Amidst the different styles of Victorian-era homes, the Queen Anne stands out as being the epitome of homes at that time. Lavish, elaborate, and unique, these fairytale-like homes are a sight to behold. Let’s take a closer look at the history and design of these houses.
What Makes a House a Queen Anne?
The house shown above is a prime example of the Queen Anne style, but what exactly makes it so?
First and most easily noticed about Queen Anne homes is their lopsided appearance. While the main entrance of the above-pictured home is centered between the two columns — and the first and second floor windows align — the turret and extended porch on the house’s left breaks the balance.
Like other Victorian-era styles, an uneven front is a requirement.
Wraparound Porch and Balcony
The porch, lined with balustrades and columns, can be found on almost any home from this time period, but the second story balcony is fairly unique to Queen Anne. The American version of the Queen Anne style was less formal than the British version across the pond — and a welcoming outdoor space that extended the entertainment and social areas of a home is one way to accomplish that goal.
An Eclectic Roofline
Notice that there’s not just one sharp gabled roof atop this Queen Anne; instead, the turret, pediment, chimney, and two gabled roofs combine to create a unique silhouette that broadcasts the home’s unusual structure.
Queen Anne homes aren’t afraid of enlisting dormers and turrets. In fact, a true home in this style isn’t complete without at least one of them. These architectural decisions not only expand usable space, but their visual similarity to castle towers heightens the lavish vibe.
Due to the Industrial Revolution and the resulting easy transportation of materials, Queen Anne made use of several different building materials. Notice in the above photo the use of shingles, clapboard, and wood create the main structure of the home. Columns and chimneys were often made of brick and mortar, and the large windows with colored glass add extra texture.
These homes moved away from neutral and gloomy exteriors, embracing bold reds and blues to truly make them stand out. Again, the Industrial Revolution and the discovery of chemical pigmentation in paint had a large part to play in this, but there was also the natural desire to push back against such traditions.
The most famous example is the Painted Ladies in San Francisco, a row of Victorian houses fashioned in bright colors.
What is a Queen Anne Cottage?
Perhaps a traditional Queen Anne feels like a bit too much; for the subtler and smaller version, look to a Queen Anne Cottage.
These homes feature all the beautiful touches of a Queen Anne without being two or three stories high. The above one and a half-story home is a perfect example; multiple materials used in construction, a unique roofline that accents the asymmetrical nature of the home, and the bright colors are all reminiscent of a full-size Queen Anne. While there isn’t a turret towering above, the side dormer and small balcony encourage the eye to travel upward, meaning it still gives off a larger presence than it truly has.
What is the Difference Between a Queen Anne and a Victorian?
Plenty of people question the difference between Queen Anne homes — with their ostentatious ornamentation and turrets and bright colors — and Victorian homes, with their ostentatious ornamentation and turrets and … bright colors.
See the source of the confusion?
The reality is that Victorian houses are not a style, but rather a reference to an era — specifically, 1837 – 1901, the time of Queen Victoria’s reign over the United Kingdom. During the Victorian era, several home styles developed, and one of those was the Queen Anne style.
A Queen Anne home is therefore a type of Victorian home, and its reputation for being over-the-top has earned it the recognition of being the epitome of Victorian style.
Everything “Loud” is In Fashion
The Queen Anne style is eye-catching and bold, making it perfect for the contemporary homeowner who wants a home that reflects their individuality. Go all-out with a three-story mansion or keep it simple with a cottage; either way, you can’t go wrong.
Mia Zozobrado joined Builders Digital Experience (BDX) in 2019 as a content writer. A graduate of Southwestern University with a degree in English, Mia is passionate about the written word and making connections. Outside of work, Mia also serves on the Board of Directors for the Writers’ League of Texas.