Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Exterior Adornments

My hometown is known for its "Painted Ladies" or more commonly referred to as Victorians.

This infamous Alameda Victorian has quite a history!


In 1895, a family purchased a brand-new Queen Anne Victorian on Central Avenue in Alameda for the royal sum of $4,380,  a majestic multistoried house outfitted with a turret, archway and bay windows.

After World War II, though many homes were needed for returning soldiers, and in keeping with the national trend of converting estates into apartments, the four-level house followed suit and was converted into a nine-unit apartment building.


The building's lively activity came to a halt about 40 years later, however, when the building fell victim to a bitter property dispute in a divorce.

The once lavish house was abandoned and neglected as the owners battled over the asset.

When the Victorian finally went on the market in 2012 , a local resident and his partner, owners of a property management company, acquired it and set about restoring it.


Where other potential buyers saw ugly, they saw great potential in the solid redwood structure.

The renovation team, which included up to 50 people on any given day, took three months to restore the building's Victorian grandeur with the additions of elegant, modern-day apartment-living touches.


The original wood floors, banisters, molding and pocket doors were sanded and repainted. The nearly 120 year old double hung windows that were stuck in place were salvaged so they function easily. Three 1930's stoves were refurbished and installed in three of the units' kitchens. Old sinks were polished back to life. Claw-foot bathtubs-one of which dates back to the early 1900's-were restored to mint condition.   

But clearly, the most dramatic touch has to be the black-and-white exterior!

The walls, stairs and trim provided a canvas for the graffiti-style adornments by San Francisco-based street artist Victor Reyes.

Over the course of 5 days, Reyes was equipped with a boom lift, 50 cans of spray and brush paint and a rough sketch from which he improvised freehandedly!

"This was my first project of this small scale, and in Alameda," says the artist known for his sweeping designs on large urban buildings.

The new owners admitted they were nervous about the public's reaction to the graffiti that strays from surrounding houses' traditional decor. But that quickly dissipated as passersby steadily stopped to take pictures and thank them for their financial and aesthetic contribution to the city.

What are your thoughts?


*Article, House With A History by Tiffany Carboni
  Alameda Magazine January/February 2013


Anonymous said...
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Yvonne @ StoneGable said...

What a great post! Don't you love when historic homes get a second life and are lovingly restored! I love the black and white... a great modern touch!

Nita Stacy said...

I love it! Usually, I like things restored pretty historically but in this case....it's just paint and it's done beautifully. Someone can always change it back easily and it stays with the over the top decorative feel of the house.

Unknown said...

Love, love, love!! So funky, and cool. What a terrific post about a very special home. Wonder what the neighbors think...

Loui♥ said...

Love it!

Sarah said...

Thumbs up from me! I think it looks terrific with its graffiti-style adornment. Thanks for sharing this very interesting post.

Anonymous said...

I think the painted ladies are charming. Your hometown seems like a great place to live - filled w/ charm and character. xo

Anonymous said...

I was told by George Gunn that the house was originally owned by the Baer family, whose business was grain brokering. They came from San Francisco. They later built the home where we live on Bay St., in 1909. Our home is a Craftsman, very different from the elegant Victorian. I was always sad to see the Victorian in such a sad state. Now, it is a wonder to behold!

kim at northerncalstyle. said...

What a fun story and I love seeing such a beautiful structure restored. It's lovely with the new black and white paint! What a great portico too.

What a charming town!