From Dean Dowd on February 28, 2008 in General Remodel
One of the best things about Victorian homes? They’re unpredictable. Just take the list of famous Victorians that Painted Ladies series author, Elizabeth Pomada, sent our way. You’ve got a six-story elephant that embodies the unique architecture of the late Victorian age. Now a historical landmark and museum, Lucy the Margate Elephant is a larger-than-life landmark for the New Jersey shore. You’ve got Mark Twain’s former home, made from bricks, stone, and natural elements. Low maintenance compared to a Painted Lady? Certainly not. The Mark Twain house in Hartford, CT is recognized for its whimsical expression: no two elevations are alike, the gables have different decorative elements, and the very walls have shifting surfaces. Then you’ve got the Octagon House, also known as the Armour-Stiner, believed at one point to be haunted and reportedly the only domed octagonal residence in the world.
You might ask yourself, “what practical inspiration could I possibly draw from such particular homes; or, what could my home possibly have in common with these extravagant examples?” Possibly nothing, likely many things, but one thing you can take for certain is the inspiration itself – the pride in craftsmanship, the endless enumerations, and the reality that no matter what type of home you own, it’s your castle to come home to. So make it unique, and make it your own.
But I did mention a list, didn’t I? Here are the famous Victorians Elizabeth recommended. You’ll wish you could tour the country to see them all in person:
The Psychedelic House on Steiner in San Francisco was, in the late 60s, painted in l2 loud pscychedelic colors and there was even a papier mache alligator swimming down the front. It was then painted in blues and greys and is now in yellows and greys.
The Pink House in Wellesville, N.Y. owned by one family since l869.
Photo Credit ePodunk
Olana, Frederic Church’s house in Hudson, NY, and
Photo Credit NY Social Diary
Mark Twain’s house in Hartford, Ct., both Painted Ladies using bricks and stone and natural elements, rather than paint.
Photo Credit University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth
The Octagon House in Irvington-on-Hudson, N.Y. (it was in the new movie “Across the Universe”).
Photo Credit Wikipedia
The Gingerbread Mansion in Savannah.
Photo Credit Celia Dunn
The Hale House in Pasadena, CA.
Photo Credit Big Orange Landmarks
Thanks for the heads up, Elizabeth!
Fortunately, many of these homes are museums, so you can take a close look at their interiors, too. Also, check out all the homes on San Francisco’s famous Alamo Square. Then again, a Victorian doesn’t need to be famous to be special. Chances are if you’ve got one on your block, it’s one-of-a-kind.