Queen Anne houses are brick with wood shingled or stuccoed upper floors, or wood with surfaces variously sided with clapboards (horizontal wood boards) and an assortment of shingle patterns. Houses are irregular in plan, asymmetrical in form, and have hip or multi-gabled roofs, or a combination of both. Towers, dormer windows, stained glass windows, bay windows, turrets (small towers at the corners of buildings), encircling porches, and tall chimneys with decorative brick patterns are typical. Queen Anne houses often have windows of many different designs. Elements of Gothic Revival, Stick Style, Eastlake, and Classic architecture may be included in houses of the style. Color was an important part of the Queen Anne style. First floors may have been painted one color, with a contrasting color used for upper stories, and one or more additional colors to highlight details.


Queen Anne is the style that represents "Victorian" to many people. It is visually the liveliest of the styles of the Victorian era and was popular in Cincinnati and throughout the United States. The style originated in England in 1868. Many of the elements of the style were borrowed from an earlier period of English architecture under the reign of Queen Anne, for whom the style was named. The Queen Anne style became fashionable in the United States in the late 1870s and reached Cincinnati in about 1880, Among neighborhoods that have large numbers of houses of the style are Northside, Avondale, Walnut Hills, and Clifton. These areas were largely developed in the 1880s and 90s because of the expansion of the electric streetcar system.


Evolving from Queen Anne was a style that exhibits many of its characteristics, the Shingle style. Shingle was a New England style that was not widely popular in Cincinnati. These later houses are also irregular in plan and many include turrets, towers, dormer windows, bay windows, and porches. Ornament is greatly reduced and roofs are lower pitched, giving houses a horizontal orientation, contrasting with the vertical look of Queen Anne houses. The most important feature of the style, from which it gets its name, are the wood shingles that were used to cover the entire house.