Montpelier Victorian

One of the pleasures of visiting Montpelier is to walk its streets and to admire its houses.


Sloping lot. Big trees. Stone foundation. Two full floors and a walkabout attic. Standing-seam metal roof. Porches. With Rocking chairs. Decorative shingle work. Nice colors.

Much of Montpelier is from the 19th century, a time when wood and labor were relatively cheap.

Many houses are large and have fine detail.

The architects of the time knew that design involves repetition, variety, and contrast. To please the eye, it helps a composition to have “big, medium, and little”, or “background, middle ground, and foreground”.


Much modern architecture, particularly from the 1960’s to the 1980’s, tossed that notion out the window. Which is why your eyes get so miserable looking at building made during those years. Don’t let me get started on the brutalists and the deconstructionists, please!

Some of these homes are massive, with three, four, or even five floors.


Montpelier’s steep slopes mean that many houses get another level.

You can see Chinese influence in this “Moon Gate” inspired feature on this now-closed-in second story porch.


These porch openings aren’t exactly gates, but they are still delightful. Moon Gates were a 19th century architectural mania. Bermuda, of all places, is a hot spot for moon gates.

Victorians beg to be painted in multiple colors.


I worked as a house painter for many years. I used hundreds of gallons of white, but few gallons of color. So to see multihued work like this is a pleasure.

Brackets, brackets!


The advent of powered jig and scroll saws made easier the production of these architectural elements. There were pattern books to inspire local makers. Or you could order almost anything from catalogs. You can still today, but since wood of the quality need for this work is rare today, much of what’s produced is molded urethane plastic.

More brackets.

Who picked the purple?


This house painter wishes that the base trim color was not so white, but was an ocher-based cream.

Not all of these buildings are so fixed-up. Throughout the city, throughout the State and the country, there are still many places hanging on, in peeling monochrome. The peak of this old garage’s trim looks as if someone started paint preparation work and then quit.


A distant lunette-windowed, radiating-clapbard clad house-gable peeks over neighboring unrestored garage front.

The garage window sash is lovely.

Making the glass for the little arc-shaped light next to the top of the arched center panel?

That’s some good work.

Cutting inside corners in glass is no mean feat.


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