True Victorian woodwork came from an era of architecture that lasted from the early 1800's to the early 1900's. The houses from this era had elegant carved wood paneling and very elaborate finish carpentry wood work done throughout the interior of these houses. Upon entering an elegant Victorian home you might see a magnificent stairway or you may see a variety of unique lovely hardwood floors. Elaborate carved crown moldings likely throughout. Oversized decorated trim work around the doors and entry ways and windows was also common sight. The more formal the house in Victorian times, the less likely the woodwork would have been painted.
Today a lot of these older homes of this era which I have worked in have this beautiful woodwork covered up with paint. Why people painted this woodwork I do not know, however I do know it is a lot of hard work and can be extremely agonizing to restore this wood work back to original. Especially if you are not well versed in this type of work of stripping paint or the painting type industry in general.
Victorian Exterior Woodwork
The exterior of these Victorian houses were just as elaborate and beautiful. The exteriors may include lacy hand carved Gingerbread-style ornamentation in the porches, fences, balconies, and decks all made of real wood.
Today there are many choices in material and sizes when deciding to restore or replicate some of the features of the Victorian woodwork. You can find many pieces of gingerbread trim made from vinyl, polyurethane or PVC. Synthetic gable trim, for example, is a great way to decorate your exterior. One of the many benefits of these new materials are they are virtually maintenance free. Some of these materials even have guarantees and warrantees not to rot, peel, crack, and or warp unlike the woods of the Victorian era.
Replicating Victorian woodwork
Replicating this woodwork look on the interior is not that difficult and is done all the time these days. Using target blocks at the miters or corners of the door trim or casing is a perfect example. A lot of times a base block is used at the bottom also in this case. Depending on how far you want to go with this appearance there are all kinds of alternatives to get the appearance you want at a reduced cost with a little imagination. Using crown molding strategically is another example for getting the Victorian appearance. Chances are if you like this style of architecture you will undoubtedly know or learn the different attributes that make up this style of architecture and will be able to achieve the look you are trying to replicate with more modern materials.