Bay Area Architecture: The Painted Ladies

Whether or not you are from the Bay Area you probably have heard of the famous Painted Ladies homes that line the streets of San Francisco. Their vivid colors and traditional architecture are fascinating and beautiful! This Victorian style gives San Francisco it’s charm, but did you know that there are multiple subcategories of Victorian architecture? Here’s a look at three…

Italianate: These were among the first type of Victorian homes created by Andrea Palladio in the 16th century. He pioneered the idea of using the design of massive Roman temples to inspire residential homes. At the same time on British terrain the picturesque movement began where they similarly started veering away from the formal and royal style and more toward an unbalanced and unique look. Later on American soil Henry Austin and Jackson Davis, two well known architects of the 17th century, duplicated the style making it a staple in the history of architecture here in the states.

Stick: The Stick style came a few years later in America, and is known for embracing the wooden bones of a home, making them a visible and decorative part of the exterior rather than staying within the structure of the walls. Gervase Wheeler, an English immigrant, architect, and author wrote multiple books on this style of architecture and stood firm in his belief that ‘buildings should be structurally truthful’. He used trimmings like porch steps and detailed railings to compliment the wood detailing.

Queen Anne: Have you ever heard the phrase less is more? Well, with the Queen Anne architectural style that could not be farther from the truth! This style was founded in England but quickly made its way to America as well. This is probably the most popular of the three and likely the most common to stumble upon. In England this style could be easily pointed out based on the mass amounts of brick incorporated in the design, but once it claimed it’s fame in the U.S. it became much more inclusive and eclectic. These homes often have bell shaped towers, clapboard paneling, and a gable roof.