Queen Anne style architecture in the United States

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amazing queen anne home

When thinking about classics in American architecture. I think Second Empire, Italianate, and Queen Anne. Although to the untrained eye these styles would look pretty similar. There are some key differences and intricacies that differentiate them. Which is what I will be exploring today.

amazing queen anne home

History

Although the English Queen Anne briefly ruled in the 18th century. When people refer to this style, they are generally referring to the revival of this style (particularly in the US), popular from 1880-1910. It is  known as a Victorian era trend. Widely known as a retaliation to Second Empire French Baroque revival – this was kind of the ‘British homage’ version.

Queen Anne Architecture Features

  • Asymmetrical facade – who needs symmetry? Just like the cape cod homes of the past; the Victorians decided a home was more interesting if it wasn’t necessarily symmetrical. This is a difference from Second Empire homes, which generally were symmetrical. 
  • Front facing gable roof – a classic feature. This is the thing that gives it that ‘haunted house’ look. The roofs were often cantilevered out so they would almost frame the window below. 
pediment detail
pediment detail
  • Pedimented porch – A detailed porch was a must in the Victorian era, and this style was no different. 
  • Different wall textures – for instance wood shingles, resulting in a scale like effect. Tiles were also popular to have on the roof and walls, greatly separating them from other styles of the time. The popularity of singles grew and ‘The Shingle Style’ was born. Shingle style homes are a kind of hybrid of Queen Anne and other styles. But the main goal of a Shingle style is to have an irregular shape enveloped in a uniform, continuous shape; this is to create juxtaposition. 
  • Towers – Like second empire , or italiente, this style also loved towers. Hexagonal, Circular or square. They cast a formidable shadow on visitors. 

Examples of this style:

carson mansion
carson mansion

Carson mansion – Eureka California (1884)

This impressive Queen Anne Style architecture home is renowned as the grandest example of Victorian home in the USA. We think it looks incredible! As you can see it has the asymmetrical facade, gabled overhanging roofs and large wrap around porches. 

The colouring of Carson Mansion just adds to its Gothic, almost creepy statue in the sky. A sight to behold!

james alldis queen anne house
james alldis house

James Alldis House – Connecticut (1895)

Another great example. This style  is a perfect example of this style, boasting a large round tower and arched windows. This house is most notable because of its use of materials. It uses a wide range of textures, materials and window types/shapes. 

walter ingraham
walter ingraham

Walter A. Ingraham House – Bristol, Connecticut (1892)

A lovely example of the terra-cotta brickwork. Also see the fish scale like textured effect from the shingles below the gabled roof. It has a typical wrap around porch and a lot of wrought iron detailing. 

haas-lilienthal house
haas-lilienthal house

Haas-Lilienthal House – San Francisco (1886)

A beautiful Queen Anne home in San Francisco. This is more of an inner city version of the style, more compact in nature and some of the other examples, but amazing nonetheless. It has that cantilevered gabled roof and classic entablature window embellishment.

Variations of Queen Anne House Design

As with any style, things are copied, changed slightly and modified. This style  is no different. There are three distinct queen anne revival styles, UK, USA, and Australian.

The style that was popular in Victorian England was more akin to the style seen in the 1700’s. It went hand in hand with the arts and crafts movement that was happening at the same time. Interestingly, the English style focused on symmetry and simple shapes. 

The Australian Queen Anne Style, was entirely different. This style took from Tudor styles and Edwardian styles, including visible timber frames and wrought iron detailing (very popular in Victorian times).

Added to the asymmetry, grand, decorative nature of the US style; one could say ‘What actually is this style?’ As no one thing seems to match up and certainly the American style certainly does not correlate with the original Queen Anne style. 

This all must be taken with a pinch of salt and it is more about the feel of the style and what it represents. If you take a closer look into these designs you will notice some key similarities. 

This is what I think is great about architecture. The subtle differences between eras, continents, styles and individual people. 

Check out my article on Second Empire Homes in America for more information about another classic American style.