A Guide to the Queen Anne Style of Architecture

A Guide to the Queen Anne Style of Architecture

In the years I spent surveying historic architecture, one of my favorite styles was always the Queen Anne style. The Queen Anne style appeared during the 19th century in the United States, towards the later part of those years. Many believed it was influenced by Tudor style and other architectural styles that had been popular in previous years. This is often regarded as Victorian style to those outside the professional community.
In the United Kingdom, especially in Britain, this style began appearing around 1870. Architect Richard Norman Shaw was working on drawings that detailed the Queen Anne style years before, but in the 1870s the style was picked up by other architects. It was during this time period that it spread to areas inside the U.S. Shaw’s designs were characterized by Tudor elements used in the schemes, particularly the use of dormers and other decorative elements.

In the United States, the Queen Anne style was most popular during the 1880s. Up to that point, the Second Empire style was used predominantly, but the ease of construction made Queen Anne a better choice. These homes were usually painted a bright color or used several colors around the house such as yellow, red, blue and even pink.

One characteristic often found on Queen Anne style homes is the wraparound porch. This porch got its name from the fact that it literally wrapped around the house, usually spanning from the front of the house to one or both sides. These homes were typically asymmetrical in design, which added to their unique appeal.

These homes were usually made of wood, though brick was also a popular element. The designs often incorporated stained glass windows, oriel windows and other bay style windows. Architects also used a high level of decoration on these homes. Shingles, tiles, brickwork, gables and dormers were all used in the final design. This led to a unique look and seldom does one find two homes that look exactly alike.

An offshoot of the Queen Anne style was Stick style. This was viewed as a highly decorated Queen Anne style and relied primarily on woodwork for the decorative elements. Wood trim was popular, as were spindles and other hand carved wood pieces. These homes often used decorated shingles along the roofline, solely as decoration and serving no functional purposes.

Another popular offshoot was the Eastlake style, created by Charles Eastlake. These homes used geometric designs and was made possible by the industrialization of machines. These machines could create intricate pieces that were previously impossible. These designs were used towards the end of the century and are sometimes identified as Queen Anne.

Some designers also turned to the Shingle style during this time period. The Shingle style was a pared back version of Eastlake style, hoping to use less decoration. The result were homes that had a Queen Anne style, but with less ornamental elements. The use of shingles was obviously popular, but designers spent more time making the shingles look older and weathered to create a distinctive look.

By the 19th century, the Queen Anne style and all its subsequent offshoots had fallen out of favor in the American population. Existing examples today, especially in their original form are fairly rare though the styles still remains. Newer homes occasionally use elements once found in this style even today.

Image source – wikipedia