Painted Ladies is a term coined by Elizabeth Pomada and Michael Larsen in their book Painted Ladies – San Francisco’s Resplendent Victorians (E.P. Dutton, New York, 1978). The term has become widely used in American Architecture to refer to Victorian and Edwardian style homes that are painted in 3 or more colors to highlight the ruffles and flourishes of the building design.
About 48,000 homes were built in San Francisco in the Victorian and Edwardian style from 1849 to 1915. Newspaper articles at the time commented on how loud and in-fashion the local homes were being painted from tip to toe. Sadly, the 1906 earthquake destroyed many of the glorious homes on Nob Hill, although many did survive in other neighborhoods of the city. During WWII, some were painted battleship gray with surplus army paint. During the 1960s, happily, the trend swung back in favor of the bright intense colors in what has become known as the Colorist Movement.
Of course, there are now recognized Painted Ladies in many other cities as well – Baltimore, New Orleans, and Cape May to name just a few.
One of the most famous rows of Painted Ladies in San Francisco (pictured here with our Chloe’ Drew Flower Patchwork Bag) is on Steiner Street across from Alamo Square. This row of homes has appeared in scores of movies, TV programs, and advertisements, including the opening credits of the TV show Full House, now with Netflix producing a reunion Fuller House.
We were especially delighted to visit this row of Painted Ladies on Steiner Street in San Francisco. And, we found our Chloe’ Drew bag to feel right at home, almost like welcoming another generation.
Here, our tribute to Painted Ladies everywhere.