Photoshop Redo: How to Update a Folk Victorian
A color update and period-style touches give an 1880s house even more charm
"We love our Folk Victorian, but we want to give it more of a period look,"
says Benjamin Terrill, who lives in this west-facing, 3,600-square-foot house in Wichita, Kansas, with wife Holly and daughter Madeline. So we asked Chicago architect David Raino-Ogden what he'd do to increase its appeal.
Built in 1880, with a couple of additions tacked on later, the house has good proportions, Raino-Ogden notes. "But the porch feels heavy and disconnected from the style of the house," he says.
To remedy the issues with the exterior, and reclaim the home's heritage, Raino-Ogden suggests swapping sturdy porch columns for slender wood ones with paneled bases. Disguising the foundation with low shrubs also lightens things up. A rebuilt second-floor captain's walk would give the Terrills a spot to enjoy sunset views of the river across from the house, while details like roof spires, porch-post finials, and a spandrel are low-cost ways to add character. A blue-gray color scheme makes the style-appropriate, monochromatic palette feel fresh. "We can implement many of these ideas. Thank you!" says Benjamin.
A dormer with stained glass balances the existing gable on the house's left side.
Sturdy porch columns were swapped for slender ones with paneled bases that are more in keeping with the home's Folk Victorian design.
Adding a spandrel rail with turned spindles gives the first-floor porch more definition and detail.
The rebuilt second-floor captain's walk allows the homeowners to enjoy views of the river across the street from their house.
Half-round shingles on the façade (commonly known as "fish-scale") are a classic Victorian design element.
Low-growing shrubs disguise and soften a stone foundation.
A walkway lined with plantings feels a lot more welcoming than the typical "asphalt ribbon" to the front steps.