Another in our “Housing Styles of San Francisco” blog series.
Although most laypeople use the term “Victorian” to describe the much-loved, unique styles for many of our homes in the Bay Area, Edwardians need to get a fair shake as an independent architectural style that stands on its own. But, what precisely is an Edwardian style home, and how to tell the two styles apart?
To begin with, there are actually more Edwardian-style homes in San Francisco than the famed Victorian. Unfortunately, this is because a multitude of Victorian houses was destroyed in the devastating 1906 earthquake and fire. Civilians were forced to rebuild their decimated city after the fact, and this period of re-growth just happened to coincide with the Edwardian period, named for King Edward VII, who was Queen Victoria’s son. Thus, countless Edwardian homes were constructed, and San Francisco became a largely architecturally Edwardian city.
The Edwardian period only lasted from 1901 to 1918, in comparison with the Victorian era, which lasted from 1825 until 1901. The considerable difference in length makes the presence of Edwardian homes in San Francisco all the more impressive. A large number can be found in areas that were heavily rebuilt after the earthquake and fire, including SOMA, downtown, and the Mission.
Edwardian homes reflect widespread cultural tastes of the early 20th century. San Francisco began veering away from the ornamentation of the Victorian period, and it was trendy for the wealthy to build less ostentatious homes. Though some Edwardian homes, such as Queen Annes, may still exude a Victorian-like appearance, they are mostly simpler in decoration. The Edwardian period saw the re-emergence of handcrafted homes and included arts and crafts, shingles, Tudor Revival, Mission Revival, and craftsman-style homes, among others.
A few criteria can help the average city dweller identify Edwardian homes. Most obviously, they don’t feature the embellishments typical of their Victorian counterparts. In addition to being less ornate, Edwardians are often lighter in color because designers were not concerned with soot, given the invention of gas and electric lighting.
Becoming an architectural expert may not be every San Franciscan’s goal, but at the very least, being aware of the complexity of local homes is a form of appreciation in itself. Just like the city as a whole, the history of San Francisco’s Edwardian homes is significant, and it makes wandering the streets even more enjoyable.
If you love Edwardian Home styles, we’ve made it easy to find one in San Francisco for sale! Browse listings of Edwardian-style homes in the bay area now!
Is it a Victorian or an Edwardian? SFGate helps break down the difference in styles in this blog post. And this Know Your Architectural Styles article from Curbed SF links to a great visual timeline. Finally, find the best choice of Edwardian, Victorian, and other homes for sale.