victorian farmhouse

Roof brackets.

Craftsman/Victorian Style

Hi Ken,

I’ve been keeping up with your posts and enjoyed the current 1850’s farm house post. Expanding your attention to exterior moldings is eye catching! I’ve enjoyed past published articles of trim and referred to a few while constructing our house.

My husband and I recently completed a farm house in the central Texas region. Our inspiration was my great great grandfather’s house. It was completed in 1900. It’s a Victorian. I’ll send a follow-up picture soon.

Obviously, due to our modern lifestyles and material availability, we simplified a lot of the trim without compromising quality. It has taken us a little over two years to design, manage, and construct the house. This home is not our first, but is the most detailed.

new farmhouse

Eaves supported by roof brackets.

We are very hands on during the entire process, and we do some of the work when knowledgeable craftsmen are not available. We worked with Hardie 4″ smooth siding and Hardie shingles. The custom rounded corners, cornice details and a few other pieces are mahogany. The rest is pine.

I’m a licensed interior designer with an architectural background. Working many years at a commercial architecture firm in Houston, I have a drive for details in their proper context. My husband had dabbled into architecture during college, but ultimately ventured into programming. He has always done remodeling in his spare time.

Between the two of us, there is never a loss for projects.

-Katherine Hess, RID Texas

texas farmhouse

Hi Katherine,

You’ve taken The Joy of Molding concept and raised it to it’s highest order — building a new old house! Had I passed your beautiful farmhouse on my own, I would have never guessed it was a new build. You and your husband did an outstanding job and I can’t wait to see more of your home!

Craftorian Style?

Farmhouses built around 1900 are usually one of three period styles: Greek Revival, Victorian or Craftsman. And while one of these themes will dominate the structural design, the decorative elements may be a mix of one or even two of the others. This is very common. It’s also why I sometimes label molding patterns as Craftsman/Victorian or Victorian/Craftsman, depending on which way the design leans most.

In fact, I’ve seen so many Victorian and Craftsman design combinations on historic homes that I’m inclined to create a new word — Craftorian!

When you think of Victorian homes, your mind usually jumps to the highly ornate ones. But not all Victorian homes were ornate. Some were very simple, especially the humble farmhouses located outside the main towns. But the moldings in these simpler homes are usually the details we want emulated in our own homes. For example, by far the most popular molding pattern in my Pattern Book is DOOR TRIM-133, a simple Victorian door surround.

Consequently, exterior details also follow this pattern. The very detailed and ornate brackets of Victorian homes — festooned with scrolls and finials — eventually fell out of favor and were replaced with the much simpler Craftsman design, like the brackets under Katherine’s eaves.

This proper mixing and matching of period decorative elements is the apex of good design. And Katherine and her husband reached that apex with their new old farmhouse.

So as you consider your next molding project, don’t forget that you don’t have to slavishly hold yourself to one period style or another. You are allowed to overlap. So get to it and have fun!