What is this houses architectural style???


If anyone can help me identity the architectural style of this house, I would greatly appreciate it.  The house was built in 1885 in south western New York state. 

Nov 30, 19 10:27 pm

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Non Sequitur

Another slimy realtor?

Nov 30, 19 10:41 pm


Buy yourself a copy of this book:

A Field Guide to American Houses by Virginia McAlester.

You can find it on Amazon.

Nov 30, 19 11:39 pm
Featured Comment

Early Builder’s Victorian. 

Dec 1, 19 12:05 am

To narrow it down further it appears to be a 'Folk Victorian' which was a development of the classic American farmhouse. They were popular from 1880 to 1910. Some farmhouse owners went down to the local millright shop and added some of the details as they thought best. 

Here is a Folk Victorian in Middletown, VA. 

Dec 1, 19 7:17 am



I purchased this home and am in the process of trying to restore it,  so your help is greatly appreciated. 

Dec 1, 19 12:59 pm

You can particularly narrow it down as the book reference I mentioned is something recommended books in historic preservation degree programs. The book will give you some examples and that can potentially narrow it down. Additionally, I recommend you look for any historic preservation society and heritage museums that may have old records including post cards, and photos of historic houses. Surprisingly, you may find photos of such in seemingly irrelevant archives of people in the past. Sometimes those photos may show architectural elements to the home that may have once been there but through remuddles (remodels) have lost some of the historic characteristics that would help define the style. 

There are multiple styles that have been used in communities in the 1880s... not just "victorians". Note: The years of period of significance of styles are not always the same in every place. On the west coast like Oregon, some of the styles offset by a few years behind when some of the styles came into popularity on the east coast especially where some of the styles originated and people brought those styles with them to the western frontier.

I'm leaning towards "Folk Victorian" or "vernacular Victorian" as sometimes it maybe called. There are some historic embellishments that I believe is missing because of years of alterations. 


Folk Victorians come in a couple of flavors. Here is one style that is all over the Shenandoah Valley. I like your style better, though. Good luck with it. 

Dec 1, 19 1:19 pm

folk victorian or vernacular victorian actually comes in a variety of forms with variations in floor plan typology and variations in particular style detailing such as "Queen Anne" elements or Italianate. You can tell and read the building's style. My home was originally Folk Victorian/Vernacular Victorian with Italianate style posts and then the Queen Anne era spindle work. What it looked exactly like in 1875 is hard to determine exactly as there was alterations over time but what it looks like in 1890s is more determined. Sometimes, you have to just pick a particular period of significance to restore to that you have reliable sources to draw from.

The above has a center hall plan typology and a more symmetric facade,

Wood Guy

The confusing thing about terms like "builder Victorian" and "folk Victorian" is that "Victorian" is not a house style, but a time period. During the Victorian era, several different styles were popular: first Greek Revival, then Gothic Revival, Italianate, Stick Style, Mansard, Queen Anne, Romanesque, and maybe others I'm forgetting, more or less sequentially in order, with Shingle Style bringing an end to the style and transitioning to the Craftsman style that was popular following the Victorian era. Things back then were different from today--while we have many house styles to choose from, people in the 1800s generally built in the style that was fashionable at the time. 

To me, the age and style of the house looks Italianate in origin, but without some of the identifying details that a high-style Italianate would include. Here in New England it would be called a "New Englander," popular for housing factory workers. But New Englander isn't a style any more than anything with the word "Victorian" is a style.

Dec 2, 19 5:16 pm



Victorian isn't a style but a particular group of styles of the Victorian era but some styles are not categorized as "Victorian" even though they were during that same time period.

We are talking about what is possibly a so called "vernacular Victorian" or "folk victorian". There are certain styles that were, you might say is "pedigree" styles like Queen Anne or Italianate, or whatever. Then you have houses that are a mesh. "Folk victorian" or "vernacular victorian" are usually less embellished than your "pedigree" styles that were commissioned to be built by the well to do, social elites. However, not everyone could afford that so here comes the "vernacular" victorian house which might have chamfered posts of the Italianate. Sometimes, they might mix elements of a "queen anne" style with the Italianate.


The above example lost some details due to poor remodels. I've seen Victorian era houses of the 'vernacular' kind in Astoria, Oregon that lacks the gingerbread and minimal details.However, there was proof of evidence of the home being there since before 1900. There is another style that is called minimal traditional.

Not Victorian, minimal detail / no gingerbread. Maybe some flourishes inside? Likely a builder’s house from a specific period with lots of similar structures in the same area. When was it built? I’m guessing 1940’s. 

Watch out for snow against the windows where they sit tight to a roof.

Dec 2, 19 5:52 pm

Here are examples shown that have either been restored or otherwise have had their features retained over the years:


Sometimes the features are lost due to remodels like the 1940s era where they may have stripped down the gingerbread following an ethos of modernism found in the era of minimal traditional houses where you avoid ornamentation. They stripped down the ornamentation. This was particularly within the way of thinking in the Great Depression era and a number of years after.


This house was built in 1885


My home was built in 1885


Sure but while it was originally built in 1885, there maybe alterations and remodels over the history of the building by previous owners.


This web site gives 10 pages of 'Folk Victorian' examples as well as multiple pages of the other Victorian styles and other popular styles such as Georgian, Federal, Greek Revival, ect.

Dec 2, 19 5:58 pm

please help identify the style of this building, esp. the belfry. Thank you!

Dec 4, 19 12:38 pm
Chad Miller

I see at least three 'styles'.


Thank you for your helpful comment.

Non Sequitur

Nice cars

Hahah that building is awesome and hilarious.


That building was originally a congregational church, and later a town hall, and sometimes a temporary school, in Hampton, New Hampshire. The original "bones" of it were pretty standard New England Federal meeting house type thing, but it got... elaborated on... a lot along the way. The dome was pretty much just a 4-sided mansard cupola with some eyebrows-and-acorns medallions tacked on, but the proportions are so squished in plan and stretched upward that it kind of turned into looking Mughal and/or Russian influenced.


Well, if the city fathers had really wanted a civic building with a round dome they could have squeezed the budget a little more

Dec 5, 19 7:10 am

Pasadena City Hall. It's really a magnificent building.


Squished look...that pretty much describes it. I imagine poor George G. Adams pulling out his hair trying to appease the unappeasable, and finally producing that tower as his revenge. It is unique and one of a kind, to say the least.

Dec 5, 19 9:56 pm

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