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Video:History of the Gothic Revival Style Home

with Fred Abler

Gothic Revival home design derived from medieval Europe and became popular in American neighborhoods. Watch this About.com video to learn more about Gothic Revival homes, their common characteristics, and value in the real estate market.See Transcript

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Transcript:History of the Gothic Revival Style Home

Hi, I'm Fred Abler, Graduate Architect and CEO of FormFonts.com. I'm here today for About.com to talk with you about the characteristics of Gothic Revival style homes.

Gothic Revival Homes Derived from Medieval Design

Inspired by the architecture of medieval Europe, the Gothic Revival movement started in England around 1840, and continued through 1870. The romantic appeal of the style helped it to gain momentum in the states around the same time, where it was quite popular in the Northeast, particularly for country and estate homes, as well as churches.

Building Materials and Construction for Gothic Revival Homes

Much of the Gothic Revival architecture in North America would also fall under the category of Carpenter Gothic, meaning that it's constructed of wood, rather than masonry. The reason for this is that wood was a more readily available and affordable building material in the mid- to late-19th Century. The invention of the scroll saw around the same time also made it possible to embellish these home with heavy ornamentation, such as gingerbread trim.Many Victorian homes have Gothic Revival elements, and some were indeed built in the Gothic Revival style. The latter are often referred to as High Victorian Gothic.

Features of the Gothic Revival Home Style

Gothic Revival homes tend to be two or more stories and have the following attributes: a steeply pitched roof; steep cross gables; arched or pointed windows often made of leaded glass; pointed arches above doors and windows; ornate scroll work along the eaves or gabled edges; prominent and/or grouped chimneys; and one-story porches. The floor plans of these homes have sitting and living rooms at the front of the home on either side of a central hallway, which usually leads to the back of the home where the kitchen and the dining room are located; bedrooms and bathrooms are typically on the upper levels. It's not what you'd call an "open" floor plan, which may be a deterrent for some, but if you're looking for privacy in each area of the house, and don't mind regularly climbing a full flight of stairs, the layout will suit you just fine.

If you're planning to purchase a Gothic Revival home, it's likely to be a solid investment. However, you will be acquiring a home that is well over a hundred years old, so give ample consideration to the renovations it may need, and the ongoing upkeep that'll be required.

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