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Victorian Cottage Plans ......

Below you will find a series of homes with a brief description and image of the cottage plans we are offering or will be offering soon. Just click on the indicated link to go to a more detailed description of the home, its dimensions and available options. To read a little about the history of the Victorian Architectural Era go to our Victorian History Page.  

 

Our Victorian home plans were, for the most part, developed during our many years spent in and around Key West and the Bahamas. The architecture is a southern or tropical style Victorian most prevalent in the Ante Bellum South, British West Indies, New Orleans and the Florida Keys.  The Victorian_House_Plans_PedimentArchitectural Period is 1835 to 1910.  The water color paintings of some of our homes were executed by famed Key West Watercolorist, Ann Irvine. 

 

 We feature several unique floor plans, including everything from quaint cottages to larger, stately homes.  If you're in the market for something larger look at our King's Cottage Plan, which is designed as a fully functional  bed and breakfast.

 

Garant Homes provides carefully designed, historically accurate Victorian Cottage Plans.  Cottage Plans that contain the details and construction techniques necessary to construct a Victorian at a reasonable price. Our designs were created by talented, knowledgeable engineers, so you know every detail of the floor plan has been carefully thought through. From major structural components to the smallest decorative touches, every aspect of these designs is quality oriented.  Whether you are using a contractor or if you prefer to build your own, we also provide specific details to help you with the construction as well as vital information about the materials and pricing. Check out the floor plan options to find your new, historic Victorian Cottage Plan,  

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The "Queen Anne"

A recreation of an American “Queen Anne”.  Characterized by multi-sided towers, numerous gables, dormers and fanciful gingerbread trim.  The style is reproduced down to the last corbel and cornice as a classic "High Victorian".   The home features many carved wood details, heavy cornices and a wonderful 3rd floor finished attic.  5 BR, 2 Dens or Offices, 4 Baths, 3050sf enclosed. More on the  Queen Anne Victorian House Plans

 

 

 

 

 

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The "Duval", a Key West Cottage 

A true Victorian, sometimes built with balconies in two story galleries (Creole Style) other times constructed with a pediment (Neo-Classical Greek Style).  These Key West Classics literally line famed Duval and Whitehead streets in "Old Town".   Our home features a quaint 1800sf two story open plan with many different porch & gingerbread options, hardwood staircase, Island Kitchen, 3 Bedrooms, 2-1/2 Bath, Laundry. More on the  Duval Victorian Cottage House Plans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Downing Victorian House Plans

 

 

Downing's - English Cottage  

A Cottage designed in the early Victorian Gothic Revival Style with verge boards and hib-knobs, romantic sloped ceilings and all the details associated with this venerable English Cottage architecture.  The plan features large brightly lighted living spaces, high ceilings throughout, quaint gingerbread touches both inside and out, a large open kitchen with island and bar, an enormous Master Suite with private balcony and sitting room, 2300sf of well laid out interior space, 3 Bedrooms and 3 full Baths. More on the  Downing's English Cottage House Plans here.

 

 

 

 

 

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A "Governor's Cottage"

This Cottage style is common to both Key West and the islands. Its roots lie in British Colonial Architecture of the 18th Century.  Our cottage was styled from a home found on Governor's Harbor on the Island of Eleuthera, Bahamas. Typical of the style the home features multisloped metal roofs. full length porch, large vaulted attic & quaint dormers. The 2000 sf plan has an open floor plan with 3 BR, 2 Bath, Large Island Kitchen, 1st Floor Master. For more details on the  Governor's Victorian Cottage House Plans

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Captain's Cottage

A home whose details are based on a 19th Century residence built on Eaton Street in Key West where it is locally referred to as the "Captain's House" . The design is typical of many southern style "City Homes" found in 18th and 19th Century New Orleans and all along the Gulf Coast. Features include double tiered porches, shuttered dormers, sawn gingerbread rails and cupid's bow trim.    The home contains 3 Bedrooms,  Family Room,  3 full Baths, 1960 sf of interior space and 2820 sf gross living area. 

