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Beautiful and ornate, Victorian architecture has a long, storied history in the United States. With the many historic homes and buildings in Galveston, there are plenty of examples of Victorian architecture right on the beautiful Gulf Coast. Their survival is in part due to the care taken by the owners to preserve the intricate historical details key to Victorian buildings. Learn more about this ornate style below.
Victorian architecture, and the Victorian era at large, gets its name from Britain’s Queen Victoria, whose 63-year reign from 1837 to 1901 was longer than any of her predecessors. This lengthy span of time introduced many new architectural styles that broadly fit together under the Victorian umbrella: Italianate, Queen Anne, Second Empire, Gothic Revival and Romanesque are just a few. We’ll discuss the distinctive features you’ll find with Victorian architecture farther down. For now, let’s talk about the history behind this style.
Victorian architecture started as a nod to medieval Gothic style, which flourished throughout Europe from the 12th to 16th centuries. It picked up influences from across the world and history, with Italian, French, Tudor and even Egyptian details. What Neo-gothic style started in the homes of the wealthy, the Industrial Revolution brought to everyday homes. With housing materials more affordable for people from all walks of life, ornate homes became commonplace. Until the early twentieth century brought the more simplistic Arts and Crafts movement to American architecture, Victorian pomp and circumstance held sway over homes and broader style trends.
Galveston is home to many historic Victorian-era homes, from the 1838 Greek Revival Michel B. Menard house to the 1859 Ashton Villa done in the Italianate style. With so many homes available to the public or for private events, it makes it easy to gather inspiration for your own historic home.
Victorian architecture was entirely based on the thoroughly Victorian notion that your home should value beauty over practicality. This idea permeated fashion, furniture and, of course, Victorians’ homes.
Some of the common characteristics of Victorian buildings are:
Though there is plenty of beauty to be found in Victorian homes, there are some downsides that come with living in a historic home. Victorians used materials in their homes that are no longer in use due to updated safety standards or building regulations. That goes with the territory of living in an older home! Fortunately, customization options in modern home renovation materials mean your home can still look like a picture from a time long past.
Though Victorians were known for designing smaller interior spaces, they also made use of a product of the Industrial Revolution: larger plate glass in detailed windows and doors, which would not have been affordable in earlier eras. Today, filling your home with plenty of bright natural light through an etched-glass entry door or large picture windows can help compensate for those nooks and crannies.
Victorian homes also have plenty of interesting, asymmetrical details that make custom windows provided by a reputable window replacement company ideal. Custom windows can be placed in those unique spots on your home to provide natural light without compromising on the Victorian aesthetic.
Our window and door designs are purposely versatile to help our customers design their dream homes. With historic homes like Victorians comes plenty of updating and overhauls of materials that no longer serve your home or family. We carry an extensive selection of traditional designs that will enhance your home without taking away from that classic Victorian design. Get in touch for your free estimate today!