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Some Humble Abodes

When you think of San Francisco do you think about my favorite Bread Bakery that makes the most awseome loaves to be found in Northern California? No? OK how about architecture? Oh now I see your eyes light up. Gingerbread houses whose 4-color paint jobs cost more than n entire house in Kansas. Yes, yes, yes.... But you know what they say: "Seen one Victorian house, seen 'em all..." But that's not true, the Victorians of San Francisco are not the "Little Boxes" of Daily City fame. There are uncounted scads of really nice Victorian houses in San Francisco and if I was to take pictures of the best of them I couldn't afford the film... er... hard drive space. Besides, San Francisco has many more syles of houses beyond Victorians. This a selection of a few that I have shot in the past month or so.


And we will start with this spectacular Midcentury Modern Stucco. Built in 1950, it is a marvelous study in thirds. As a 5 bedroom, 4 bath house it wouldn't be too bad of a place to hank out on the weekend.


This house wasn't originally built with stucco. The way I heard it, during the '40s, '50s & '60s owners of these houses were pitched to change the siding over to stucco "because the maintenance of stucco was so much easier." The place I am staying in right now was stucco when the owner purchased it. He converted it back to wood siding and put back the gingerbread. He disagrees about stucco being easier to maintain. Perhaps that has something to do with coating a large structure with a thin, brittle material in an earthquake zone. Then again, maybe he is just persnickety.


That being said, I think the look of a stuccoed Victorian is kinda cool in its own way. Something like this apartment building reminds me of a cake coated in fondant. I'm guessing this one would be butterscotch flavored.

And it is so cool when the owners springs to have a texture added to their stuccoed finish. It is icing on the cake, so to speak. But I am undecided about this one. Is it banana flavored or lemon?

San Francisco House

Nicely shaped stucco, beautiful ironwork, wild windows and excessive ornamentation. This old house is a standout on it's block.

Mix and Match

Along every street you will find a wide range of Victorian styles. Right next to each other you have Queen Anne, Italianate & Victorian Stick. Yes, this is not a slam them up in a month housing development.

Not a Swiss Chalet

This house is on the south side of Bernal Hill. I like it because it has a nice patina and its appearance seems so out of context for San Francisco... and I like taking pictures of old, beat-up houses.


These folks didn't stop after painting their garage door... they added a 14-foot sculpture and two welcoming chairs to add charm to their neighborhood.

The crisp brick piles in the Presidio fit nicely with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.

Back Alley Cubism

I like to wander into back alleys where you find no gingerbread. Function is the name of the game. Windows are there for the tenants to look out of, not for passers-by to admire. Just as plants in a jungle jockey for sunlight it seems these buildings are scrabbling for a view.

Coin-op Laundry

A cute little array of Storefronts and apartments.

Bent Corner

It's really not about the sky. I was struck by the way the architect decided to handle the weirdly angled corner. The house is on the North Side of Buena Vista Park (which has an excellent selection of houses and apartments girding it.) The featureless overhang of the top story gives it the feeling of something from a Tim Burton movie.

Photography Posts
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Keywords in This Article

San Francisco
Midcentury Modern

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