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Why We Love San Francisco Victorian Homes

Why We Love San Francisco Victorian Homes

San Francisco is home to many architectural styles, but arguably the most popular is the Victorian house. This is a general term for houses built in the Victorian era, and there are in fact Victorian homes all over the world.

Victorian Architecture

Victorian architecture refers to styles that came out during the reign of Queen Victoria, a period between 1830 and 1910. It is interesting to note that although we talk about “Victorians” as if it is one style, there are actually several styles that fall under the Victorian label, some of the most popular being Gothic Revival, Italianate, Queen Anne, Volk Victorian, Shingle, Stick, Richardsonian Romanesque, East Lake and Octagon. You can learn more about each individual Victorian style by visiting the pin below.

Victorian Elements

If Victorian homes are actually multiple styles, how are they united and recognized as Victorian? While each style has its own variation, there are several key elements that group them together. This includes:

  • Large, imposing homes of two or three stories.
  • One story porches, often wraparound.
  • Steep, multi-faceted roofs.
  • Decorative trim often called “gingerbread.”
  • Vibrant colors.
  • Complicated and asymmetrical shape.

You can learn more about the Victorian architectural style including key elements and famous examples in the pin below.

Victorian Preservation

With a 105-185 year history, many Victorian homes have not survived over the years, but there are still many beautiful Victorians standing in the San Francisco Bay area, as well as all over the country and all over the world. They exist thanks to homeowners who have preserved and restored them over time. Helping the cause are several Victorian preservation societies, like the national Victorian Society in America, headquartered in Philadelphia.

San Francisco even has its own non-profit Victorian preservation society called the Victorian Alliance of San Francisco. The Alliance offers grants for restoring and preserving historical buildings as well as occasional house tours so residents and tourists can see inside the area’s beautiful Victorian homes.

San Francisco Victorians – The Painted Ladies

The most famous Victorian houses in San Francisco are the “Painted Ladies” – a row of colorful Victorians located at 710-720 Steiner St. They are also known as the Alamo Square Postcard Row, referring to the fact that this is a highly photographed area and a popular tourist attraction where photographers can get a picture of the famous houses with the city skyline in the background. You can learn more about the history of the Painted Ladies in the pin below.

And if you want an even closer look, check out this pin that takes you inside one of the famous Painted Lady Victorian homes.

San Francisco Victorians – Tourism & Media

If you travel to San Francisco then you can get an up close view of San Francisco’s Victorian houses via the San Francisco Home Walk – a historical walking tour where you can learn the history of San Francisco through its architecture.

But even if you haven’t visited San Francisco, you’ve likely encountered the city’s famous Victorians. The Painted Ladies have appeared in an estimated 70 movies and television shows, including the opening credits of Full House, Mrs. Doubtfire, Party of Five, and Pacific Heights.

MB Jessee San Francisco Victorian Painting

MB Jessee has been honored to work on several Victorian houses in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the project shown below. You’ll notice many of the classic Victorian elements – a large multiple story house with a one story porch, beautiful colors, and intricate detailing.

A closer picture gives you a better look at the ‘gingerbread’ patterns and details.

Victorian homes have inspired and amazed us for over a century. With proper preservation and restoration, they will continue to delight viewers for centuries to come.

MB Jessee offers interior and exterior painting for San Francisco Bay Area Victorian homes, including custom colors, wood stains, and decorative finishes. Call us to discuss your next painting project at (510) 655-7000, or get more information here.

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