A Queen Anne Victorian Designed in 1885, Built in 2002

Queen Anne Victorian designed 1880s built 2002

Years ago I told you about a Queen Anne Victorian in Kansas City known as the James W. Bryan house. It was on the market at the time for $175,000. I later heard about a couple in Nebraska who had come across the original plans and illustrations for that historic house in an old book from 1887 and loved it so much that it became their dream to build their own version of it…

This old illustration and the architect’s original plans for the historic James W. Bryan house in Missouri are what inspired them to build it again over 100 years later in Garland, Nebraska:

Engraving of Victorian home 1880s Kansas City MO

Here’s a photo of the original house that was built with those plans in the 1880s, taken in 2009:

Queen Anne Victorian James W Bryan House Kansas City

At the time it was on the market for $175,000, and it was in pretty bad shape. Here are some of the interior photos from that listing:

Queen Anne Victorian James W Bryan House Kansas City 3

The house cost $7,500 to build in the 1800s and boasted central heating in addition to fireplaces.

Queen Anne Victorian James W Bryan House Kansas City 5

I haven’t been able to find out what happened to it since it was on the market 4 years ago. I hope it has new owners who are taking care of it. If anyone knows, fill us in. I was happy to see some of the original details were still intact, including the gorgeous old fireplaces:

Queen Anne Victorian James W Bryan House Kansas City 4

The house is discussed in the book American Architecture by Leland M. Roth as a classic example of the Queen Anne style.

Here’s another original illustration of the house from Scientific American Architects and Builders Edition dated July 1887 (or “vivid chromolithograph plate” as they called it) that shows the porte-cochère for the homeowners’ horse and carriage:

Queen Anne Victorian James W Bryan house illustration July 1887

Back to the couple in Nebraska, who explain that they bought 60 acres of land for their new-old Victorian: “We chose this specific section for its rolling hills, its mature trees, and its proximity to Lincoln, Nebraska, the community that we have been a part of for the past twenty years.” Then they set out to build their dream house on it. Here’s how it turned out:

Castle Victorian in Nebraska for Sale (3)

Wow. Their version cost a lot more than $7,500 to build in 2002, as you can imagine. They list all the construction costs in detail on their website. Dreams like this don’t come cheap!

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The old book they found in an antique store included floor plans for the house and some basic dimensions to go by: “We were committed to building this ‘New-Old house’ in an authentic manner, true to the original, and not just an exterior cosmetic treatment.”

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“On the inside, we also followed the original floor plan, adding just enough to make it more liveable for 21st-century people.”

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They eliminated the back stairs intended for a live-in servant in the 1880s, and they added a second full bath on the second floor, a main floor powder room, and a laundry room. However, they add, “This did not change the original floor plan as much as one would think.”

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The original Victorian, which is listed on Kansas City’s Historical Registry, had 5 bedrooms and 1 bath, with about 3,000 square feet. This one also has 3,000 square feet, but with 4 bedrooms and 2.5 baths.

Castle Victorian in Nebraska for Sale (1)

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They were able to source some authentic Victorian-era wallpaper patterns for the house.

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I love the cheerful blue and white tile flooring in the bathroom:

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The original house didn’t have these kinds of views, that’s for sure:

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That built-in seating in the turret reminds me of the one Reese Witherspoon had in the movie Just Like HeavenRemember that? (Pics here.)

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One of my favorite features is this second-story covered porch:

second-story covered porch

“For years, we have enjoyed touring authentic museum houses, studying the interior and exterior details,” the owners say on their website.

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“Executing the construction from old drawings to completion was a daunting task. But we believe the final results will stand as a tribute to the Victorian era, even though it was built at the turn of the 20th century, not the 19th century.”

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Now they’re selling their new-old Victorian, and it’s on the market for $695,000. Visit the Castle Victorian website and the listing by David Kaseman at RE/MAX for more info and photos (taken by Don Farrall of Light-Works Studio).

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When I first told you about this house back in 2010, I asked, “If you could build any new house from old plans, what would it be?” At the time I said I thought it would be fun to recreate (or at least see someone else recreate) this one. Today I’m thinking a simple “Victorian cottage” like this one would suffice, however. Ha. :-)

Julia-simple teal signature

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  1. Carol M says

    What a great home. Makes me imagine going back in time and seeing the original home as the original Victorian owners saw their home — where everything was brand new to them.

  2. Erin says

    WOW! The interior looks as period authentic as the exterior! The woodwork is amazing. I can’t believe they are going to be able to part with it! Beautiful, although I don’t think I could live there…with that amazing window seat and those views, I’d never accomplish a single productive thing! :)

  3. says

    Very neat. I know they tried to sell a few years back, hopefully they find the right buyer this time.

    If I could build a new-old home, I think it would be this one: http://bit.ly/17Vq6M4
    Add a master suite coming off the dining room (made to look like a later addition, of course 😉 and it would be perfect for today. I’d go period with much, but maybe not as authentic as with this Victorian.

    I really wish some company would bring these homes into today, reproducing and updating them. So many adorable plans!

  4. says

    What a great idea, to build a new house from an old plan. I am especially impressed with the woodwork. And I love the bathroom floor, and the tub in the bay window.

  5. T. says

    I can’t believe that is selling for only $695,000!

    I love the tile floor in the kitchen. In fact, I love all of the details on the interior. I wonder how it would look furnished with more contemporary furniture? While I love Victorian architecture, I’m not a huge fan of Victorian furniture.

    I think the exterior looks a little too McMansiony. It may be the use of bricks that gives me that impression.

