The (Virtual) Realities of Neo-Victorian Interior Design

In order to play around with some Victorian interior design ideas, I made a room in 3D (using Blender).

This is the front room of Twigthorne Manor, which would have been the parlor back in the day. The room is currently carpeted, but I gave it some solid hardwood flooring, as one of our projects is to get the carpeting out of there. I wanted to go straight for the Victorian wallpaper, but as you can see it’s a bit dark in here, with only the sunlight to guide us, so I guess I should go for some antique Victorian lighting fixtures first. They may not end up being actual antiques, but we’ll see what we can do.

And, yes, the wood is all painted. The place came that way and appears to have been that way for quite some time. No one here is really up for a massive wood stripping operation, so we’ll most likely be proceeding with the white frames and boards.

Fortunately, the Internet is rife with original Victorian interiors.

Victorian decorative arts

etons of bath

old house online

inside space design

In my searching, I’ve run across a number of remarks about Victorian interior design characteristics leaning toward the cluttered. The feeling being that Victorians liked to put all that they owned on display.

That may be true, but when I look at the size of our parlor room, I can’t help but think that you can’t really help the clutter.

For example, we have this last image from Inside Space Design. It’s titled ‘Victorian Parlor’. They’ve got a table and chairs. It’s not a giant table, but it’s not small either. There’s some sort of double spoonback sofa in the back.

Toward the front on the right, there’s a piano of some kind. And just behind that is a – I’m not sure. It looks alike a big, ornate console table. We’ve got some étagère shelves in the corner. More shelves next to them. Of course, many framed pictures hung on the wall.

Foreground left, we have a nice velvety-looking chair – possible a parlor chair. Moving back, we’ve got the fireplace, I think. Then some sort of contraption. Could that be a fireplace caddy? An ornate coal hod? I have run across some tole-painted coal scuttles. Maybe something like that?

Then there’s the damask wallpaper and the complicated rug (Oriental?), to add to the ‘busy-ness’.

Oh yes, and footstools.

If we possessed all of these things would we attempt to put them all in our front room? Sure. But we have windows and the pocket door to deal with.

I do wonder how often those pocket doors were closed during the life of this house. And if they actually were closed for a significant time, maybe they put a sofa in front of them – treated it like any other wall. Also to be considered: if you were accustomed to trying to make your way through furniture-crowded rooms, maybe you didn’t mind a sofa being there, even with the pocket doors open.

But what are we going to do with that room?

We had thought to turn it into a shoppe, for artsy things. If that transpired, we’d probably have the pocket doors closed all the time, in which case we could just treat then like a wall. And then they might need to be treated to some sort of treatment. Even painted white, they’re still a large presence in the room. After we decide on wallpaper, we could just paint the pocket doors to match – or just mirror some elements. Though they might end up behind some cabinets or shelving.

Our 3D room should come in handy for playing around with ideas like these.

And that’s what we’ll do. This first post sets out the empty, ‘blank canvas’ room, but future posts will highlight the changes, as we try out various configurations.

I think lighting should be up next, so stay tuned.

And please comment with features of your favorite Victorian interior design ideas.

And take a look at our Twig & Hermit House Page.


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