I am new to the city.  Although I am fascinated by the amazing architecture in San Francisco I have no idea what I am looking at.  What are the descriptions of each of the different home styles?  A Queen Anne property vs. Marina?

Ian Berke has done a great job with defining each of the different styles.  Each week I will feature a new definition.  Which do you dream to own or do own?

Since Danielle is in Italy this week we will define Italianate: Bay-windowed and Flat-fronted.

Italianate Signature Elements

  • Originally romantic country villas in 1840’s 
  • 1860’s Italianate row houses built in middle classes across America
  • California lacked cut stone so wood was used and included applied architectural elements; quoins at the corners of the house, over-sized brackets at the eaves. 
  • Bold brackets and entablatures
  • False parapet roofs (to conceal the gable roof)
  • Narrow vertically proportioned window and doors with projecting bracket hoods.



Flat-fronted Italianate Elements

  • Found in neighborhoods such as the Western Addition and the eastern parts of Pacific Heights.
  • Usually on larger lots, flat-fronted Italianate homes often have setbacks surrounding.  Although typically two story single-family homes or 2–unit buildings, there are a number of single-story homes built. 
  • These “cottages” are found in outlying Victorian-era neighborhoods such as Noe Valley and parts of Potrero Hill.
  • Typically two-stories
  • Three bays in width
  • Clad in rustic wood channel siding
  • Embellished with a modicum of redwood ornament, often disguised to resemble a stone
  • Most eye catching: bold bracketed cornices
  • Windows typically surmounted by flat window hoods or squeezed pediments
  • Recessed and capped entries by a bracketed portice hood


Bay-windows Italianate Elements

  • Supplanted the flat-fronted Italianted in the late 1870’s as increased cost shrunk lot sizes
  • Two bays in width
  • The bay window arose in order to increase the square footage of each floor and increase the amount of available light
  • So popular and widespread contemporary observers called San Francisco the “City of Bay Windows.”
  • Feature ornate columned porticos surmounted by turned balustrades.
  • Projecting window hoods
  • Large brackets and embellished with incised spandrel panels, pipe colonnetts and dentil course moldings




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