Victorian homes in Toronto
Among many styles of older homes in Toronto, Victorian homes enjoy great popularity. The reasons for Torontonians' love for Victorian homes are many: extraordinarily high ceilings, beautiful woodwork, detailed finishes and lovely stained glass being the ones that immediately come to mind.
The period when this style of architecture was used in North America was roughly between 1840 and 1910. The term "Victorian" applies to several styles of the era: Gothic Revival, Italianate, Stick, American Queen Anne, Richardsonian Romanesque, Shingle and Colonial Revival being the most important.
The Gothic Revival style is characterised by irregular plans, steeply pitched roofs, multi-paned windows and elaborate "gingerbread" trim. Romanesque style feature asymmetrical plans and round-arched doors and windows. Rough-cut stone was often used for facing. Italianate houses feature low-pitched roofs and tall, narrow windows, often surrounded by columns. Stick style homes were based on English half-timbered buildings. They also have steep-gabled roofs and overhanging eaves. American Queen Anne style was characterised by decorative woodwork, even steeper roofs, overhanging stories, gables and towers. The Shingle style has relatively unadorned, shingled surfaces.
Front entry doors from this era, when possible, were often double. They were often matched by a second set of doors, forming a vestibule. The doors were often glazed. Transoms above the doors were popular. In the later period these were often made of leaded glass.
Interior doors usually matched other finished wood in the room, and it was typical in grander homes to have sliding door panels between parlour and the dining room. Windows were often decorated with stained glass, or featured multi-pane designs. Bay windows were very popular, especially in the Italianate style.
Typically, walls featured high baseboards, and often crown mouldings. Wainscoting was often used, and some of the more expensive homes had fully panelled walls. Ceilings were decorated with rosettes, plaster or wooden mouldings, and decorative metal panels.
Typical floors were bleached pine boards in the earlier period. These were later often treated as sub-flooring and covered with decorative finishes, like parquet, tiles or carpet. Beautiful fireplaces played double role of decorating and heating the interior. Grand staircases and elaborate built-in furniture can be found in more expensive Victorian homes. Lighting was originally oil or gas, and electric in the later period. Beautiful chandeliers and wall sconces are still present in may residences of this era.
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