Gothic Revival Homes

Gothic Revival homes came on the scene in the early-mid 1800s, when tastes turned from classical simplicity to a dark fantasy of medieval recreation. In place of columns, heavy cornices, large-scale moldings and other images of Greek and Roman architecture, Gothic homes sported towers, battlements, buttresses, spires, parapets, and intricately shaped ironwork. At the same time, the public's passion for Gothic literature—filled with brooding mansions jam-packed with unspeakable secrets—was inflamed and the stage was set for an architectural style that exuded shadowy drama from every board and roof shingle.

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Gothic Architecture

The Gothic period produced stone churches and public buildings with large asymmetrical façades, irregular detailing and ornate windows. These were usually built on a grand scale and were not within the means of most of people who wanted to emulate the Gothic style.

American Gothic

American Gothic Revival homes tended to be made out of timber, which made it tricky to create the angles and hidden recesses of the stone buildings which they were modeled after. American Gothic homes retained the medieval-style with their steep central gables and pointed-arch windows, but they tended to be more square or rectangular in overall design.

Full-width porches were common with some gothic arches and detailing, and led to a distinctive home style that was discernible from "classic" Gothic architecture, though clearly inspired by it.

Decorating your Gothic Revival Home

If you have fallen in love with a Gothic Revival home, here are a few suggestions to bring it back to its heyday of the penny dreadful and all things dark and dramatic:

  • Tapestries make beautiful wall hangings. This is a medieval invention to help retain heat in a stone dwelling as well as a decorative accent.
  • Large paintings suit the grandeur of the Gothic home
  • Heavy oak furniture holds its own in living rooms and bedrooms
  • Wallpaper, curtains and bedspreads should be patterned in lavish detail
  • Jewel tones in the darker shades complement the striking natural details

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