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Australian Architecture Series: Victorian architecture homes

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Victorian architecture

The Victorian style is one of the most famous architectural designs for those who want a classical home. Although the Victorian style is typical in older houses, it is possible to emulate Victorian architecture and incorporate it into your home through renovations. Before jumping into a home renovation project, it is critical to know what a Victorian style home is to appreciate how special your home renovation project is and what you can do to make it a success. 

What are Victorian homes?

Victorian houses gained popularity during the mid-to-late 1800s when Queen Victoria ruled the United Kingdom. Upper-class white citizens often owned Victorian houses during the said period. The presence of Victorian houses in Australia coincided with the expansion of colonies in Australia. You can still find classic examples of Victorian architecture in places throughout New South Wales, Tasmania, Victoria, and South Australia. 

Victorian architecture

Characteristics of Victorian architecture in Australia

Roofs

Victorian architecture has steep and gabled roofs. The roofs are often made of corrugated iron, terracotta tiles, or slate. They feature eaves with decorative brackets.

Towers, turrets, or dormers

Turrets are another distinct feature of Victorian architecture. Medieval era castles are the originators of turrets, and the ones you can see in Victorian houses are decorative pieces that mimic the full-scale towers of castles. Although turrets are common in Victorian houses, they are most recognizable in Queen Anne Revival style houses. 

Victorian architecture

The presence of towers in Victorian houses is because builders experimented with asymmetrical design elements. This resulted in the round or octagonal towers in Victorian houses. Although dormers are present in various architectural designs, dormer windows are also present in most Victorian homes.

Decorative woodwork

Builders of Victorian homes used decorative woodwork to put their stamp on the houses they built. They use elaborate house trims to transform simple houses into unique homes. They also use moulded timberwork and decorative plaster ceilings to give a house a unique look. 

Victorian architecture

Cast iron or picket fencing

Installing fences is one of the ways that well-to-do owners of Victorian houses protect their properties. While some favour picket fences, those who can afford them went for cast-iron fences. Cast iron fences have decorative laces that act as adornments.

Victorian fence

Victorian architecture styles and design ideas

Dormer windows

If you want to give your house a Victorian look, talk to your building designer about adding dormer windows. Dormer windows are roof windows set vertically on a sloping roof. Dormer windows extend the useable space of your attic, so this is an excellent home renovation project if you want a more functional attic. The additional window lets in more natural light and makes your attic brighter and look roomier. Adding a dormer window also lets in more air, so you have a well-ventilated attic that you can use as a home office or an additional bedroom. 

A dormer window has its roof, and you can ask for advice from your building designer about the type of roof that will look great with your home. You can have a flat, hipped, pointed, arched, or ornamented dormer roof. 

Bay windows

A bay window is a window with three sections and projects or bows outwards from the main house. The centre window section is a picture window, while those on the sides are smaller windows. A bay window makes a house more appealing from the outside and is a common fixture in Victorian architecture. 

Adding a bay window to your house can help improve natural light intake and increase ventilation. Bay windows increase the useable space in your home because it protrudes from the house wall. You can convert a bay window into a reading nook or use it as an additional storage option if your house has limited storage space. 

Rendered brick walls

This is a renovation project with a huge impact on how your house exteriors look. Bricks became popular building materials during the Victorian era, and you can use them to convert your house exteriors to mimic those of Victorian houses. 

What’s great about this renovation idea is there is no need to demolish your existing wall. Rendering can cover the existing wall and make it more durable. Rendering can extend the life of your existing wall because it gets an added layer of protection against moisture and the elements.

brick wall

Brick rendering is more affordable because it mimics the look of a brick wall without you having to buy actual bricks. You can use brick render not just on your house exteriors but on the interiors too. It is also possible to render your driveway or the pathway on your garden or yard. 

Decorative woodwork

As mentioned earlier, decorative woodwork is a hallmark of Victorian architecture, and you can use them to give your house interiors a Victorian look. You can replace the handrails of your stairs with a handrail with decorative carvings. You can also use decorative woodwork to make your ceiling more appealing. Additionally, you can use decorative wood trim on your porch or veranda to give it that quintessential Victorian look. 

woodwork

Tower and turret

This is the most ambitious among the renovation ideas on this list and is guaranteed to turn heads when completed. Adding a turret or a tower can dramatically increase the value of your home. Be sure to consult an expert building designer or a draftsman to make sure that your house’s foundation can support the addition of a tower or turret. 

If you’re thinking of adding a tower to your house, the most common area is the one above the staircase because the said space is often empty. Upon completion, a tower above your staircase is an ideal location for a grand crystal chandelier that takes the elegance of your house to the next level. On the other hand, a turret is an excellent addition to a corner room as it extends the space upwards and makes a room look bigger. 

For other design ideas, check out our Inspiration Gallery and Trends page to access thousands of home themes and styles and hundreds of blogs and design guides.

Conclusion

Although Victorian houses are no longer as common as they used to be, many homeowners still want to convert their houses into Victorian homes because of how stately and elegant they look. Victorian architecture has a timeless and commanding look that makes a house stand out. A Victorian home also commands a higher resale value. 

If you have a modern home but want to make it look Victorian, reach out to Superdraft and we will help you develop a plan to transform your house. We will match you with an expert building designer or draftsman to help you get that Victorian style house you’ve always wanted. Sign up to Superdraft today and we will give you a free design quote to get the ball rolling on your home renovation project!

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