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Top Victorian Planbooks

Historic Plans for Victorian Houses


Architectural planbooks and catalogs became popular during the Victorian age when industrialization made it possible to mass produce building parts. Pre-cut architectural details were shuttled across the country. Some builders followed the published plans faithfully. Some mixed ideas borrowed from several plans and added special flourishes of their own.

Several publishers have reprinted historic planbooks with original drawings. While historic house plans don't contain the detailed specifications required by modern builders, they are a valuable resource for anyone who wants to recreate Victorian styles.

1. American Victorian Cottage Homes

American Victorian Cottage Homes
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Palliser Palliser & Co. was a leading publisher of house plans during the Victorian era. Reprinted from their 1878 catalog, American Victorian Cottage Homes contains floor plans, elevation drawings, and practical designs for classic Victorian cottages of the 1800s.
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2. Turn-of-the-Century Houses, Cottages and Villas

Subtitled, Floor Plans and Line Illustrations for 118 Homes from Shoppell's Catalogs. One of our readers comments: "I found this book in a middle school art class and it has been my Victorian Architecture guidebook ever since. It inspired my lifelong obsession with architecture and blueprints and Victorians, and leads my design decisions now that my husband and I are remodeling."
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3. Late Victorian Houses and Cottages

Originally published in 1897, this house plan catalog has drawings, floor plans, and descriptions of 40 Victorian houses and cottages. Contains dimensions, exterior materials, interior finish, and 120 illustrations.
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4. Old House Measured and Scaled Drawings for Builders and Carpenters

This reprint of the classic 1911 manual has 183 authentic, measured and scaled drawings for a wide range of architectural features. William A. Radford, author. John Mojonnier, Designer.
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5. Victorian City and Country Houses

From George E. Woodward, a noted American planbook architect of the Victorian era, reproduction plans and elevation drawings.
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6. Victorian House Designs in Authentic Full Color

Seventy-five plates are reproduced from the 1886-1894 Scientific American Architects and Builders Edition. The book is colorful and non-technical, with plenty of floor plans and detailed drawings. Blanche Cirker, Editor.
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7. Victorian Housebuilder's Guide

Reprint of Woodward's 1869 plan book with specifications for 20 structures, ranging from humble cottages to an ornate brick villa. More than 580 illustrations. By George E. Woodward and Edward G. Thompson.
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8. American Country Building Designs

American Country Building Design
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Subtitled "Rediscovered Plans for 19th Century Farmhouses, Cottages, Landscapes, Barns, Carriage Houses & Outbuildings." Author Donald J. Berg has compiled more than a hundred historic etchings and building plans for this 160-page paperback. Also find information about planbook architects and 19th century architectural trends.

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