When people picture a Victorian house, they often imagine a brightly colored doll house, with fanciful and embellished architectural details. Actually, the term "Victorian" refers to the architectural styles that emerged during the 63-year reign of Queen Victoria. While the Queen Anne style (with its heavy ornamentation, gabled roofs and bright paint themes) mark one of America's favorite Victorian homes, it is often surprising to learn that there are eight architectural styles that are officially classified as Victorian.
Why did these ornate designs become popular? The period from 1830 to 1910 ushered in impressive innovation-and wealth. Homes were no longer strictly utilitarian, but an expression of the people who lived inside. Homebuilders enjoyed the creativity of building turrets, decorative gables and wraparound porches with ornate spindle work.
In the mid-1800s, paint was limited to natural pigments and linseed oil. Therefore, most early Victorian exterior designs were painted in earthy, muted colors like reds and browns. In the 1880s, synthetic pigments were introduced, and Victorian homes were painted in vivid purples, greens and blues. Distinctive architectural details were highlighted with complementary hues, and extravagant Queen Ann Victorian homes were known by their three-and four-color paint schemes.
Today, Victorian homeowners have a never-ending palette of colors to capture the right personality for their home. To help ensure Victorian house designs stand the test of time, use products with a proven track record for superior performance and durability. LP® SmartSide® Trim & Siding allows homeowners to mimic the look of traditional wood, yet assure longevity due to its engineered wood technology that protects against hail, wind, fungal decay and termites.
When Stewart and Linda Herman purchased a lovely, but tired Victorian home in Minneapolis, Minnesota to renovate, they used none other than LP® SmartSide® products to help bring their dream to life. The couple took on an ambitious goal—preserving the Victorian home’s original aesthetic built in 1907 while achieving net-zero status. The Hermans worked with Marc Sloot, senior associate at SALA Architects, to make it happen.
Sloot ultimately recommended LP® SmartSide® Smooth Texture Lap Siding for the undertaking. “By using LP® SmartSide® siding, we could embrace and enhance the beauty that was already there.” In addition to keeping its original aesthetic intact, Sloot notes the product’s ability to stand up to the harsh northern winters was a key factor in his decision.
In the end, the Hermans' Victorian remodel far exceeded their expectations for reviving its original architectural design, thanks in part to the use of LP SmartSide. "What Marc achieved was a 100 percent traditional look," said Stewart Herman. "It looks like a brand-new 1907 house."
If your Victorian home could use a makeover, take the first step by visiting our Colors & Inspiration page to get the creative juices flowing.