You may hear that a certain neighborhood has Queen Anne architecture, or hear someone say they have a Queen Anne house. It sounds incredibly regal and important, but do you know what this architectural style looks like?
Queen Anne architecture was trendy during an era named for a whole different Queen of England, but this style came to help define the look of the era and has become an example of the best of design during the time. What is it that makes this style unique and what makes it stand out from other designs?
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What Does Queen Anne Architecture Look Like?
The Queen Anne style of design was popular in the last years of the Victorian Era, from the 1880s to 1905. Buildings designed in the Queen Anne style have steep roofs with irregular, or asymmetrical, shapes. The roofs have patterned shingles. Queen Anne home styles usually have a big bay window in front as well.
These homes have big bay windows and lots of ornamentation. Queen Anne homes have gables, dormers, and sometimes towers and turrets. Gables are triangular sections of the outer walls formed by the sloping roof. Dormers are windows that stick out from the sloping section of a roof. Dormers have their own small roofs. They add a lot of detail and interest to the roof life and bring added embellishment to the overall home design. Queen Anne style is all about embellishment.
Queen Anne homes have front porches and sometimes, a wraparound porch. Queen Anne house and building designs are asymmetrical and have many decorative features. This architecture is usually built-in brick or clapboard with decorative wood shingles, ornamental wood railings, and other little touches. Often, a Queen Anne house will have a stained glass or decorative glass windows to add extra style to the design.
How Was Queen Anne Architecture Created?
The Queen Anne style originated in England, where Queen Anne once reigned. However, the name of the style is a bit confusing because Anne was on England’s throne from 1702 to 1714. Queen Victoria was Queen of England when the Queen Anne architecture style was popular, more than 100 years after Queen Anne’s death. Queen Anne architecture is a type of Victorian-style architecture, truly the last hurrah for this era that lasted for several decades and influenced British and American culture, art, and design.
Queen Anne is a type of Victorian architecture. Of all the different design styles that occurred during the Victorian era, the Queen Anne style is distinct. This style is asymmetrical and complicated, full of different details and features.
The Queen Anne style was created by Richard Normal Shaw, along with other British architects, in the late 19th century. It was named Queen Anne style because it was influenced by the late Reinassance style that was popular during Queen Anne’s reign in England. The style became popular in the U.S. thanks to pattern books and soon, Queen Anne architecture became an American style.
In the U.S., the style evolved to feature ornate woodwork and fancy trim. In America, Queen Anne architecture was used for houses, churches, schools, and commercial buildings. This style is also known as the American Queen Anne style because it quickly spread through the U.S. and became an incredibly popular design choice. American Queen Anne home and building designs made their way into suburban, urban and rural environments as people embraced the pretty, embellished look of these interesting homes.
One of the earliest Queen Anne style buildings in the U.S. was the Watts-Sherman House in Newport, Rhode Island. The house was built in 1874, designed by H. H. Richardson. Notable architects in Philadelphia, Boston, New York, and San Francisco began designing their own Queen Anne styles.
The Queen Anne style could be used for homes of any size, which made it a versatile style that quickly gained popularity. The style was customizable, adaptable, and could be built in brick, stone, or wood.
Queen Anne building designs can still be found in historic neighborhoods and downtown areas. The next time you’re in an area with historical buildings, keep your eyes peeled for the distinctive features that create Queen Anne style architecture.
Going Inside a Queen Anne Home
Inside, Queen Anne houses usually have paneled walls, wooden staircases, fireplaces with decorative towels, and built-in shelves. Often, Queen Anne homes are extremely embellished on the inside, as they are on the outside.
Hand-carved woodwork, ornamentation, and embellishments are normal for the inside of Queen Anne homes. You can still find these homes all over the U.S. So if you get a chance to go inside an American Queen Anne, take it!
Keep your eyes peeled for all the little details and extra touches that were added to the architecture inside these homes and you’ll see why this is such a stunning example of the Victorian house movement that swept the U.S. during Queen Victoria’s time on the throne.
End of a Reign
With the end of the Victorian Era came the end of the popularity of Queen Anne architecture. The Arts and Craft Movement rose in popularity and soon, Queen Anne houses were no longer the trendy look. This style still remains as a distinct type of home from the Victorian Era that shows some of the best designs produced during this historical period. The Queen Anne style is one of the most distinctive designs of Victorian Era architecture.
Now that you know how to spot Queen Anne features and distinct details that create a Queen Anne style house, you will always be able to point out this distinct design style to others. Because Queen Victoria’s reign may be over, but the beautiful architectural styles that were created during this time left their mark on American neighborhoods, towns, and cities all over the U.S.
Queen Anne style home and building designs helped paved the way for the designs of the 20th century and created the distinct look of the past that will always be part of America’s history.
KC Morgan has been a professional freelance writer since 2006. Over the last decade, KC has published thousands of articles and blog posts that have been read by millions. A DIYer in her free time, KC has written hundreds of how-tos, guides and tutorials for different DIY and improvement projects around the house.
KC’s articles have appeared in “Popular Mechanics,” and have been featured on Bob Vila’s website. KC has written in-depth DIY articles for Sears.com and Overstock.com, as well as dozens of other websites. When she’s not writing or DIYing, KC enjoys watching college basketball, playing with her cats and experimenting with new cupcake recipes. Follow KC on Twitter @KCMorganWrites.