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Richard Jackson
I want to build a brand new Queen Anne Victorian home and I want to custom design it with the help of an architect so I can have all the features I want and put it in any location I want. I would even like to have some hand-carved wooden features in the interior. And I want the construction to be very high quality, not just slapped together. What I want to know is would this be an extremely difficult and troublesome project? Would it be difficult to find an architect and craftsmen who are skilled enough? Would it take an extremely long time due to the difficulties? Or would it not be that much different from building a regular home?

Also, are there any web pages with stories and information by people who have built new Victorian homes? Are there any companies that specialize in building high quality new Victorian homes?

When I see new mansions and new large homes on TV, they look like large but cheaply built cracker boxes. They look so plain and cheaply built. That's just the impression I get. And I don't want my dream house to be like that.

Paul Hamilton
Hi there,

I'm an Architect currently studying 19th C homes for my personal means.  Let me try to answer a few of your questions but in different order.
1. To obtain a set of specific plans for a house to be built 'anywhere' is not practical due to changes in local ordinances & codes.  For example, a home being built in California may be subject to earthquakes or mudslides while a home in Florida is subject to hurricanes.  Thus, the structures, locations & sizes of openings, and roof types will need to vary as well as practicality applications.

2.  It's not difficult to design or build a Victorian home but rather it may take more man hours which due to the higher level of craftsmanship will inevitably cost more sometimes by a factor of 2x.  Thus if a typical 3,000 sq ft 'builder' home is about equal to the cost of a 1,500 sq ft. Victorian home and this is only a ballpark estimate of course.  Varying paint schemes, types of wood & materials plus any specialty parts requiring different trades would raise the cost significantly higher such as a complete copper water-runoff system around the roof.

3.  Remember that the 'look' of the house comes from the design of the facade and/or front exterior wall that you enter through.  Today's homes are not well-designed.  That is to say, doorways & window openings are not 'centered' and/or planned so that a rhythm occurs.  Entry is by far the single most important for arrival and preparation for the transition from outdoors to indoors.  SO often, contractors only consider the 'entry' to be a front door often applying a mis-proportioned small porch or perhaps no porch at all.

4.  It is also 'key' to realize that we do not walk in 'PLAN' but rather move through spaces in 'SECTION' and see 'ELEVATIONS'.  The outward appearance of a wall may tell you what rooms are on the inside but also can 'mask' what is going on indoors.  Any knowledgeable Architect can adapt a floor plan (with design modifications) so that a Victorian appearance can be had with modern amenities inside.  However, you must realize that early Victorians often got by with only 1 or 2 small bathrooms since indoor plumbing was expensive and relatively new.  Closets were unbearably small as well and not included in all rooms. 

5.  The History of Victorian life is VERY important to know about.  The uses of the house was much different from today's modern society.  Electrical and Plumbing requirements were less intricate and Central Heat & Air was non-existant.  Now, why does this matter ?  Well, because you cannot just start 'adding' a lot of extra equipment to an 'OLD' original plan without room appropriated for their location.

Please ask as many questions as you can (and not just from me or this site) and your self-education will save you $$$ thousands and it will aide to your happiness in planning a dream home.
Knowledge is more valuable than anything!
If you really want authenticity, sometimes you can find well priced salvaged items like doors, light fixtures, and stained glass windows in newspapers, flea markets, antique stores, and estate sales. Sure they're old and obviously used, but they're real!-- And any contractor worth his/her weight will be glad to incorporate any of those items that you might find.

Hear ye! Hear ye!  Renee, thank you for posting that suggestion!

I am also of that school of thought, and love the idea of using rare SALVAGE MATERIAL -- which can be so high in quality and design -- in modern construction.

Rena Goff, manager
Merrymeeting Archives LLC

Yes,if you are planning to build a house then do take care of your budget.It can might prove you costlier.

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