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HIP Home > Tips > Architectural Tips >

Victorian

Painted ladies

In San Francisco, these ornate homes (and the city is filled with them) have earned the nickname "Painted Ladies." The style itself is homage to excess and to the fussy and frilly age that was the long reign of Britain's Queen Victoria. Victorian homes have wonderful, eclectic personalities. Odd collections of shapes and gingerbread design elements combine to give the buildings a storybook aspect.

Whimsical paintings

The diverse shapes and decorations on the outside of the typical Victorian home just lend themselves to imaginative paint jobs. Many Victorian owners take advantage of that fact and let the mansion-like buildings explode with color. There are chartreuse Victorians and lilac colored Victorians and Victorians with arrays of color that defy counting.

Retain its originality

Modernization is always tempting when one owns one of these flamboyant examples of the architect's art. However, it is a temptation to be avoided. Not only that, but if a previous owner has stripped away some of the fussy details in the name of modernity, it's probably a good idea to think about restoration. Victorians are quirky, with their decorative gingerbread, fancy stained glass, unexpected stairways and strange mixture of styles, but the removal or alteration of these elements can lower the value of the building.

Restoring a Victorian house to its original glory can be a satisfying hobby. A number of the decorative pieces can be reconstructed with simple tools and there are also suppliers who specialize in hardware and other elements for Victorians.
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