When you hear the term “Victorian,” it doesn’t refer to a particular architectural style but the era of Queen Victoria, whose reign over the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland lasted from 1837 to 1901. The era was defined by a mixture of overlapping styles such as Italianate, Second Empire, and Shingle Style. But most people associate Victorian with the Queen Anne Style, which was popularized by English architect Richard Norman Shaw in the 1860s and 70s. Surprisingly, this new design had nothing to do with the earlier 18th century reign of Queen Anne, yet it soon became the dominant residential style in the U.S. after it was featured at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in St. Louis. The majority of new homes constructed between 1880 and 1900 took on a more picturesque appearance of richly ornamented and asymmetrical facades with turrets, lacy spindlework, and wraparound porches.
The suburb of Hinsdale might be known for tear downs, but some historic architecture still survives here — including this landmarked Queen Anne with more than 8,000 square feet of living space. Originally built for William Hinckley in 1886, the home sits prominently at the top of a hill on a one-acre lot in Hinsdale’s Robbins Park area. It has everything you’d expect with a Queen Anne design: an elaborate wraparound front porch, corner tower, and decorative shingling. Inside you’ll find quarter sawn oak wainscotting, original leaded glass windows, pocket doors, and a dining room with wood paneling and beamed ceilings. But this isn’t some stuffy museum piece, as there have been plenty of updates to fit today’s modern needs. The two-bedroom coach house is perfect for guest accommodations. Plus there’s an in-ground pool, hot tub, and built-in BBQ for outdoor parties.
This beautifully preserved Queen Anne in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood was originally constructed between 1893 and 1897 for paper box manufacturer George J. Kroeck and his wife Bertha. It’s hard to believe, but the home was the first one built on this block just east of Sheridan Road when Lake Michigan was right outside its door (before a landfill project changed all that). Located on a double lot with great curb appeal, the house still boasts many of the original features that were first installed back in the 19th century, including the stunning front staircase with hand-turned spindles, wall murals, quarter-sawn oak wainscotting, custom-made bronze hardware, and a variety of doors from pocket to swinging. And old house lovers will also enjoy the fact that the kitchen fits perfectly with the overall historic design — as do the bathrooms.
This 1885 Queen Anne was designed by the well-known architectural firm Edbrooke and Burnham for Joseph and Fannie Sherman Larimer. How fitting that their house backs up to Evanston’s Larimer Park. Random Chicago fact: Fannie’s father Alson Sherman served as the eighth Mayor of Chicago back in 1844-45. Vintage details start on the big front porch with its beadboard ceiling and continue inside where you’ll find gorgeous hardwood floors, intricate moldings and chair rails, and transom windows above the doors. But the best part? Located on one of the largest lots in town, the home comes with multiple money-making opportunities for potential buyers. The side lot can be subdivided and sold to a developer while at the same time you can collect rent from both the two-bedroom coach house as well as the one-bedroom side house.
You’d never know this magnificent Shingle Style home in Chicago’s Kenwood neighborhood was brought back to life by a developer in 2005. Originally built for E.J. Edwards in 1883, the house was in such poor condition that it had to be gut rehabbed down to the studs and rebuilt inside-out. Today it’s a mix of vintage charm and modern comfort. Step back in time with the foyer and central hall with the original carved staircase, but the open floor plan and modern conveniences put you right in 2021. There is a fully equipped fitness room, game room, theater room, and a full SportCourt and outdoor entertaining area on the beautifully landscaped property. Both the attic and basement are finished, while the three-car coach house comes with a two-bedroom apartment.
More Italianate than Queen Anne with its tall, narrow windows and 13-foot ceilings, this absolutely stunning home was one of the first to be built in historic Riverside in 1869. Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux produced the plan for America’s first planned suburb, but it was investors and developers who turned it into reality. William Le Baron Jenney’s architectural firm carried out Olmsted’s vision, ultimately constructing seventeen residences — including one for William T. Allen, a shareholder in the Riverside Improvement Company. Today Allen’s home still has many original details, such as the grand staircase, nine marble fireplaces, crown moldings, and hardwood floors. Featured in the Keanu Reeves-Sandra Bullock film The Lake House, the historic home sits on a half acre overlooking the Des Plaines River and the town’s famed swinging bridge.