1870s Victorian House Plan - Second Empire

Victorian House

This house plan for an imposing Victorian edifice was designed for a large and well-situated house, arranged to embrace nearly all of late 19th century modern improvements. This Second Empire (or French Second Empire) style was desired as the latest mondern design in the late nineteenth century, especially with the inclusion of the French mansard roof. 

The first drawing is the perspective view of a house built from these plans in the 1870s in Flushing, New York. The general characteristics of the exterior are expressive of refinement and cheerfulness. The Tower is five stories high, or two stories above the attic of the main house, affording a lofty outlook. All the long horizontal lines of cornice are broken up by trussheads, which are ornamental in themselves, and give relief from the appearance of such long lines. The dormer windows of the main house have projecting pediments, with turned columns resting on the outer edge of the main cornice. The main roof and tower is covered with dark slate, laid on sound boards, covered with felt. All other roofs are tinned.

Victorian House Plan

The Cellar extends under the whole house and has outside and crosswalls of hard brick. A Furnace is put in and enclosed with brick, and 10-inch tin pipes are provided to convey hot air to the parlors, library, diningroom, and hall of the first story, to five rooms in the second story, and to the tank-room in the attic story.

Victorian House Plan


The First Story contains a large Hall, Parlor, Library, Dining Room (to be used as a Living Room), Kitchen, Butler's and other Pantries, Washroom, two flights of stairs, the principal one in the main hall, and a private one adjoining the washroom.

The Main Hall is seven feet wide, and is entered from the piazza through heavy front and vestibule double doors. The front doors are full height, and have quarter-circle plate glass "skylights" in them. The vestibule doors have plate glass upper panels with transom and half-circle head-light. Double doors open from the hall to the parlor and to the dining room, and large sliding doors separate the parlor from the Library. The Dining Room has a large bay window, marble mantel, china closet, and adjoins the butler's pantry.

The Kitchen is arranged with such conveniences as would delight the most enthusiastic Victorian housekeeper -- large closets, range, sink, cold and hot water. The kitchen adjoins the washroom, cellar stairway, and private passage, and communicates with the dining room through the butler's pantry. The range has an elevated oven, warm closet, and water-back.

To secure a perfect ventilation, a large register is placed in the flue of the chimney, which creates so strong a draft that the air in this room can all be changed in a few minutes. The left-hand flue of the kitchen chimney contains the pipes that convey warm air from the furnace to the bath and tank rooms. The washroom contains the copper boiler and wash-tubs, and has a closet under the private stairs. The sink is large, and is provided with large drainboards at each side, and a row of closets underneath.

The Butler's Pantry has complete fittings of drawers, shelving, oval copper washtray, and washstand with marble top and is provided with cold and hot water. A passage or private hall is arranged to connect with the principal hall, kitchen, private stairway, and rear entrance; by this plan the principal housework can be done without intruding in any way on the main hall or principal rooms of the house.

Victorian House Plan


Second Story— This story contains a goodsized hall, 4 large chambers, a private study, bathroom, storeroom, six large closets, and private stairway. The principal flight of stairs is made continuous from the first floor to the attic; an arch is placed across the narrow part of the hall in this story, near the first landing of the principal stairs, and is in full sight from the hall below, imparting a cheerful and finished appearance.


Victorian House Plan


Attic or Third Story—This story is finished throughout, and is divided into a hall, two large chambers, with closets to each, tank-room, and large attic. The stairs to the tower are closed in, and have a door at the foot. The hall is lighted through a sash door from the tank-room. The large attic room at the right has two doors opening from the hall, and may be divided into two rooms if required. A large upper room, where noise will not disturb the occupants of the lower parts of the house, will always be found valuable for school and playroom purposes, especially in cold or stormy weather, and when supplied with a table, benches, maps, books, and apparatus for instruction and entertainment, will afford the younger members of the family opportunity for development and exercise.