What’s up y’all? This is John Gioffre with Revent Builds in Austin, Texas. What you’re about to see is the culmination of my entire build career, the first ever Modern Victorian House.
Victorian Style Home – Exterior Features
As the name suggests, this home is a blend of both clean, modern, and ornate Victorian styles. The front of this house is where Victorian will hit you right in the face. I wanted this house to be something that felt very familiar, traditional rooflines, bay windows, windows with grids, things of that nature, but also be done in a different way, and I think the design that we settled on here, nails that out of the park. So, there was two things for me that were musts on the front facade. The first one is the cupola. It is centered right in the middle of our home. It literally grounds the whole house, and it is the true focal point when you look at this home. And if you look up at the top, the cupola roof is actually concave on all four sides. That combined with our steel diamond dragon scale shingles make this feature stand out from basically any other home that you’ll see.
Victorian Home Front Porch
The second feature that was a must is our front porch. To me, you cannot have a Victorian style home without a front porch. And how we elevated that in a modern way is we made the roof floating and the whole thing is curve. Sleek perfection. Some other Victorian elements are our roof dormers, our circular windows, octagonal shapes, and tight grouped lap siding to look like the old school teardrop siding from the Victorian era.
We’ve also blended in some amazing modern elements like our steel garage door and steel garage door jamb, and our stacked black brick, which is really a very modern application.
We were very deliberate in the balance of the modern and Victorian elements, and honestly, when combined, this house looks like it could have been built a hundred years ago. As you walk through the front door, you can look right through our foyer out to the backyard. There’s a corridor that hugs you on your way in. It’s a soft entry into the house, which was very intentional. You can see our scones on the wall along with our wall paneling and integrated sauce hinge doors.
Victorian Style Office
The first door is bordered by a bookcase, and it’s also painted the same color green, so it really feels like it’s part of that bookcase. Now, going through into our office, the first things that hits you is the warm richness of Florida ceiling walnut on all of our office walls.
This room lends itself to a complexity and sophistication of a true study. A series of 10 foot tall picture windows look out onto our front porch with a lofted coffered ceiling with transom windows for additional natural light. Behind a concealed walnut panel door, is a very bold and prominent bathroom that compliments this beautiful office.
Right away, you’re just hit with this rich, deep red color called cajon clay on the walls, trim doors, ceiling end cabinets. These walls are complimented by onyx and frost, white marble checkerboard tile floors, going into a curbless 10-foot shower with marble head to toe encased in Florida ceiling glass.
This is the downstairs common bath that all the guests are going to see and use. If these features weren’t enough already, the next thing that you come across is something that you only usually see in swanky hotels or restaurants. An 18 feet wide by 10 foot tall curtain wall of steel and glass. What I love about this is when you pass through the steel doors, you know you’re entering into a different space, but you aren’t separated visually from the rest of the house. Walking into the dining room, you see massive picture windows. It all looks so sleek and continuous and just brings your eye out to our backyard Zen Garden with a beautiful Japanese maple.
Formal Dining Room Features
This is more than enough space for a large family gathering or a formal dining room, but we have speakers in the ceiling, a TV on the wall. This could be a CEO’s dream conference room. Now, we made the common areas being the main living, kitchen, and outdoor living, the most open spaces in the home. This is very intentional, and it will be the main place that all guests and family are congregating.
Starting with the fireplace, this area metaphorically and literally packs warmth into this home. Our fireplace surround comprise of 11 different pieces of Pietra marble. On each side of the fireplace are built in bookshelves, and my favorite feature here is our sconces that are fixed to each bookshelf.
Modern Victorian House Kitchen
Moving from the living room to the kitchen, we have our unparalleled bar, just like our dining, more steel and glass floor to ceiling. It has upper and lower cabinetry, an Arabescato marble countertop, and backsplash and holds 24 bottles of wine.
Now, moving on to the kitchen, the central congregating point of any home. Largely our giant free-standing island. We have a huge slab of Arabescato marble that’s a talking point in itself. We literally took one slab, just rounded the corners, and installed it on top of our island.
