles of architecture, including gabled and hipped rooflines, bay windows and a generous use of decorative trimmings.
There are notable differences between today’s Victorian house plans and the Victorian houses erected in the 19th century. For instance, a historical Victorian house plan wouldn’t include a garage, mostly because cars hadn’t been invented meaning there was no need for a garage. Chimneys were also a common feature in historical houses, because houses were heated by a fireplace. Most often, a fireplace would be in every room. Today, Victorian house can be found without chimneys since house are warmed by the use of central heating.
One common feature in Victorian house plans are sash windows and bay windows. Plate glass arrived in 1832, five years before Queen Victoria took the throne. True Victorian windows had six and later four paned windows with a vertical glazing bar down the middle. Bay windows were also a feature of Victorian houses. If you want something that is truly Victorian inspired, then you should consider decorating around your windows exterior.
Of course, technology today is different, and while we don’t need a fireplace in every single room, the decorative look of a Victorian house plan is a draw for some people. With its asymmetrical facade, decorative porches, and steeply pitched roofs, whether you want a house out of the history books or something with a bit of a modern edge, a Victorian house plan is usually a good choice. Check out our collection of Victorian house plans for functional, decorative takes on this popular and timeless design.