Here at Blue Ox, we always say that the world is our pattern book. We are a fully custom job shop, capable of reproducing any piece of Victorian architecture, but sometimes our customers find that it helps to have a list of a few simple ideas.
The following pages include samples of pieces of Victorian gingerbread from our shop floor. This is only an extremely small sample of the work that we have done over the years. If you are looking for more patterns from the Victorian era, please explore our molding pattern book page. Many of the products that we make are very specialized and do not have their own page in this pattern book. For information about any items of Victorian gingerbread not listed in this page, please contact Eric Hollenbeck at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ah, the white picket fence! As American as apple pie. Actually it's a little broader reaching than that, more like world wide. The picket fence has been a way of enclosing outdoor space for centuries. First it was limbs, then boards, and then finally evolved into the 2 1/4 inch picket with decoratively cut top. The top however, is far from only decoration. Its true purpose is to shed water from the end grain of the wood thereby eliminating an environment for rot and decay.
Few things in Victorian architecture are more universal than the turned column. Turned columns have been found as far back as 1000 BCE and have been an important element in almost all architectural periods. Whether decorative or structural, Blue Ox are the suppliers for all your column needs.
Applique is one of the few purely decorative Victorian elements. Because they are simply for embellishment, there is no limit to possible designs. From wooden repeating patterns like aerosmiths, to plaster swages that look like cake decoration, applique can be used almost anywhere. It may encompass continuous or repeating patterns around an entire house, or just a single carved element beneath a prominent window. The possibilities are endless.
As with the design on the top of a picket or the curve at the top of an exposed handrail, the post cap has a very important function. It sheds water off and away from the end grain of the wood. This is accomplished by two factors, first being the design of the cap (i.e. round, pointed, etc) and the second being the fact that the base of the cap is slightly larger than the post it caps. This creates a drip edge to run the water down the side of the post and not under the cap.
On a covered porch, the space between the porch posts on the ceiling was a great place for designers of Victorian homes to decorate. Thus the spandrel was born. The spandrel is a primarily decorative element, and early versions looked similar to a ladder running horizontally between the tops of the columns. Eventually the spandrel was expanded to include turnings, curved elements, and decorative fretwork. Because it is primarily decorative, spandrel designs are limited only by the designer's imagination.
Rosettes are often confused with corner blocks but where corner blocks are most often square or rectangular, rosettes are round. They are often found staggered in rows or columns as a way of accentuating vertical or horizontal lines. They make a wonderful addition to bargeboards, exterior window casings, corner boards, etc. Rosettes may be carved, turned, or even cast in plaster. Blue Ox are suppliers of authentic custom rosettes, plinth blocks and corner blocks.
Paper doll balusters are created on a fretsaw and encompass the use of negative space in their design. The balusters are generally 1-2 inches thick and 4-8 inches wide and are placed together in a repeating pattern so that the cut out spaces are what the eye picks up. They are particularly effective in front of sharply contrasting backdrops or open sky.