There are all types of old house enthusiasts, I personally prefer old colonials, but I don’t think any group loves their old houses more than those who have been seduced by homes of the Victorian Era. I have been on many blogs and websites devoted to Victorian homes and their restorations. I found there to be a couple of common threads that most of them shared. Almost all of the sites were about a couple, usually a husband and wife, who purchased the Victorian house, and in most cases owning a Victorian home was a life long dream of at least one of the owners. The other common thread was that just about every couple set out to restore their old Victorian house with little or no experience in construction. Many of them did most of the work themselves, and learned as they went, and if the “after” pictures on the sites are any indication, they learned quickly and well.
The two most detailed are about a Victorian rowhouse in Baltimore, Maryland, and an 1875 Victorian in New Jersey. Both of these sites have outstanding pictures showing their entire restoration process. They go room to room and floor to floor, with plenty of detailed before and after pictures. The husband in the Baltimore Victorian ended up writing a book about the restoration, and the rowhouse was featured in This Old House Magazine. The husband in the New Jersey Victorian enjoyed his restoration so much that he started his own restoration contracting business.
There was one site that was simply dedicated to Victorian houses everywhere, and the gentleman has pictures of Victorians from all over the country. One thought that I found interesting was that most Victorian era homes built in the eastern part of the country were 3 story, those in the midwest were usually 2 story, and west coast Victorian era homes were often 1 story. I saw another other very nice site concerning a 1890’s Victorian restoration in Illinois, where the couple were doing just about everything themselves. The pictures of the kitchen construction highlighted both of their efforts, and they are doing very professional work. The man of the house built all of the kitchen cabinets, and the lady of the house was doing all of the tile work.
Speaking of restorations, I wanted to give a quick reminder of two Old House Fairs that are quickly aproaching. The Old House Fair in Decatur, Georgia is this coming Saturday, March 6th. The Queen Ann Victorian pictured at the beginning of the blog is located in Atlanta, Georgia, and there are pictures of the lovely interior restoration under the “your house” heading on the Baltimore rowhouse site. The Old House Fair in Philadelphia is also coming up fairly soon, April 3rd.