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Reclaiming Edwardian design in San Francisco

21 Sep 2012 8:26 AM
Reclaiming Edwardian design in San Francisco

There was a time when many of San Francisco's luxury homes were designed to be ornate and opulent - doorways were emblazoned with intricate patterns and walls were covered with large and baroque works of art. As sustainability and simplicity have gained a foothold, however, this trend seems to be reversing. Now, many of the city's most stylish residents are embracing scaled-down, mindfully laid out homes.

One such example is the Eddie House. Named after the Edwardian period in which it was designed, this century-old home was recently included on a tour of the Bay Area's most distinctive residences, according to The San Francisco Chronicle. Mimi Chen, principal architect of Three Legged Pig Design, renovated the home starting in 2011, and the house is now a testament to simplicity and function-first design.

In many ways, Chen is returning to the building's original spirit. When it first came about, Edwardian architecture was seen as a move away from the excesses of its Victorian predecessor. The new style prized expert craftsmanship and utility over ostentatious designs. Over the years, much of San Francisco's architecture gradually shifted back from the age of Edwardian simplicity and toward a more complicated style.

With the Eddie, though, Chen is trying to reclaim the Edwardian movement's elegance and unadorned nature.

"One of the things I like in a home is pure circulation," she told the news source. To this end, she has designed the Eddie to shift easily between functions, such as a hallway that could serve as a pantry with a few simple adjustments. "I try to incorporate other functions [in a given space]."

Although functionality is important to Chen, one of the main benefits of a pared-down style is energy conservation. The Bay Area is one of the most environmentally focused regions in the country, and it has become increasingly important for designers to emphasize sustainability in their projects. In this way, the Eddie is another helpful guide for design-minded residents of San Francisco.

Solar panels and high energy efficiency make the Eddie an obvious inclusion on the American Institute of Architects' 10th annual San Francisco Living: Homes Tours weekend. Along with other sustainable and modern homes, the Eddie will be shown as a demonstration of the constantly evolving residential real estate design trends in the city.

They may not be new, but simple, efficient homes are certainly part of the Bay Area's real estate legacy.