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How Expensive is it to Build a Victorian-Style Home?


Cost of Victorian home design.

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Victorian-style homes are extremely popular and often coveted for their ornate appearances and impeccable attention to detail. Victorian homes first became popular in the United States in the 1840s. 

During this time, it became increasingly easy for architects and builders to purchase ornamental building materials from around the world.  As a result, houses became more and more elaborate. (Source: Thought Co)

If you want to build an authentic Victorian style home, you can expect to spend between $65,000 and $350,000 to build the home. While this price may not seem high in comparison to other homes, it may not include all the intricate details of a genuine Victorian-style home. 

In this article, you will learn how much it costs to build a Victorian-style home as well as how to make sure you are building your home in an authentic Victorian style. 

The Cost of Building a Victorian-Style Home

The cost of a Victorian-style home can become rather significant in an incredibly short amount of time. 

If you have ever walked into a historic Victorian-era home, you will notice the remarkable attention to detail and the intricate features in each facet of the home.  As you can guess, this detail does not come without cost. (Source: NY Times)

Deciding on the Size of Your Home

Frequently, people think of massive Victorian homes that are reminiscent of mansions. While this may be the image you conjure in your mind, not all Victorian-style homes were massive.

Some were smaller homes that were situated in a long row, placed close together.  

You must choose the size of your Victorian home before you begin the process of planning and building.  You can easily find the Victorian charm in a smaller home that may be more budget friendly. 

Purchasing Your Plan

When choosing to build a Victorian-style home, you will first need to purchase a plan or have one drawn up. The cost of this plan will vary depending on your source.

If you look online, you may be able to find a plan between $2,000 and $6,000. The larger and more intricate the home, the more you can expect to pay for the plan. (Source: EPlans)

If you do not want to purchase a pre-made plan, you can hire an architect to design a plan for you.  By doing this, you will be able to customize the layout of your home and add the details you want more easily. 

However, the cost of hiring an architect is exponentially higher than purchasing a pre-made plan.

The average architect charges between $800 and $1500 for every $10,000 of the cost of the project. The cost of an architect can eat up your building budget quite quickly. (Source: Improve Net)

Choosing Your Materials

The expense of the building materials is another main factor to consider when it comes to planning the budget for your Victorian home.

If you are looking for an extremely accurate version of a Victorian-era home, you will likely spend more on the wood and roof tiles or shingles.

This is especially important when you begin looking at turrets and other custom features that are not ordinarily included in modern buildings.  

Customizing Your Home

Customizing your home is one of the most exciting parts of building your own house.  When you begin looking at and researching Victorian homes, you will notice that no attention to detail is spared.

So, you must carefully assess your budget to determine what details you want to add (and the details you can afford).

While there are many decorative features you will find in a Victorian plan, some of the most notable features of Victorian-style homes are stained glass, steep gabled roofs, decorative woodwork, large windows, and bright colors

  • Stained Glass: Stained glass was extremely popular during the Victorian era.  Often, people would choose to personalize their homes with stained glass.  This was also a way for people to flaunt their social status to those around them because the stained glass was expensive to produce and make.

When individuals chose to use stained glass in their homes, it was often a focal point within the home, and it was used excessively.  Today, you may see a stained-glass window used to highlight an area of a home, but during the Victorian era, it was used throughout the home. 

(Source: Traditional Front Doors)

  • Steep Gabled Roofs:  One of the most trademarked images of the Victorian style is a steeply gabled roof with complex adornments.  The purpose of these steep portions of the home was to add an air of intimidation and power, much like the turrets and steep portions of a castle roof. 
  • Decorative woodwork:  If you are building a Victorian-style home, you will likely want to invest in decorative woodwork both inside and outside the home.  To accomplish this, you will likely need to hire a custom woodworker.  The cost of this can be quite high. 

If spending a lot of money on custom woodwork isn’t in your budget, you are in luck because you can find many manufactured options that can provide the same look for much less. 

If you choose to use a custom woodworker, you can expect to spend as much as $22 for a single small decorative porch bracket.  There are many porch brackets on a Victorian-era porch.

While this does not tell you exactly how much you will spend on woodwork, it gives you an idea of what to expect. (Source: Victorian Woodshop)

  • Large windows: Another hallmark of Victorian-era homes were their large windows. The homes frequently featured bay windows.

    This was often the choice when it came to adding windows because it was relatively inexpensive to create large windowpanes. Bay windows were commonly displayed on the front of the home. (Source: Sash Window)
  • Bright Colors: One of the unique design features of Victorian homes was how colorful they were.  The colors used in the homes had different meanings and purposes, so you will want to do your research before choosing a color if you want a genuine Victorian home.

The colors used often denoted the period the home was designed or the message the homeowners wanted to send.  Larger homes were often painted more bright and vibrant colors, while smaller homes were painted in more muted and darker colors. 

While these colors are historically accurate, you are not held to these colors only.  However, if you want an authentically colored Victorian-style home, you may wish to follow the guidelines of the time. 

(Source: Old House Web)

As you can see, there are several features and characteristics you will need to plan for in your budget.  Remember, the intricacies and details you choose to add will increase the expense. If you move into the custom-made realm versus manufactured items, you can expect to spend even more.

Maintaining Historical Accuracy

When building a Victorian home that is true to the era, you want to make sure it is historically accurate.  This is another aspect of a Victorian-style home that can add considerable expense.

While you can easily do independent research, it is wise to enlist the help of a historian or architect who specializes in the Victorian style. 

This may be a minimal cost, but it should be considered an expense. 

Final Thoughts

Building a home of any type is an exciting endeavor that requires a lot of planning and budgeting.  The most significant difference between a Victorian-style home and a modern home is how it is decorated.

When you choose more complex, ornate features, you can easily go over your budget, so it is important to make a budget plan and stick to it or hire an architect or designer to help you stay within budget while bringing your idea to life.

If you are going to invest in building a Victorian-style home, make sure that you modernize it with energy-efficient upgrades.

Paul

As a homeowner, I am constantly experimenting with making the structure of my house more energy-efficient, eliminating pests, and taking on DIY home improvement projects. Over the past two decades, my family has rehabbed houses and contracted new home builds and I've learned a lot along the way. I share my hard-learned lessons so that you can save time and money by not repeating my mistakes.

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