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New Traditions in Residential Architecture
Period Homes

Project: A New Victorian House in Montclair, New Jersey

The clients wanted a new home in the Victorian style, and researched the architecture by visiting areas nearby. A trip to historic Cape May, known for its Victorian heritage, helped inspire the client's architectural "wish list" that included a classic Victorian tower and authentic interior and exterior architectural details.The 3,000-sq.ft. home fulfills the client's stylistic expectations as well as providing for contemporary family life with a large kitchen, family room, and home office. In order to keep expenses down, the clients opted for a porte-cochere in keeping with Victorian design practice, rather than a freestanding garage. Whenever possible, they chose salvage items, such as doors, mantels, and stained-glass windows. Not only did this save money, but it represented a "green" recycling approach.

The interior has a living room to one side of the entrance, and to the other side, instead of the traditional Victorian-era parlor, is a much more practical home office. Beyond this lies a dining room with a large bay window. At the rear of the house, where the service-staff functions were historically located, are a large family room, breakfast area, and kitchen. In this part of the house, a fireplace was de rigeur but in another cost-saving and heat-efficiency measure, the architect specified a ventless gas fireplace that required no elaborate chimneywork. Another effort to keep the costs down came directly from Victorian building practices. Wood furnishes for the ground floor are oak but on the upper floors pine was used. By remaining aware of the economies of Victorian building methods and adapting them to today's market, the architect and his clients were able to achieve a Victorian effect within a reasonable budget.

This residential project features a tower, roof trim, and interior details in the Victorian Queen Anne style. Visitors to the house during the construction phase admired the "remodeling," because they couldn't tell the house was new. The final paint colors recall Cape May's Victorian houses.
Salvaged stained-glass windows lend an air of authenticity to the main stairway. The windows' color palette informed some of the choices made for tertiary interior decoration such as the tile work in the entryway.
Exterior details such as the whimsically painted porch help capture the charm of early Montclair, N.J., Victorian homes.
38 Park Street | Montclair, NJ 07042 | 973.783.0688