The Victorian Homes of San Francisco

San Francisco is lined with Victorian houses built on narrow plots of land creating tall, thin homes distinctive in style, the most iconic of which are the row of ginger bread gems set against the expansive skyline of this one of a kind city.

There are four distinct styles of Victorian homes beginning with Gothic Revival which was predominant in San Francisco from 1850 to 1880.  Homes of this style are easily identifiable with pointed arches over windows and doors, gabled roofs, and porches that extend the entire length of the home.

Italianate homes are best recognized through one distinctive feature, a tall cornice.  A cornice is defined as: the molded and projecting horizontal member that crowns an architectural composition, which you can see in the example below.

Stick style homes (yes, you heard it right) came onto the San Francisco scene around 1860 and may be the most prevalent type of Victorian homes in the city.  Decorative gables, wide bands of trim, and vertical lines are key features of stick style architecture.

Finally, Queen Anne architecture refers to homes combining elements from various styles of architecture, rather than homes from a particular time period as the name suggests.  Marked by towers and rounded window frames, this type of home has intricate details that make it one of a kind.

Many Victorian homes blend features of more than one style of architecture to create beautiful facades and opulent interiors. When I look in the windows, I can almost see gentlemen in crisp black overcoats and ladies in extravagant gowns moving through the shadows of a different place and time.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Little Skew
    Sep 02, 2011 @ 08:53:01

    The first picture is so cute with all the houses lined up together. Reminds me of a postcard

    The house in the last picture is amazing!


  2. RiverUnderWater
    Sep 02, 2011 @ 10:45:18

    I didn’t get a chance to see these last time I visited SF. IT is definitely on my agenda for next time (only a few weeks from now!!)


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