  6. Alie B says

    Very cool! Great job on the replication of all the little details. I live in an old house however, and I prefer the real deal. The things that sometimes bother other people about old homes (heat and air loss, sloped floors etc.) don’t deter me from loving them. There is something magical about living in a home that has sheltered folks for over a hundred years. It’s a whole different vibe, which people either dig or they don’t. :)

      • says

        Well said! There really is something special about an old house.

        Unfortunately, a lot of great old houses were built in areas where fewer people want to move to any more. And it would be hard to find an old house like this on 60 acres in Nebraska. Although it will be an old house, too, someday! :)

        • Alie B says

          Good point, Julia. The homes we love are not always perfectly located to suit our needs.

  7. Cheryl in Wisconsin says

    Beautiful. And I think this all helps bring attention to the degree of the quality construction and materials that were used in the originals, which duplicating now is incredibly pricey. That should help spotlight the value of historic old buildings.

    (However: it would be luxurious to live amongst these beautiful details while having square angles and doors that fit properly, etc.! )

  8. Joanne says

    I like the exterior but they left behind some of the rounded arching for more squared off openings (like over front porch and to the left side of house) and I think that diminishes the appearance a bit. I also don’t like the kitchen at all. Do they cook on that little stove in the corner and the island seems so undersized for the floor space. And I don’t like the two steps up into the eating area — I could totally see myself tripping all the time and sending food flying all over my family :) Much of the house is impressive though and loved the reading area in that one tower.

  9. jep says

    We built our home from “adapted blueprints” out of a book of catalog cottages and love it. I wonder why they did not put in more bathrooms for such a large house, but I do love the window seat and library area. Hope they get what they are asking for their labor of love home.

  10. says

    This is just beautiful! I love the idea of “new old” houses- I have been designing them in my head my whole life… :-) My “new old house dream” is Gull Cottage from the Rex Harrison version of “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir”. It’s sad that now you can’t find hardly any information about that lovely cottage (now torn down), but I create and recreate it whenever I watch the movie (you should see my “new old” house design binder!). That staircase! That balcony!

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful “new Victorian”! Definitely saving this one to the “totally buying this one in my imagination” file!


  11. Bridget says

    I LOVE this so much. I want it. I cannot imagine anything that would induce me to sell it if it were mine.

  12. Esther George says

    Hi Julia the sun is out and the lawn mower brigade are in full swing. Looking at this beautiful home has taken my breath away (hyperventilation) by the style but most of all by the amazing use of timber I’m not a big fan but this has converted me. Thank you for sharing beauty. Till next time Regards Esther from Sydney. PS I envy you the cold you get to drink hot chocolate (with marshmallows I’m thinking) after all this I’m having another coffee.

  13. Kim says

    I love the new-old Victorian. The details are spectacular and it looks like it has been there since the early 1900s.

    I just have to say, that I love that turret window seat. I want one in my dream home.

  14. Gur says

    It’s a lovely reproduction and a labor of love. It sad they are taking such a bath on the list price, as their construction costs are claimed to be over a $1M (not including land).

  15. says

    Thanks so much for mentioning our house again!! We will miss it, but the pull of our grandson in Lincoln is too much for us. He will be 2 in January, and we love him to death; so we hope to move back into Lincoln to be just a little closer, though we are not far now.

    • says

      I can certainly understand that. We moved to be closer to our family, too. Best of luck to you — and the beautiful house you built! :)

  16. Derek says

    The Kansas City victorian was purchased (the list price before it sold was around $75,000). I do not know the current owners, but the neighborhood has a Facebook page so I sent them an email with your story on both of the houses.
    It truly is a great neighborhood AND it was just named This Old House’s best midwest neighborhood for old homes!

  17. jp says

    This house is next door to me in KC. It is even more amazing in person. It is currently being restored and will be the crown jewel of our neighborhood. Ps. My house (which is seen in some shots) is currently for sale! You could own a piece of history right next door to this Victorian beauty!

    • says

      I’m so glad to hear that it’s being restored! Feel free to post the link to your listing here, too. I’m sure everyone would love to see it. Best of luck with it!

  18. Harold says

    We live across the street from the Bryan house. A huge job to restore it; fortunately the owner is young and she has a tremendous amount of enthusiasm for the project.

    Almost all of the “Gold Coast” mansions along Independence Ave in Historic North East Kansas City are gone, but many of the smaller (ours in only 3700sqft!) homes that were built on the streets going north from the Ave are being restored. Some as faithful to the original as possible, others, like ours, are maintaining the exterior look of the house, but from necessity are more modern inside. Many of the houses in these neighborhoods became rentals or were made into apartments in the 30’s and 40’s. Often the nicer features of the houses were removed to be sold.

    Our 1900 built brick American Four Square retains its look outside, with the exception of the original red slate roof. On the inside the main stairway, coal fireplace w/mantel (chimney long gone) and one stained glass window in the dining room are the main features remaining on the first floor. Some exquisite, but badly in need of repair, beveled leaded glass double hung windows on the stairway landing and in the master bedroom suite round out all that remains of the original fixtures.

    BTW, today when I went to look at the listing of the Garland NE re-creation the listing had been removed.

    Here is a photo from the Kansas City Library showing in the left foreground one of the Independence Avenue mansions. In the center background are some houses on the west side of Garfield Avenue, including the Bryan house, unfortunately obscured by the houses south of it.


  19. flyingethan says

    Another interesting note. Using an inflation calculator, $7,500 in 1885 is equal to $188,725 in 2012. Or, reverse, $7,500 today would be worth $304 in 1885.