When it comes to restoring homes nothing excites me more than being able to put my hands onto historic construction. These older homes show character and class. Unlike these newer homes which are plain and have a “cookie cutter effect”. Meaning every house looks the same. If someone were to ask me what my favorite type of home to remodel is, I would respond with Victorian Houses.
Starting with the architecture of windows in a Victorian home, what stands out most to myself is the windows. The arched structure made of wood, often protruding from the home in what is known as a bay window. The original glass of these homes often is wavy due to the imperfect production methods used in the day. Little metal push-points were used to hold the glass in, followed by a bead of putty. After all of this, the windows were finally painted. Most often with a pure white, making these some of the most gorgeous hand made wood windows in existence.
Dormers, or a window that projects from a slanted roof, and turreted roofs were often apart of the structure of Victorian Homes. From a roofing stand point this made things difficult, but as far as beauty goes it added to the luxurious quality and charming feeling you get when you look at the house. These Dormers and Turrets were often on the third floor, as many Victorian homes all had 3 floors.
When you enter into a Victorian home some of the first things you may notice are the crown moldings around the ceilings. All of these hand carved in the original days. Hours upon hours went into the quality of building these houses. Gaudy staircases typically spiraled up the home leaving new comers wondering what is around the bend. A lot of hard work went into these homes.
Two unique features still stand out today that are not used like they once were. Plaster walls and wood flooring. The textures plastered walls were easy to clean, but when damaged difficult to repair. As a contractor I despise repairing plaster walls. But when finished, they are beautiful and easy to paint and clean. The hardwood and dark colored wood flooring makes me think of something out of the renaissance era. The tongue and groove system used to hold flooring together is nothing like it was way back when. The floors were just solid boards nailed to the beams. The notorious creaking sent chills down the most courageous individuals.
Whether it be the windows, the door ways, the crown molding, flooring, or anything else that makes Victorian homes unique. I as a general contractor love working on these homes. They hold history. There is a story to tell in every single one of them, and you never know what you are going to find when you lurk around that ancient dark corner.