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The lavish VICTORIAN STYLE — with its ever-present, complicated, swirling floral patterns — got its name in Britain during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837–1901). In the United States the Victorian style era lasted longer, stretching to World War I.  The Industrial Revolution made mass-produced goods more available to Americans, and soon decorative objects and furnishings could adorn the interiors of homes.  A respectable Victorian home was decorated floor to ceiling with artful objects, rich fabrics and assorted bric-a-brac that flaunted style, taste and affluence.

Similarly, the architecture exploded with embellishment.  Within Victorian style architecture, we see distinct sub-categories: Second Empire (approximately 1855–1885); Romanesque Revival (approximately 1870–1900); Queen Anne (approximately 1870–1910); and Stick Style/Shingle Style (approximately 1870–1905).

A Second Empire house has standard features: it’s double-pitched mansard roofline (often decorated with ornamental iron), floor-length windows and bay windows along the side.  The popularity of Second Empire architecture waned at the end of Napoleon III’s reign.

Look to the row houses and brownstones of Victorian era cities and it’s likely you’ll see examples of Romanesque Revival (aka Richardsonian Romanesque—named after architect Henry Hobson Richardson.) In examples of Romanesque Revival homes belonging to the wealthy, features like thick, impenetrable walls, corner-tower lookouts, turrets and tall, half-round bays remind us immediately of a castle.

Queen Anne style houses tend to best represent what we think of as quintessential Victorian.  Developed by British architect Richard Norman Shaw (1831–1912), the Americanized version of Queen Anne style homes took the established style and added complexity and detail.  Decorative woodwork, additional projections, overhanging stories, gables and towers, fancy brickwork, and terracotta insets made these homes stand out.

Stick Style and Shingle Style are usually found on larger “picturesque” buildings.  Look for exposed roof trusses, rafters, and a raised “stick work” pattern on the walls, accomplished by arranging the boards vertically and diagonally.  Wooden shingles, continuously overlapping in plain rows, create the shingled “skin” for roofs and walls.  Shingle Style houses were first built in New England as mansion-sized “cottages” for the wealthy.

Browse Nostalgic Warehouse™ Products That Fit Your Style

Meadows long plate
with Crystal Meadows knob
Egg & Dart long plate
with Crystal Egg & Dart knob
Classic rosette
with Crystal Victorian knob
Victorian long plate
with Victorian Crystal knob
New York long plate
with Oval Clear Crystal knob
Victorian Plate with Parlour Crystal Lever in Polished Brass / Unlacquered Brass
Victorian long plate
with Parlour Crystal lever
Prairie long plate
with Rose Porcelain knob
Cottage short plate
with Oval Fluted Crystal knob
Egg & Dart long plate
with Egg & Dart knob
Egg & Dart long plate
with Crystal knob
Meadows long plate
with Meadows knob
Meadows long plate
with Homestead knob
Classic rosette
with Crystal knob
New York long plate
with Waldorf Crystal knob
Classic rosette
with Victorian knob
Victorian long plate
with Rose Porcelain knob
Victorian long plate
with Homestead knob
Victorian long plate
with Victorian knob