 

 

 

 

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Key West Greek Revival

Typical of the Neo-Classical Greek style which endured throughout most of the19th Century, this office was designed to emulate the rows of 100 year old Victorian Period structures lining Whitehead Street along "Lawyer's Row" in Old Town Key West. Built with classical pediment, garlanded entablature and sawn wood rails, the building features oak floors and staircase, classical capitols, ornate cornices and operable shutters.  Although not originally designed as a home, the building facade has been very popular.  Many have asked us to incorporate the design into our home designs which we have done in the "Duval Cottages".

 

 

 

 

 

 

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An "Old Town Cottage"

Typical of the worker's housing of "Old Town"  Key West and generally referred to as a "Cigar Maker's House", this cottage style makes up the heart of the Old City. Sawn gingerbread trim, large front balconies, and romantic attic bedrooms are a signature of the style. Our version of the cottage has 1749sf, 3 BR, 2.5 Baths and an optional garage with loft/office.              

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Kings Cottage

A California Victorian designed specifically to be used as a "Bed and Breakfast".  This three story, 9 Bedroom home was designed with commercial Kitchen, Guest Dining Room, Owner's Suite, Guest Library and a grand Reception Foyer.  The Building has rooms on three floors and contains some 6200 sf of interior space with a gross area of nearly 8500 sf.  For more about our Kings Cottage House Plans

 

 

 

 

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Simonton Street Cottage

A small Key West Style home, typical of the small Victorians on Simonton Street.  two Bedroom, 2 Bath.  Our smallest version of a "True Victorian Style" More on the  Simonton Cottage House Plans

 

 

 

 

 

The Victorians a Brief History .....

 The history of the Victorian Architectural period roughly parallels the same period in which the British Monarch, Queen Victoria, ruled The British Empire, hence the name.  Within the time of her reign, 1837 to 1901, American evolved through several distinct architectural styles.  Beginning with the stately “Greek Revival”, which developed in both England and the US at the end of the 18th century, then continued well into the first half of the 19th Century.  This movement was surpassed in popularity in the 1830 to 1850s very romantic style, generally referred to as either “Gothic Revival” or Carpenter Gothic.  By the Civil War preferences turned to the example set by Napoleon, III, as he rebuilt the center of Paris in a style now referred to as the “2nd Empire”.  By the 1880s this style was supplanted again.  This time by the “Queen Anne”, a fanciful, ornate style developed in England and first imported to America in the 1870’s.   

 

One could argue that the “Italianate”, the “Eastlake”, “Colonial Revival” and a few others were also Victorian Styles and that would be accurate.  In truth very few residential designs were pure forms of any one design period.  Italianate detailing was expressed in Gothic, 2nd Empire and Queen Anne extensively and visa versa.   In this brief summary, we will only deal with the four historical styles that we build and of which we have some knowledge.  

 

What follows is a brief description of the histories of each type of architecture, the elements that define each and some illustrations, we have added to help visualize the sometimes mysterious architectural terms used to describe them.    

 

The Greek Revival 1750 –1850  

Although one of the oldest definable architectural styles, there is no evidence that Greek architecture was replicated until the time of the American Revolution.   History_Greek_Victorian_Cottage_PlansBecause of the closed nature of the Ottoman Empire, which ruled over the lands of ancient Greece from the Dark Ages onward, the ancient treasures of Greece were largely unknown to the world’s architectural community until Englishman James Stuart traveled to Greece in the mid 1750s.  After Stuart’s studies were published as “The Antiquities of Athens”  in 1776, the “Greek Revival” movement began.  This historic style soon became the only accepted “modern” style of the English aristocracy. Within a very short time thereafter, monumental public and private buildings of all sizes were designed with the characteristic Doric columns and Pedimented facades of the ancient Greeks.

 

History_Greek2_Victorian_Cottage_PlansIn America, Thomas Jefferson was said to have been greatly influenced by Stuart’s book and it is he who is often credited with introducing the “Greek Revival” to America.  His appointment of Benjamin Latrobe as surveyor of public buildings in 1803 created a driving force in the use of the style.  Latrobe, using his passion for the Greek style, executed a number of monumental designs of public structures in Washington D.C. and Philadelphia, including the US Capitol Building, which cemented the popularity of the style in America.  

