Evoking the candy-decorated gingerbread house that Hansel and Gretel found in the woods, Victorian architecture had its basis in more practical matters. New building techniques and advances in industrialization enabled builders to design fanciful, highly adorned homes that were limited only by the imagination. The gingerbread trim we commonly associate with Victorian home plans could be mass-produced thanks to the development of the steam-powered scroll saw and lathe, making it affordable, accessible, and nearly ubiquitous through the late 19th century.
Victorian house plans tend to be large and irregular, featuring a multitude of bays and roof elements at varying heights. One or more porches provide quiet places to sit and visit with the neighbors. Every opportunity to add decoration is taken, with turned posts and spindles dressing the porch, elaborate brackets and bargeboards under the eaves, and stickwork or shingled patterns on the upper walls. Victorian homes are traditionally painted in exuberant color schemes.
Typically two stories, with steeply pitched and complex roof lines
Gingerbread ornamentation adorns the exterior
Porches, balconies, towers, and turrets are common