This kitchen stands out in a lot of ways. Just our lighting fixtures alone are exceptional. We have our beautiful marble tipped sconces on either side of our range, complimented by three basketball sized pendant lights hanging over our island. Being that our upper cabinetry sits on top of our lower cabinetry in the kitchen, it is amazing that we utilized a full butler’s pantry for extra workspace.
Outdoor Living Space
Now, moving on to our outdoor living. As you walk out into the backyard and look back at the home itself, I wanted the optics here to be as dramatic and breathtaking as the front facade. And here, we have individual pieces of cedar half-moon shingles. The contrast of that warm cedar to our dark trim and windows just makes the backyard feel like a totally different experience. Again here, lots of lush green mature box woods bordering our whole backyard.
Another unique feature is our 26-foot wide by 15-foot deep retractable awning, which makes this space so versatile. You can do so much here.
Modern Victorian Style Staircase
For our main staircase, we wanted to showcase craftsmanship. So, what we did here was solid oak custom curve treads and an oak riser. Now, to decorate that, we did a handcrafted onsite steel candy cane rail to compliment that. Ascending the stairs, you can see our picture molded wall paneling going 20 feet high to our lofted ceilings. So, these panels, they take something like a boring stairwell, and they just dress it up. They create shadows from our giant skylights. It almost has a museum feel walking through it rather than just a regular stairwell.
At the top of the stairs, you see our attic-exempt game room. This is all bonus square footage that technically we shouldn’t have. By using this loophole, we were able to get about 650 additional square feet than the Austin code allows. Staging was especially important in this area. We needed lower couches, we needed poofs that sat down to the floor. This space needed to feel intimate, and it couldn’t be overcrowded with furniture.
Victorian Doors and Ceiling
Another thing that was a necessity in this space was getting the eight-foot tall doors to the bathroom and the two guest bedrooms. We put a skylight in each of these bedrooms and two skylights in the bathroom, bringing in tons of natural lights, but also raising the ceiling height.
Modern Victorian Bathrooms
Our secondary bathroom sits right off of our game room. We have opal white marble countertops. You’ll see tile all the way to the ceiling that wraps all the way around the tub alcove.
The primary closet. This is something that we leaned very modern with. We packed as much shelving and drawers into the space as we possibly could. Not to mention, this closet is about the size of a regular New York City apartment.
Now, down the hall from our primary closet is our primary bedroom. This is an equally spacious but also intimate space. How we did this was bringing warmth and continuity from other elements in the home like Moore Wayne’s coating. Walnut over the second fireplace. We brought back that Pietra marble here, but this time we minored and chamfered it to make an unbelievable geometric design. Adding to all this, we have four bay windows that are all casement windows, which means they open up like a door.
Now, for the grand finale, the primary bathroom, what I would call the best single work of my career. You walk in here and it is frankly just jaw dropping. You look down and see 24 inch by 24 inch frost white marble, bringing your eye to our clawfoot freestanding tub. Above the tub, we have a beautiful chandelier with 13 different frosted milk globes. Now, to top this off, we have a large picture window that is centered right under our cupola. This being the focal point of the exterior of the home makes the space even more dramatic. We have walnut lower cabinets with Arabescato marble on top, a 12-inch backsplash, so our wall mounted faucets can go right in the wall.
Above that, we have a marble ledge that continues all the way around the bathroom through the tub alcove. Why this is great, is it allows our walnut paneling to sit right on top of it.
The shower, oh, my Lord. This thing is impeccable. We first have a stainless steel glass enclosure. We chose stainless so that it wouldn’t corrode because this is a fully functioning steam shower. Inside the shower, you have marble head to toe, and on the ceiling. More Arabescato marble on the bench. You have two wall mounted shower heads, two spray ones, and a rain head over the bench.
This is literally the culmination of my entire career. Every failure, every win, all of the hard work, all of the love, it’s so many mixed emotions. My plan with this project was to make my mark on Austin. To some people, this project is way out in left field, and honestly, this house being polarizing is something I also want. I just want people to feel something when they see this home.