 

 In residential architecture, the purest form of this historic style is found in the “Antebellum” homes of the South.  Often referred to as “Plantation Style”, the use of large colonnaded facades with classical Greek pediments and large encircling entablatures are unmistakably of Greek origin.   Between1810 and 1850 this architecture became the very symbol of wealth and stability throughout America and virtually every town built in this era has numerous examples.   Because of the formality and large mass of a Greek Revival home, it is rarely built outside the Southern States today, however elements of Greek Revival Architecture are seen in nearly all historic buildings and serve to remind us of the brilliant forms invented by those ancient architects and craftsmen.     

 

Elements normally expressed in Greek Revival Architecture are:     History_Greek3_Victorian_Cottage_Plans

 

Carpenter Gothic (or Gothic Revival)  1835 -1880 the “American Romantic

 Movement” Begins  

The history of this architectural style stems from the European Gothic period of the 11th through 15th century.  History_Gothic_Victorian_Cottage_PlansThe essential elements of the style are based on the steep pointed gables and carved stone tracery so familiar in Gothic Europe, where such details were used for domestic, as well as, religious buildings for centuries.  In terms of the “Gothic Revival”, the movement is based on the proportions of the traditional Gothic farmhouse-cottage of rural England.  The design style found a rebirth in mid 18th century England when “modern” Gothic country cottages began to be built or rebuilt as summer country homes for the well healed gentleman farmers.

 

The style did not take hold in America until the 1830s when a young horticulturalist, Andrew Jackson Downing, championed Gothic Revival in a romantic, even noble way, by suggesting it as the ideal home for the self sufficient American farmer. The image of a quaint cottage surrounded by fruit trees, vegetable gardens and flower beds immediately appealed to a nation that was settling new farm lands and building their own homes.  Downing published his ideas on the “Perfect American Home” in a book titled “Cottage Residences”(1842) and went on to publish a second book “The Architecture of Country Houses” (1850).  Both books (still in print) were worldwide best sellers and resulted in the style being spread throughout North America, Australia and to numerous British Colonies.  

 

In America the Carpenter Gothic style soon pushed aside the pre-eminent Greek Revival and the stoic Colonial styles and began want is commonly referred to as, the “American Romantic Movement”.  In paintings and in print, the style has become emblematic of the ideal American frontier farmer’s house of the 1800s as Middle America was being settled.     

 

Band Saws, Gingerbread and Land - The Origins of the American Romantic Movement:  

 

 

History_Gothic2_Victorian_Cottage_plansThe most distinctive detail of the “Gothic” is a steep roof with intricate carved “Verge Boards” following the sloping eaves.  These Verge designs were often copied from the ancient patterns carved in stone during the middle Ages.  The American version of the Verge board was always executed in wood, as was all of its decoration.  This detail was made financially feasible by the mill-powered band and jig saw, whose invention coincided with the introduction of the Gothic Revival in America.  

 

East Coast lumbermen and sawmills were quick to adapt to the new style and tools, and in so doing, created an entirely new product, mass-produced "gingerbread".  These new decorative products offered homebuilders from Maine to California a chance to display the finest “carved details” and intricate wood moldings without the need for skilled carvers, saving countless man hours of hand tooling.  The introduction of this affordable ornament to the middle class homeowner touched off a phenomenon in America, as homHistory_Gothic3_Victorian_Cottage_Planse designers quickly adapted the American Gothic style and started, what has come to be known as, “The American Romantic Movement”.  

 

Characteristics of the Gothic Revival -

In addition to the steep Verge boards, most Carpenter Gothic buildings are decorated with a combination of both classical and Gothic details including plinths, entablatures and pediments.  Shown at left is a sketch of a typical Carpenter Gothic with some of the details that create the look.   

 

 

 

 

Second Empire  1852 – 1890.....

 

The roots of the “Second Empire” style can be traced to the Lourve in Paris and subsequently to the adoption of the style by Francois Mansart during the reign of Louis XIII in 17th century France.  Mansart developed the steep sloped Baroque style of the Louvre into an elegant, classically detailed manor house style that was considered the epitome of refinement throughout the reigns of the last three Kings of France. After the French Revolution of 1848, which created the 2nd Empire of France, the newly crowned Emperor, Napoleon III directed his architect, Baron Haussmann, to transform Paris into “the world’s city of high fashion”.  Haussmann responded by tearing down most of medieval Paris and replacing it with wide boulevards lined with row after row of elegant Mansart inspired apartments and manor houses.  Napoleon showed off his new city at the Paris Expositions of 1855 and 1867.  Attendees of the expositions returned to their home countries with rave reviews of the new Paris and its high fashion architecture.  Thus the 2nd Empire movement was launched.

