Exuberant trim on a San Francisco Italianate style house. Popularized by house plan books and its use by Queen Victorian for her summer home Osborne House, the Italianate style got a toehold before the Civil War. It took off after the war, with examples of the style appearing in all parts of the United States.
Many Italianate houses are asymmetrical in massing. This house has many character-defining features of the style, including the bracketed eaves, bay window, and matchboard siding. Wood-framed Victorian-era houses in northern California often have exceptionally exuberant millwork details.
Decorative brackets are a defining feature of these styles, appearing on almost all Italianate houses. Brackets are sometimes called “the” defining feature of the Italianate style, but examples do exist without them. Beyond the brackets, the possibilities are almost endless for what other trim elements you might find on these wonderful houses. The restrained paint colors on this house show off the detail nicely.
Chapter 2 of “Restoring Your Historic House, The Comprehensive Guide for Homeowners” includes hundreds of examples of 25 architectural styles and types.
Signed and personalized copies of the award-winning and bestselling 720-page hardcover book are available directly from the author in our shop, YourHistoricHouse.com/shop/.
The classic volume on identifying historic house styles, “A Field Guide to American Houses” by Virginia McAlester, is available in our shop with select restoration and preservation titles by other authors.
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