The Victorians of… Albuquerque

I’ve been spending some time in Albuquerque, NM lately. It’s a lovely town, as long as oxygen (it’s at about 5,000 feet above sea level), trees, or water aren’t on your list of must haves.

(click any image below for a larger version and slide show)

The homes that I took pictures of on this particular visit are located in the Huning Highland Historic District, which is very close to the Highland Park, near the Albuquerque Press Club.

Living in San Francisco, I was struck by how much space there were between the homes. When I think Victorian, I don’t think fully detached homes. But in Albuquerque, the Victorian homes were pretty much all fully detached. They were beautiful, in their own rambling and sprawling way.

And, as you can see from a good look at the pictures, the Victorian homes of Albuquerque range from the beautifully restored and well done to the burnt-out and condemned “opportunities” that are awaiting a loving family to come along and restore these homes to their former glory.

The Victorian homes of Albquerque are also right next to another fascinating building, the Hotel Parc Central. The Hotel Parc Central was originally built as a company hospital by the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad. When the railroad was no longer able to financially suppor the hospital, it closed, and over the years was a variety of things. Before becoming a hotel, it was a psychiatric lockdown facility, and you can google the internet for some rather horrifying stories, as well as plenty of stories about hauntings in the building.

The Victorians of Albuquerque are located in what we would call a “transitional” neighborhood, and it will be interesting to see how the neighborhood continues to develop and change. Regardless, if you ever find yourself in Albuquerque and want to do something a bit off the beaten path, I’d encourage you to take a look at these beautiful Victorian homes.

I’d Love an Edwardian Loft (NOT)!

Some lofts are beautiful. Conversion lofts, for example, offer some incredibly beautiful living spaces in San Francisco. Unfortunately, there were only so many abandoned warehouses that could be converted, so once developers ran out of historic buildings to convert, they got busy in the 1990’s and early 2000’s building some rather horrendous loft buildings.

Feeling Like an Edwardian... Loft?

Take the loft building pictured above (address not given out on request) which appears to be… an Edwardian loft!

Without wading too deep into the architectural arguments about what makes a Victorian a Victorian, an Edwardian an Ewardian, and so on and so-forth, let’s just roll with the following guide (from SF planning):

Period — Edwardian (1901-1910). Frequently, historic resources in San Francisco are referred to as “Edwardian,” in design and appearance. The term “Edwardian” was created to describe architecture produced in Great Britain and its colonies from 1901 to 1910, with the reign of Edward VII. Edwardian architecture encompasses a number of styles, with five main strands identified: Gothic Revival, Arts and Crafts, Neo-Georgian, Baroque Revival and the Beaux-Arts style. Interpreted in the United States and in San Francisco, the term “Edwardian” is often associated with multi-unit flats or apartment buildings constructed at the beginning of the 20th century.

And why do I object to this… Edwardian Loft?

  • Sorry, but I don’t think lofts were meant to have dentil mouldings.
  • While I’ll allow a bay window is acceptable in a loft, the slanted style of these bay windows just seems sad and half-hearted. While they work in an Italianate victorian, they don’t translate to a loft.
  • The decorative horizontal strips of wood between the window bays are… ugly.
  • Stucco, people, stucco!

So here’s my rather obvious advice: If you want an Edwardian, but an Edwardian. If you want a loft, buy a loft. But there is no such thing as the “best of both worlds” that combines an Edwardian with a loft.


Help Me – What’s This Window Style?

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Today is Tuesday Broker’s Tour, which means I will shortly be out and about looking at homes all over San Francisco. While I was out last week, though, I drove past the home pictured above.

I have never, ever seen a window like the one pictured above. While I suppose it is possible that some strange settling effect has bowed a flat window out, my hunch is that the effect was intentional. Do any of our awesome readers know anything about this window style? Does it have a name? I’ve looked the home up in the MLS, and it hasn’t been for sale for at least the past 10 years (in fact, according to the San Francisco tax records the last sale happened in 1981), so I can’t offer you any juicy tidbits from the MLS.

The home was built in 1940, and is in the Merced Manor neighborhood of San Francisco, not too far from 20th Ave. and Eucalyptus.

So what can you tell me about this window? Is gravity having an effect? Is the roof crushing it into a crazy shape? Or was it built this way on purpose? If this is your home, your neighbor’s home, or you just happen to be incredibly educated about window styles in San Francisco, please drop us a comment and let us know!


Victorian Abuse

I’ve written about Victorian abuse before, and this morning I noticed another rather egregious example at the corner of Fell and Divisadero (NOPA, for those of you keeping track of such things).

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As you can see from the above photo slideshow, behind the scaffolding and with a fresh paint job, the Victorian at the corner of Fell and Divisadero was once a glorious structure that has suffered the ignominy of having a liquor store installed behind an industrial roll-up garage door on the ground floor.

And it’s wrong, I tell you, wrong! Victorian homes weren’t designed with garages (or liquor stores) in mind, but couldn’t we at least do something (even slightly) tasteful at the ground level? I’m not sure there is really a way to take a corner liquor store “high-class” but couldn’t we at least soften the harsh industrial ghetto vibe from roll-up garage door? Pretty please?

That’s Rather Lovely in… Pacific Heights

This week was the first Zephyr sales meeting of the year, and one of the first properties we toured was a top floor condo at 2950 Clay St. #302 listed by Danielle Lazier. If you are in the market for a condo in Pacific Heights, I’d encourage you to check it out. According to the tax records, it last sold in October of 2010 for $740,000.

While we were in the neighborhood looking for a parking spot, we drove by the home pictured below, and while driving by, for whatever reason, it caught my eye and I thought to myself “That’s Rather Lovely…” so I drove around the block again and took a picture.

The home is in the 2900 block of Washington St. and according to the tax records it is a 2 unit building with total building square footage of 2,840 square feet. It appears to have been in the same family for quite a while given that the annual tax bill for the building is a meager $2,464, and the only transaction noted in the tax record was a 2010 transfer from an individual to a family trust. Tax records also indicate it was built in 1900, which means a trip to the water department would be in order if you wanted to know the actual construction date.

That's Rather Lovely in Pacific Heights

It is located pretty much directly across the street from the Waldorf school of San Francisco, which certainly brings some traffic to the street (but you can be sure none of those cars will have a TV mounted in the back seat of the car, although that is a story for another day entirely).

Do you know anything else about this rather lovely Pacific Heights building? Know of a home that you think is rather lovely in SF? Share away in the comments below, and we’ll see if we can make this a regular 2012 feature.