November 17, 2006
A Victorian Grande Dame Opens Its Doors
As this is San Francisco, we’d be remiss not to point out a “Victorian Grande Dame” that’s open this weekend for your browsing (or buying) pleasure. If you go, consider taking a camera and snapping a better picture (or two) for the SocketSite archives. You know we’d do the same for you.
First Published: November 17, 2006 3:14 PM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
I'd love to have one of these ladies one day. But I always wonder how practical it is. I rented a room in a turn of the century (1900's, that is) home in Sacramento for a year, and although it was pretty to look at, it was pretty miserable to live in. Plumbing sucked, electricity was unpredictable.
I'm sure it's a house-by-house thing, but in general, how much work do you have to do to get these homes up to "modern" standards? Also, does anyone know how energy efficient, or inefficient these Victorians are?
Posted by: 49Giants at November 17, 2006 3:37 PM
A lot of these Victorians were built very solidly, with big thick redwood framing, and are still solid as a rock. I lived in an 1880's era flat on McAllister Street that had a foot of ash between the upstairs flat and the downstairs flat...presumably as sound insulation (?). In any case, I was very impressed with the quality of construction as well as the finishes. Cold as hell though...largely because of all those single pane windows and the lack of central heating. Renovations always put in central heating...but it can be tricky to do, particularly for flats. Replacing windows isn't cheap either, and sometimes inappropriate or nearly impossible (eg those curved window in turrets).
On the other hand, my current home is more of a production Edwardian from the turn of the century in the Castro. Looks pretty on the outside, but when I renovated it I found that the quality of the original construction was really pretty terrible. Everything had to be reinforced, from the garage to the roof.
That's the difference between the 1880's in Alamo Square (upper class) and 1900's Eureka Valley (middle class). No matter what the neighborhood is like now, the quality of buildings depends on what it was like then.
BTW...anyone buying a "painted lady" should consider which way the lady faces. A north facing paint job will last much longer than a south facing one. And those paint jobs don't come cheap!
Posted by: curmudgeon at November 17, 2006 6:06 PM
My house is a 1907 'cottage' on Potrero Hill, and the contractors love it because it's so solid. It has huge structural beams of virgin redwood and 2 subfloors under the floor. It has double the wood of a contemporary house. It had central heating when we moved in. We upgraded the electric and plumbing which wasn't too expensive. The back of the house is south facing so we ususally don't even use the heating.
Posted by: minka at November 18, 2006 7:02 PM