Victorian features in dollhouses typically are expressed in bright and vibrant colors. It isn't uncommon to see a mix of pinks, blues, and yellows decorating expansive bay windows and gables.
What does it mean to be Victorian?
Naturally, your Victorian dollhouse will not likely be one built in the Victorian era, but for the record, that occurred between 1837 and 1901. But they will be modeled after the real thing, examples of which can be found in cities famous for their Victorian pedigree such as Boston, Albany, Chicago, San Francisco, and many more.
Actually, the term "Victorian" is pretty broad, leading it to be tossed around liberally by the informed and the not-so-informed. When discussing dollhouses, it might make sense to specify 19th Century Queen Anne styles of America, England, and Australia. These styles all exhibit similar characteristics with different takes on the extent and ostentation of various ornamentation's that typify the Queen Anne style.
What makes a dollhouse Victorian?
The most elaborate of Victorian dollhouses will feature bay windows, gabled roofs, and covered promenades that wrap at least part of the structure. Typically you'll find these highly ornamental dollhouses have three stories, the third being a small, furnished den occupying the space created by the highest, or only, gable.
While these are common in Victorian dollhouses, we think that since there are no covenants to adhere to, you should also consider a gingerbread style. This is widely considered an American contribution to the style in which the exterior walls and deck are painted in a patchwork of bright colors. Nowadays, neighborhood associations really get in the way of doing something like this. A similar effect can be commonly seen in San Francisco, where houses in rows are each painted a distinct bright color accented by white trim. These are called "Painted Ladies," and can also be seen in New Orleans, Baltimore, and St. Louis.
What not to expect in a Victorian Dollhouse
Victorian, as stated, is a catch-all phrase for anything that happened in the latter part of the 19th century. If you're doing research, don't seek out anything referred to as Renaissance or Romanesque Revivals. While very Victorian, they are not very dollhouse. These styles are reflective of municipal architecture; for example, train stations, state buildings, and sporting stadiums. You aren't likely to find these rendered in dollhouse form unless you seek out a personalized, custom-built dollhouse.