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Video:Is Your House a Queen?

with Jackie Craven

Ever wonder what architectural style you or your neighbor's home is? Learn how to take a close look at what details you should consider when defining a Victorian style home, and how to know if it was built in the elegant Queen Anne style.See Transcript

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Transcript:Is Your House a Queen?

Hi, I'm Jackie Craven, Guide to architecture at About.com with today's featured house style. Don't you just love a Victorian? Big old houses like this one in Schenectady, New York have so much architectural detail.

What is Victorian-Style?

Of course, Victorian isn't actually a style. It's a period of history, from about 1840 to 1900. There are many varieties of Victorian houses. What style is this one? To find out, let's look for clues.

Observing a Victorian

Wow. Look how tall it is. Some Victorians have flat roofs, but the roof on this house is steep. The house looks a bit like a castle with that soaring round tower. And, how about those porches? The porch on the first floor wraps all the way around the side of the house.

I wonder why the designers put the tower and the porch off to one side, instead of directly in the middle. It's as though the designers were rebelling against formal, classical architecture. This house is deliberately complicated and asymmetrical. And talk about complicated! There seems to be a complex texture to the walls. Let's look closer.

Here along the foundation, we see staggered rows of square cedar shingles. But over here, on the porch posts, we find cedar shingles with a ragged mitered cut. The tower is covered with cedar shingles cut in a half cove pattern. Along the side of the house and way up there, in the gable, we see clapboard siding.

There's an interesting porthole window in the center of the gable. Details like that add to the complexity of the house.

Features of a Queen Anne Style Victorian Home

No one detail can define the style of a house. But now that we have a list of important features, we can be pretty sure that this house is a Queen Anne, probably built in the late 1800s.

Queen Anne architecture had little to do with the historical queen or any British royalty. Designers called the style Queen Anne to suggest elegance and glamour. All those patterned shingles? Mass-produced. The Industrial Revolution was picking up steam when this house was built, making all sorts of architectural details affordable.

Moldings like these were made in factories and traveled by train to far corners of the USA. The Queen Anne style lasted through the early 1900s, and even today builders find inspiration in Queen Anne details.

Even if your home is brand new, it might have a tower, a wrap- around porch, or some other feature borrowed from the Queen Anne style.

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