Queen Anne - Eastlake Stick Style

Peak Popularity ~ 1870 - 1900

This is when 19th century architectural styles begin to get blurry.  The reason for this was the introduction of the plan book.  There were so many architectural elements available by this time, that builder's could build a house from a plan book or mix and match elements.  With that being said lets talk about the last two major architectural styles of the 19th century Queen Anne and Eastlake Stick Style.

Queen Anne

Like the Italianate, the Queen Anne style allowed for a variety of floor plans and the addition of towers, bay windows, and porte-cocheres.  The Queen Anne style introduced the used of spindles, to give the jig saw a rest.  Alternate siding, such as clapboard on a first floor and decorative shingles on the second is a trademark of this style.  Octagon towers with a tapering roof, capped off by a medieval ornament, and a porch with a frieze of spindles.  Fluted chimneys were also introduced during this period.


Defining Features

  • Multiple siding types - Clapboard, fish-scale shingles, and Elizabethan strapwork often found on a single house.

  • Octagon Tower - On a corner of the house with steep tapered roofs, usually decorative slate.  Medieval ornament on top.  
  • Elaborate fluted chimneys
  • Spindled porch - First common use of exterior spindles, often joined with a spindled frieze to match.  Columns often with an inverted taper.
  • Windows / Doors with small multicolored panes surrounding a larger clear-glass center







Queen Anne styled house in Westfield, NJ - Painting by Harry Devlin


Eastlake Stick Style

Stick Style is not an architectural concept, so much as a decorative one, and Stick Style elements can be found on Queen Anne and Italianate structures, as can elements of the design concepts of Charles Eastlake.  Charles L. Eastlake (1833-1906), an English architect who wrote "Hints on Household Taste in Furniture, Upholstery, and Other Details," published in 1868. Reprinted in America in 1872, the book had become so popular that it required six editions within eleven years.

Generally, Eastlake ornamentation features intricate wood details: porch posts, balustrades, verge boards, pendants, and other decorative elements characterized by a massive and robust quality. Wooden decorative elements were products of the power lathe and saw.

The porch of the Stick Style house illustrated here is a typical Eastlake extravaganza.  Eastlake styling created an inexpensive and fanciful beauty attained a popularity not possible for the stern stuff of the Stick Style; and, Eastlake frets, friezes, fans, brackets and lattices became the ubiquitous American exterior decor, gracing cottages, villas and Queen Anne castles alike.  As well, the sturdy balustraded Eastlake front porch became the hallmark of the comfortable American residence. 

The Eastlake Stick Style expressed character, and character was an attribute very high in the Victorian list of virtues.  Contemporary writers admired the the Stick Style houses and were especially charmed by the shadows cast by the external framework.  In Henry Cleveland's plan book devoted largely to Stick Style houses, he wrote: "The strength and character of a building depend almost wholly on the shadows which are thrown upon it's surfaces by projecting members"

Defining Features

  • Overall angularity, verticality, and symmetry
  • Exposed truss support beams under eaves - Called  stick work - symbolized the structural skeleton of the building. 
  • Purely decorative vertical, horizontal, diagonal and crisscross boards applied over horizontal clapboards - Most often found on gable ends and upper stories.  Sometimes diagonal boards were incorporated to resemble half-timbering
  • Steeply pitched gable roof, cross gables - Projecting gables - Trussed gables - Sunburst or spoon carved nature-based designs in gables
  • Deep overhanging eaves
  • Square towers as opposed to round Queen Anne Towers
  • Pointed dormers
  • Large verandas and porches - Often decorated with simple diagonal braces
  • Bright, contrasting paint colors




Stick Style Home in Ocean Grove NJ - Painting by Harry Devlin


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