 

History_2nd_Empire_Victorian_Cottage_PlansIn America, the Second Empire rapidly became the favored style and quickly replaced the Gothic Revival and Italianate styles, which had previously dominated residential architecture.  The style became so popular during the term of President Ulysses S. Grant (1869-1877) that the 2nd Empire was also referred to as the “General Grant Style”.   Elements of the Second Empire – In American residential architecture the style was defined by the prerequisite Mansard roof, often decorated in colored or pattern roof shingles.   The façade often featured a narrow square tower with Mansard roof that extended above the main structure and created a framed main entrance porch to the home.  Typical 2nd Empire details include:

     1) Iron cresting at the upper roof line

     2) Classical moldings at the upper and lower edges of the Mansard

     3) Oriel windows through the Mansards

     4) Small entry porch with a pair of columns

     5) Flat arched windows Large decorative moldings around windows and doors  

 

Shown above is a sketch of a typical Second Empire Home with some of the details that create the look.

 

 

 

The Queen Anne  1876 – 1910......  

History_Queen_Anne_Victorian_Cottage_PlansAs the fashion statement of the French 2nd Empire Style faded in America during the early 1870s, a new picturesque style began to take form in England.  The British referred to the new style as the Queen Anne. The term was historically inaccurate, since the architecture in Queen Anne’s time (1702-1707) had nothing in common with the emerging extravagance of the Victorian style.  It is generally thought the name was coined because Queen Anne’s reign was thought to be an age of grace and style.  Coincidentally, numerous histories and romantic novels about Queen Anne and her times were being published at the time of the style’s development.   

 

History_Queen_Anne2_Victorian_Cottage_PlansHouse plans containing elements of the style were first introduced and popularized by British architects, George Devey and Richard Norman Shaw during the 1860s.  Shaw published a book of architectural sketches delineating the Queen Anne as early as 1858 but the style was not utilized until his works were extracted and republished in various British builders’ publications in the 1870s. By the mid 1870s British builders were constructing homes with the towers, trim and extravagance that we now associate with the style.  In 1876 a British builder shipped two pre-cut versions of his Queen Anne homes to America, which were subsequently constructed and displayed at the British Pavilion of the Philadelphia Exposition of 1876. The Queen Anne was an instant hit in American.  People returning from the exposition quickly spread the word about the new European style.  Almost immediately the style was being constructed on this side of the Atlantic and quickly replaced the Second Empire style as most favored.   

 

The style seemed to strike a cord in America culture.  At a time when the lower and working class were evolving into a middle class, the availability of cheap, mass-produced ornament, applied liberally, allowed the middle class to live as they imagined the royalty and new rich did.  The picturesque towers, formal entries and fancy ornament were features unavailable to the Bourgeois until this time.  The style spread quickly and soon even the simplest home was not complete without some form of gingerbread trim or ornamented pediment.  The Queen Anne stands now as the virtual emblem of the Victorian movement and is represented in virtually every American city in innumerably different forms.  

 

History_Queen_Anne3_Victorian_Cottage_PlansCharacteristics of the Queen Anne Style are diverse and regional but in general, the style involves a non-symmetrical, multi-storied structure with a slender tower, one or more gables, dormers, with fanciful and plentiful gingerbread trim. Gingerbread was manufactured with either sawn or turned elements and included arches, running soffit trim, cornice moldings, cresting, porch balusters, pediment decoration, stair trim and more. Classical details of plinths, capitols, bases and entablatures are common.   Flat horizontal surfaces are often textured with fancy cut shingles and/or raised trim. 

 

Queen Anne’s of the South were normally built with long covered porches surrounded by turned or sawn balustered rails.  In the North and West the balconies were usually restricted to the entry porch. Color is also a characteristic that varies greatly by region.   In the Northeast the style is normally expressed as a conservative solid white with color applied only to window frames and/or shutters. In the West, color was applied on every possible surface in patterns and textures that accented every shadow line.  The bright colors and patterns of the “Painted Ladies” of San Francisco and the boomtowns of the gold rush era are extreme examples of the Queen Anne in “Technicolor”.    

 

Shown above is a sketch of a typical Queen Anne home with some of the details noted above.

 

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