Candy cane columns, graham cracker walls, frosted rooftops with gumdrop details—all are hallmarks of the holiday gingerbread home construction season. But not all gingerbread houses are held together by royal icing.
Gingerbread in home design refers to the ornate wood cutouts adorning the exterior of Victorian, Colonial, Tudor, and other style homes in fashion around the late 1800s.
Dormers, gables, scrolls, and all kinds of intricate trim were first made widely available after the Civil War, thanks to the invention of the power scroll saw, which could mass-produce those carved wood details.The pieces were then loaded onto rail cars and shipped across the country.
The result was an affordable way for Americans to re-create the whimsical architectural trim favored in lavish European Victorian homes and nab a bit of that luxury for themselves.
The term “gingerbread” was later coined in the 1950s, after American tourists arrived in Haiti and fell in love with its marriage of French and Victorian sensibilities. They were inspired to create a new wave of fanciful, light-as-air architecture, drenched in candy-coated colors, giving them the look of confectionery fairy-tale homes.
In almost all neighborhoods across the country, gingerbread homes are still welcome eye candy. There are bed-and-breakfast gingerbreads, cozy family homes, and a few properties ready for a makeover. But they’re all decked out in their wood-trimmed finest, and prepared to delight visitors for decades to come.
Take a look at these 12 gingerbread houses for sale, and see for yourself how magical a little wood trim can be. No sugary icing (or cleanup) required!
Delicious details: Built in 1890, this 5,500-square-foot gingerbread sits on a half-acre in the historic Wethersfield Green neighborhood. With a total of 22 rooms, including four bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms, there’s plenty of room for a family to stretch out. This three-story home has a wraparound porch, 9-foot ceilings, and a unique studio and darkroom space, which has been used for commercial photography over the past 40 years.
Delicious details: This 1868-built Victorian has been featured on HGTV and This Old House magazine, according to the listing. Sitting on 2 acres in the village of Shelburne Falls, the home has been maintained and updated over the years. The five-bedroom, two-bath home measures 3,900 square feet. Highlights include a copper roof, wood floors, large kitchen and laundry areas, and attached studio with office.
Delicious details: This Victorian is on the market for the first time in over 100 years! It sits on a quarter-acre lot just one block away from Amelia Island’s historic Centre Street, with its shopping and dining venues, and is just minutes from the beach. The 3,000-square-foot home was built in 1904 and has six bedrooms and four bathrooms. The home features stately fireplaces, 10-foot ceilings with crown molding, pine floors, wainscoting, and more. A 337-square-foot guest cottage with storage and workshop is included.
Fernandina Beach, FL
Delicious details: This 9-acre estate includes a Queen Anne Victorian built in 1894 with more than 3,000 square feet of living space, including four bedrooms and two baths. Recent updates include a kitchen addition with white oak cabinets, reclaimed board floors, a security system, high-speed internet, and new exterior paint. Vintage details remain, including the stained glass, and both front and rear stairs. The property comes with two barns, a detached garage, and pond.
Delicious details: From the curb, this whimsical home looks like something out of a children’s tale. But inside, the Tudor is roomy and modern, with an updated kitchen and bathroom. The two- bedroom, one-bathroom, 1,500-square-foot home was built in 1981 and is full of surprises—like the upstairs loft with built-in bunk beds, and an unfinished basement with endless possibilities.
Delicious details: Over the years, many visitors to the Laurel Highlands have stayed in this Victorian beauty, currently being operated as a B&B. The five-bedroom, three-bathroom, 2,000-square-foot house was built in 1902 and features a cedar wraparound porch, pellet stove, and large kitchen with butler’s pantry. Many furnishings are included in the purchase price.
Delicious details: Original elements of this 1895 Colonial include the gingerbread trim and pumpkin pine floors. The three-bedroom, 2.5-bath home features a lovely kitchen, and the dining room with built-in bar and wine area are new. The quarter-acre lot includes lush landscaping and slate patio. The location is just a short walk to the train to New York City.
Peapack Gladstone Boro, NJ
Delicious details: Sitting on three-quarters of an acre in a neighborhood of historic homes, this 1835-built carpenter Gothic gingerbread cuts an imposing figure from the curb. It’s filled with details like built-ins, and features a gorgeous glass, vaulted conservatory. The 3,100-square-foot home has four bedrooms and 3.5 baths. It features a modern interior, with a Shaker cherry kitchen, herringbone-patterned oak flooring, in-law suite, and more. Outside, a stone patio and heated, saltwater pool offer stylish and luxurious living and entertaining spaces.
Delicious details: Previously used as an office, this gingerbread home was built in 1894. The purchase price includes Architectural Review Board-approved plans for a new owner’s suite, for conversion to a residential space. The three-bedroom, 1.5-bathroom property sits on a half-acre with lush vegetation. Original features include the staircase, mantel, wood floors, and exterior architectural details.
Delicious details: This 3,700-square-foot home is in “moderate disrepair,” according to the listing, and the interiors are outdated. But when the five- bed, 2.5-bath abode was built in 1900, it was a showplace with a corner turret, front-facing gables, and ornate gingerbread trim. It was last renovated in 1995, including historically sensitive updates. The acre lot also includes a pool, patio and changing room, rear deck with gazebo, hot tub, and two-story garage.
Forest Hill, MD
Delicious details: This two- bedroom, one-bath, 875-square-foot cottage was originally built around 1900 and reconstructed in 1995 with specialty milled lumber and gingerbread detailing, metal ceilings, and wood floors—all the better to replicate the look popular in the area during the 1800s. Currently being offered as a popular short-term rental on Airbnb, the home is just blocks away from shopping and dining venues, and comes fully furnished.
Delicious details: This pink gingerbread is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, made famous by Rachel Paris, who set a children’s book there titled, “Silk Stocking Street.” Her parents, Henry and Pauline Paris, moved into the 4,500-square-foot abode in 1900. Many original details remain, including the front porch, gingerbread trim, stained glass, and gold leaf moldings. Other highlights of the four- bedroom, 2.5-bathroom house include a pool, pool house, and lush, mature landscaping.
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