With towers, turrets, gables, and trim, a Victorian house makes a distinct statement. It says quaintness. Craftsmanship. Grace. By definition, it also says history.
A Victorian house “speaks of the time that it was built and how people lived there,” says Celia Dunn of Celia DunnSotheby’s International Realty. In Savannah, Ga., where her firm is based, Dunn says the historic district offers an excellent sampling of desirable, Victorian- style houses. In the U.S., Old Louisville in Kentucky and the seaside Cape May district in New Jersey have a large assortment of Victorians. Of course, London is also replete with these gems.
Popularized during and after Queen Victoria’s reign (1837–1901) and the Industrial Revolution, Victorian architecture is a term that includes Gothic Revival, Queen Anne, and Italianate styles. What these have in common is charm: from ornate porches and balconies to arched or Gothic windows, ornamental wrought iron, asymmetrical facades, hardwood floors, and carved fireplace mantels.
And according to Spence Kass, principal of architectural firm Kass & Associates, based in Philadelphia, Pa., these properties are easily adaptable to modern living. “We are preserving the main rooms of the house, and combining a lot of very small spaces to make grander rooms,” Kass says.
The key is maintaining the integrity of these houses. “There’s a real warmth about living in a Victorian home,” adds Dunn.
Claudia Gryvatz Copquin is a New York-based journalist.
Taroona - Tasmania
Hillgrove is one of Hobart’s most recognized historic homes, located directly across from the Shot Tower and Glen Albyn Estate in beautiful Taroona. Built in the 1860s, this mid-Victorian house is perfectly positioned on 11 acres to capture stunning views of the Derwent estuary and Storm Bay. The property is substantial, with three levels of space, five bedrooms, and three bathrooms, combined with more than 26 meters of verandah to fully appreciate the location.