With its intricate architecture and intricate embellishments high-end British Victorian architecture conveys a distinct feeling of luxurious. To experience the elegance of this design for themselves middle-class Americans in the time were motivated to seek an alternative that was more practical. It was the time to embrace the popular Victorian style. It is built with a more imaginative approach and a more eclectic look to design, folk Victorian houses display some of the same decorative features of the high-end Victorian houses, with a few key variations.
Affordable embellishments for the Masses
Folk Victorian architecture thrived between 1880 and 1910, which put it a bit behind the Victorian architectural style of Britain. It was an affordable and practical alternative to the lavish Italianate as well as Queen Anne styles popular during the Victorian period.
These types of homes can be all over across the United States. When the style was popularized across the eastern part of America, the style grew rapidly westward due to advances in the woodworking tools as well as mass production as well as the railway system. Millwork that was pre-fabricated, such as posts, moldings and trim became readily accessible and was able to be shipped quickly by rail to lumberyards throughout the country, providing the public access to this material. Homeowners weren’t limited to the work of local craftsmen using traditional tools.
The popular Victorian style was popular with the newly settled population located in western areas. The homeowners were seeking affordable, flexible ways to decorate their residences.
Many of the homes that are considered to be folk Victorian in the present were simple houses constructed with the traditional style of their area. As the Victorian style was popular the owners of these homes modernized them with Victorian-style trims that were available at almost every mill for lumber.
The same system of railroads that transported millwork to homeowners was also benefiting from the fashion and saw stations, depots and similar structures appearing in the folk Victorian fashion as the railroad lines grew.
In 1910, the awe-inspiring appeal of the traditional Victorian style waned, and the Craftsman style started to take the lead.
Folk Victorian Characteristics: Simplicity with Flair
In Britain the magnificent Victorian houses of the dominant Queen Anne, Italianate, and Gothic Revival styles were the homes of the wealthy classes. These homes are distinguished for their asymmetrical designs, with a elaborate, multi-room floor plans and their numerous towers bay windows, numerous gables as well as second-story terraces.
American folk Victorians On the other hand was within the easy reach for the common citizen. Folk houses were their foundation the folk Victorians tend to be smaller and more simple in style with simple rooflines. Their silhouettes are symmetrical and have only one gable facing the front. Victorian-style ornaments were added to the basic shape, and it’s those ornaments that make the form unique.
makes a house stand out as a traditional Victorian.
The ornaments used are often influenced by Queen Anne and Italianate styles and occasionally, Gothic Revival details. The front porch on the ground floor is the ultimate symbol of the style and is usually the most decorated area of the home. It was during this time that the traditional American front porch became a reality.
The most popular porch supports are turned (balusters) or post that have simple beveled (beveled) edges and posts that are embellished with carvings, and additional particulars. The supports are further enhanced by friezes on top, balustrades in between posts, as well as intricately cut spandrels at the upper corners.
Lines of cornice, the overhanging eaves and gable-ends are cut with decorative millwork. Door and window moldings, when they are utilized typically are only a simple header pediment. This simple way of molding is another element that separates the traditional Victorian architectural styles apart from their British equivalent, which has intricate molding.
Exteriors of typical Victorian home is typically clad with clapboard or board-andbatten cladding. However, chipped shakes or shingles are also well-known. At their peak period, Victorian homes typically featured vibrant color schemes that were typical of Victorian homes. Nowadays, many homes have been painted in polychrome designs with more muted Victorian shades like dark green, butter yellow and gray.
Homes as diverse as their Owners
Although all Victorian homes share certain elements they share, like their intricate trim however, they also were affected by the design trends which varied from region area. In spite of these commonalities, however there is no way to say that they are identical, and their uniqueness is a major part of their appeal.
There are floor plans that differ like second-story balconies, as well as bay windows however it’s the diversity of features that truly set each house apart. The traditional Victorians were constructed on plans from the pattern books or plan books that architectural firms and lumber mills created to assist homeowners and builders collect ideas. Each book provided anything from a few plans to over 100.
Although they were thorough however, they weren’t always categorized millwork by designs, like Queen Anne or Gothic Revival. This made it more difficult to choose the right pieces to achieve a style that was similar to a fashionable Victorian style.
When homeowners and builders built millwork into their existing homes, they had many different trim and molding details options to choose from. While some adhered to the plans book’s recommendations precisely some others mixed and matched different books or incorporated their own designs. With the help of skilled craftsmen The results were usually astonishingly unique. Competition among neighbors to build the most extravagant house encouraged the imagination.
Mills also sold complete kits of porch elements, however the work included was not always consistent with one particular design. DIYers and amateur builder who relied on the bundles typically resulted in a diverse Victorian style.
More than just decorative structures The folk Victorian houses are a symbol of the ability to adapt and self-expression resulting from increasing industrial development. Recognizing the unique mix of plain designs and elaborate detailing in these houses will provide you with an understanding of an era of prosperity in America’s past.