Historic Victorian Homes Offer Warmth, Craftsmanship and Charm

By Claudia Gryvatz Copquin
The abundant architectural details of a Victorian building make for a home rich in personality and charm.

W ith towers, turrets, gables and trim, a Victorian house makes a distinct statement. It says quaintness. Craftsmanship. Grace. By definition, it also says history.

A Victorian house “speaks of the time that it was built and how people lived there”, says Celia Dunn of Celia Dunn Sotheby’s International Realty. In Savannah, Georgia, where her firm is based, Dunn says the historic district offers an excellent sampling of desirable, Victorian-style houses. In the US, Old Louisville in Kentucky and the seaside Cape May district in New Jersey have a large assortment of Victorians. Of course, London is also replete with these gems.

Popularised during and after Queen Victoria’s reign (1837–1901) and the Industrial Revolution, Victorian architecture is a term that includes Gothic Revival, Queen Anne and Italianate styles. What these have in common is charm: from ornate porches and balconies to arched or Gothic windows, ornamental wrought iron, asymmetrical façades, hardwood floors and carved fireplace mantels.

And according to Spence Kass, principle of architectural firm Kass & Associates, based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, these properties are easily adaptable to modern living. “We are preserving the main rooms of the house, and combining a lot of very small spaces to make grander rooms,” Kass says.

The key is maintaining the integrity of these houses. “There’s a real warmth about living in a Victorian home,” adds Dunn. ◼︎

Taroona, Tasmania

Hillgrove is one of the city of Hobart's most recognised historic homes, located directly across from the Shot Tower and Glen Albyn Estate in beautiful Taroona. Built in the 1860s, this mid-Victorian house is perfectly positioned on 11 acres to capture stunning
views of the Derwent estuary and Storm Bay. The property is substantial, with three levels of space, five bedrooms and three bathrooms combined with more than 26 metres of verandah to fully appreciate the picturesque location.

$1,400,000 Property ID: 23CSMZ | sothebysrealty.com
Sotheby’s International Realty Tasmania
Leigh Patrick +61 (0) 447 159 618

Spring Lake, New Jersey

This famous and spectacular Gothic Revival Victorian home was built for the 1876 World’s Fair and sits just four blocks from the beautiful beaches of Spring Lake on the Atlantic Ocean. Tasteful renovations seamlessly blend historic craftsmanship and modern amenities while preserving its original character. The mahogany front porch welcomes you to three levels of extraordinary spaces, with attention to detail uniting living, entertaining and dining areas. Beautiful gardens, mature trees and a heated in-ground salt-water pool create a secluded backyard setting for peaceful relaxation or entertaining.

$1,975,000 Property ID: L2Z89H | sothebysrealty.com
Ward Wight Sotheby’s International Realty
Denise Dreyer +1 201 819 2604

San Francisco, California

This classic Victorian home near San Francisco’s Mission Dolores Park has been reimagined for 21st-century living, adding contemporary and high-tech conveniences behind a timeless façade. Highlights include designer living and dining areas, an open concept chef’s kitchen, a skylit family room, three bedroom suites, and walls of glass overlooking a bright atrium. The serene south-facing garden includes an outdoor kitchen, a fire pit and a spa. The home also encompasses a four-car garage accessible via elevator and a 1,300 sq ft guest level with a private entrance.

$9,400,000 Property ID: 0089486 | sothebysrealty.com
Sotheby’s International Realty – San Francisco Brokerage
Neill Bassi +1 415 296 2233
Daniel DerVartanian +1 415 901 1727

Knightsbridge, London

A mid-crescent Victorian townhouse that has been meticulously refurbished throughout, this home has five bedrooms, five bathrooms, a formal drawing room, dining room, grand entrance hall and a contemporary kitchen. Wilton Place is within walking distance of Belgravia, Knightsbridge and the green expanses of Hyde Park.

£12,000,000 Property ID: 55DS9Q | sothebysrealty.com
United Kingdom Sotheby’s International Realty
Guy Bradshaw +44 7849 398 941

Savannah, Georgia

Overlooking Forsyth Park, this circa 1895 graceful Queen Anne-style Victorian is one of Savannah’s finest restorations, earning a coveted Historic Savannah Foundation Preservation Award. Eclecticism, asymmetry and contrast are among the architectural characteristics of this singular residence. From the sweeping verandas to the millwork and spandrel detail, this celebrated manor is exceptional. Enter through the grand foyer and be enveloped into the home’s refined features such as the meticulously restored woodwork, oriel windows and large parlours with pocket doors.

$2,500,000 Property ID: 9ZE9P9 | sothebysrealty.com
Celia Dunn Sotheby’s International Realty
Staci Donegan +1 912 247 2052

Claudia Gryvatz Copquin is a New York-based journalist.

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