I have just returned from a trip to San Francisco and it was a wonderful completion of a very important bucket list destination.
As I am a student and lover of architecture, this seemed like the place to go to get my visual fill of Victorian, Art Deco and all iconic types of buildings and homes.
As I did in New York, the first thing I did was hop on a tour bus and let it whisk me around the city as I made notes of the places I
would like to visit in more detail.
As I was taking it all in, I was reminded of the charm of the city of Lacombe as I viewed flat iron buildings and unique Victorian homes. Imagine the best heritage elements of Lacombe multiplied by 1,000, it’s enough to make a girl’s head spin!
It’s hard to put a finger on an architectural definition of San Francisco as it varies greatly from neighbourhood to neighbourhood but one thing stands out – the city is vertical.
Houses, apartments, buildings, hotels – no space is wasted.
Barely one single-storey residence or business exists in this lovely city, everyone and everything is stacked decoratively like a fashionably layered gingerbread cake. Details on homes are accentuated by bold spots of colour and highlighted by gold and copper leaf. It’s like the residents of San Francisco know that they are residing in spectacular historic buildings and have no qualms about showing them off !
San Francisco is famous for their Victorian homes called ‘The Painted Ladies’ which use at least two or three colours on the exterior of the home to enhance its architectural details. There is very little beige or white used on these beauties!
They stand proud and beautiful (even if a bit faded) like aging Hollywood beauty queens still vying for attention from a long remembered crowd of fans. The homes are dipped and striped in candy colours which cause your eye to instantly draw to the detail they are determined to show off.
It is the same effect that a feature wall has in a room, you will be visually taken to that space whether you want to be or not!
It is a very effective way for people to add some visual interest to a square room that may not have any outstanding details. Wallpaper, thin brick, wood planking and faux finishes will also give you a sense of ‘something more’ in your room. There may be places in your space that scream for a feature presentation or it may just be adding interesting to the uninteresting.
For those of you in Lacombe living in one of these ancient beauties, be bold and consider the inspiration of the Painted Ladies next time you are choosing your exterior colours.
It might shock your neighbours but I promise it will bring delight and inspiration to every person who travels by. There are already a few of you out there who have embraced the gentle sways and curves of your homes and I love seeing those creative paint combinations popping out in various neighbourhoods.
Lacombe has the architectural potential to be a visual gem and tourist destination in Central Alberta. The buildings and adorable homes are already there, it just may be time for its residents to get creative!
Kim Meckler is an interior designer in Red Deer with Carpet Colour Centre.