The appeal of historic Victorian homes is unmistakable -- graceful old houses exude a strong sense of community and stability. However, if you're like most consumers, you don't find the associated costs of purchasing an old home part of the appeal. Energy costs are often much higher in vintage construction than in their new counterparts, and necessary repairs are far more common. Fortunately, if there's something about those lovely old homes that you just can't forget, there are ways to get that historic Victorian vibe from a brand new home without the associated hassles -- following are five of them.
Porches and Balconies
Virtually all Victorian homes were originally built with large porches, and many included balconies as well. If you want your new home to have a Victorian flavor, talk to your architect about adding a wraparound porch. If that isn't feasible, consider having a front porch installed. You can make your porch look more authentic by using old school furnishings and decorations of the type that were used in the original homes of the Victorian era.
Use lots of wicker, potted plants, and floral fabric, for instance, if you're seeking to add Victorian accents to your porch. Nothing quite says "new house" quite a loudly as empty porches and other exterior living spaces -- after all today's families tend to spend more time on decks and patios located on the back of their homes, but those living in the Victorian era spend considerable time on their front porches -- and perhaps your family will revive this gracious tradition if you've got an aesthetically appealing and comfortable front porch to enjoy.
Gingerbread and Gables
Gingerbread and gables are unmistakable identifying aspects of Victorian architecture, so be sure to ask your builder about your options for these features if you have decided to have a new home custom built. If you are looking for an existing new property with these elements, let your real estate agent know that you're interested in seeing properties built in neo-Victorian style -- this has become a popular style in recent years. You can also add accents such as awnings to the gables to help complete the Victorian look after you purchase the house, and don't forget about Victorian-inspired exterior light fixtures.
Period Interior Fixtures
Interior fixtures such as sweeping staircases, fireplaces, ceiling medallions, hardwood floors, crystal chandeliers, oil paintings, floral-patterned wallpaper, door, cabinet, and window hardware, and other classic interior fixtures will enhance the overall Victorian ambiance of your new home. You can even opt for Victorian-style switchplates and faucets, and naturally, no home can be a true representation of Victorian living without at least one iconic claw-foot bathtub.
The Victorian theme of your home shouldn't stop at the front door -- furnish your home with authentic antiques from the Victorian period or look for well-done replicas. You may be surprised to find that genuine Victorian antiques aren't necessarily out of your price range -- mass manufacturing entered the furniture scene during Queen Victoria's reign, creating a vast amount of affordable furnishings, and much of it has survive to this day. Look for Chesterfield sofas, dining room sideboards, intricate hutches, ornately carved highboys, and brass bedsteads.
Classic Victorian Gardens
No matter how well the builder has replicated authentic Victorian style when constructing a new home, it won't look finished unless the yard and garden area reflects the traditions of the time. Perennial borders were a hallmark of Victorian landscaping, and fortunately, they aren't difficult to establish. Although they take about three years to fully develop, you can always fill in the gaps with flowering annuals until that time. Winding garden paths, benches, birdbaths, statuary, sundials, large planters, and fountains are all foundations of the grounds of Victorian homes.