Published at Thursday, April 11th, 2019 - 10:37:54 AM. Home Decoration. By Adette Brandt.
Spindler is active in local preservationist and historic groups. But perhaps the most important connection she can make is with a capable contractor. While the exteriors of many San Francisco Victorians are protected by historic preservation ordinances, the interiors are generally not. Electricians and plumbers often suggest that the only way to update a Victorian is to tear out original walls. But Spindler knows it can be less expensive to drop pipes and other infrastructure straight through the homes balloon framing or to wire electrical lines through an attic than to tear out valuable, original plaster work. “The crazy things that people do to these poor old houses. The walls never look the same,” Spindler laments. She compares the work of contractors who skillfully retain old Victorian walls to that of arthroscopic surgeons, who use fiber optic technology and video cameras to avoid open surgery: “Its better for the patient in the long run.” While Spindler is glad to see more young people interested in historic homes, she acknowledges her niche is limited by the number of Victorians in her market, estimated to be around 7,500 single-family homes. “Its not a lot, and we lose more every year,” she says. “Theyre not making any more of them, obviously.”
Some prefer to locate them in the open for better views, to be social, or because of cultural traditions, says Topher Delaney, a garden designer with Delaney + Chin in San Francisco. “Many Hispanic families are very inclusive—at a hospital, weve seen 15 members of a family show up—while other groups want it quieter. You need to have different strategies to address different cultures,” he says. Accessibility is also an important feature in site selection. Langrall says its important to consider universal design principles for those with mobility issues or who want to age in place.
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