Distinguishing Victorian and Eastlake Styles

Victorian House, circa 1900.

Victorian style is perhaps the most recognizable of all design styles. The term Victorian architecture generally refers to many styles that emerged in the period between 1837 and 1901, during the reign of Queen Victoria.

The Victorian era spawned a number of architectural design styles including Gothic Revival, Renaissance Revival, Rococo Revival, Romanesque, Queen Anne, and Eastlake.

While it is generally grouped in with Victorian style, Eastlake has some distinct differences from the more ornate Victorian style.

Gingerbread detail on a Victorian house.

In this blog, I will highlight some of the differences in these two iconic styles.

Victorian Style

A classic Victorian style home resembles a doll house with bright colors and elaborate trim. These grand homes are sometimes called gingerbread homes because of the gingerbread-like accents that include arches with pierced design, fanciful frieze boards, balusters, and scrolled brackets.
Victorian homes are generally large with two or three stories and most often have steep rooflines with many gables or turrets facing in different directions. A prominent feature inside a Victorian home is the use of fireplaces in every room with surrounds made of stone, wood or marble.
 Early Victorian homes featured vertical sawtooth siding or stickwork trim, exposed timbers, and large shutters. Large front porches with latticework enclosures are another prominent feature found on most Victorian homes.

Luxury Victorian Styled Interior

Drawing on its Gothic Revival roots, stained glass windows are another popular feature in Victorian homes. Windows had large six- or four-panel vertical sliding sash windows. Three-sided bay windows were also popular.
Again, drawing its influence from Gothic style, Victorian furniture is heavy with dark finishes and elaborate carvings and ornamentation. Victorian style often includes Middle Eastern and Asian influences.
Designers often add French, Italian, Tudor, Queen Anne, and Eastlake details so no two Victorian homes are exactly alike. Victorian hardware styles include the use of brass and bronze with most pieces being ornate and beautifully detailed.

Eastlake Style

Eastlake home with exquisite detailing.

Often referred to as late Victorian, Eastlake style, named for architect and writer Charles Lock Eastlake, came about because of his dislike for the flamboyant and ornate Rococo Revival and Renaissance Revival styles popular during the Victorian era.
Eastlake furniture, popular from 1870-1890, moves away from the large carved furniture pieces popular in Victorian style to a simpler style. It features low relief carvings, incised lines, geometric ornaments, and flat surfaces. Eastlake furniture in oak, cherry, rosewood and walnut wood accentuates the grain with oils and other natural finishes rather than the dark finishes associated with Victorian style. Eastlake style also incorporates the use of nature themes, including simple plant and animal designs.
The style sometimes incorporates Renaissance Revival and Medieval influences that do not overpower the simple and designs. Eastlake pieces can include Middle Eastern, Far Eastern and Asian design elements as well.
Van Dyke’s Restorers offers a great selection of Victorian and Eastlake hardware, door knobs, cabinet knobs and pulls, bathroom accessories, and decorative wood items perfect for period homes.

 

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About Larry Padgett

Larry is an award-winning journalist and photo journalist with over 35 years of experience. He has written for a number of industries including healthcare, die casting, construction, home restoration, sports, education, and religion. He is a copywriter and blogger for Van Dyke's Restorers.

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