Painted Ladies In San Francisco

More History Cost And Size

S.F.s Painted Ladies Are Iconic. Here’s What It’s Like to Own One of Them

How big are the Painted Ladies along Alamo Square, and how much do they cost?

According to public records, the biggest one, 722 Steiner Street, was built first in 1892. Its around 4,700 square feet and is estimated at around $4.5 to $5 million.

I think this estimate is incredibly low since it’s the biggest, but it sold in 2014 for $3.1 million. At the time, it sold for under asking. Im guessing it needed some work.

The original builder and owner of 722 Steiner Street also built all the other six similar houses along Postcard Row.

The next one built was 710 Steiner, which is on the south side. It was built in 1894. It’s around 2,500 square feet.

Next was 712 Steiner Street, which is around 2,600 square feet.

The other four were all built around the same time, with the final one completed around 1896. They vary in size from 2,400 to 2,900 square feet. They are estimated at around $3.5 to $4.5 million each.

Even though they look the same from across the street, each is unique!

The most famous owner over the years lived at 720 Steiner. It was the home to Alice Walker, who wrote The Color Purple. She lived here in the mid-1990s. She was very social and would host famous people at her parties. However, her neighbors were not fans of her late-night concerts in her garden.

Now for the best part: For years, no one could get a peek inside, but lately, the owners of these homes have started to open their doors to the public.

History Of This Sf District

You wouldn’t know it now, but this used to be a suburb. Back in the 1850s, the land was just sand dunes. However, when a group of wealthy businessmen wanted to move further away from the city, they selected this area as their new home.

Development in this San Francisco neighborhood boomed from the 1870s to the 1890s. Residents built a variety of Victorian houses, from the well-known Queen Anne style to the more modest Stick style.

The ground in this area is more stable than in most other neighborhoods in the city, so the 1906 earthquake did not destroy very many Victorians here.

In the 1960s, owners began to revitalize the houses in this district. They began to rehab their houses and paint them with lively colors. Locals and tourists alike loved them and began to visit them frequently. You will also see the outside of them featured in several movies and TV shows.

More Around The San Francisco Haight Ashbury District

You will also find several others in and around the HaightAshbury District. I also like to explore the area just to the west of the FourSeasons Painted Ladies. You will find several beautiful houses in this area.

There is also an exciting row called the Haight AshburyPainted Ladies on Central Avenue at Haight Street . They are brightlycolored and are an excellent set to photograph.

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Painted Ladies: Artisan Brunch Food Tour

This is a fun way to explore this district and see Alamo Square.

Your tour starts at a few spots along Divisadero Street where you will sample coffee and local goodies. Each time you stop for samples, your local guide will tell you a story about San Francisco and this district’s history.

You’ll then make your way over to the Painted Ladies where you’ll find the perfect spot for a photo. You’ll spend a few minutes here and then head down to Hayes Valley.

This tour finishes with two more tastings in this district.

The tour lasts about 2.5 to 3 hours.

> > Find out more about this tour including ticketing details

The Painted Ladies On Postcard Row: One Of Americas Most Recognizable Blocks

Painted Ladies At Alamo Square In San Francisco Editorial Photo

Sometimes referred to as Postcard Row, the iconic homes are also known as the Seven Sisters.

The Painted Ladies were built between 1892 and 1896 by developer Matthew Kavanaugh, who lived next door at 722 Steiner Street. Kavanaughs house is considered to be the 7th sister, even though it doesnt share the same design as the rest of its neighbors.

With their emblematic Queen Anne-style architecture, the Painted Ladies are reminiscent of the Victorian building boom that began after the 1849 gold rush, when the citys population started growing significantly, spurring the need for extra housing.

But their rise to fame came a little later, in the 1960s, when they were repainted in bright colors that embellish and enhance their architectural details.

While theyre infamously seen in the opening credits of Full House and Fuller House, the Painted Ladies have also appeared in an estimated 70 ads, movies and television programs throughout the years.

Theyre also one of San Franciscos most popular tourist destination. Other than the Golden Gate Bridge, no other spot in all of San Francisco is as frequently Instagrammed as this idyllic row of homes that sits on the east side of Steiner Street.

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A Lady Has Recently Been Listed For Sale

Look at the Lady that just hit the market!

In May 2022, the current owner of the Painted Pink Lady, Leah Culver, listed the iconic home.

It is with a heavy heart that Ive decided to sell the Pink Painted Lady, Culver announced via.

This was an extremely difficult decision that I have been considering for several months. Ive come to realize that I do not have enough time or resources to dedicate to truly restoring this home with the care and attention to detail that it deserves.

Culver shares a link in her bio for interested buyers, and adds her hopes for the future residents of 714 Steiner Street.

I would love to transition to a new owner who cares as much as I do about this special home, writes Culver. Thats why I am listing it for sale for the same price I purchased it for and am including the current building plans, permits, and social media accounts with the sale .

Listed at $3.55 million, the 2,996-square-foot 19th century home offers 5 bedrooms and 3.5 baths, as well as the opportunity to literally own a piece of San Francisco.

This naturally got us thinking: How much do the other Painted Ladies cost? So we set out to find the answer.

Looking at both past selling prices and current market estimates, we used public records and popular real estate portals like Zillow, Redfin, and to narrow it down and place a $$$ figure next to each property set on the infamous Postcard Row.

The Victorian Painted Ladies In San Francisco

The most famous Victorian Painted Ladies in San Francisco are across from the park on Steiner Street. The addresses for them are 710720 Steiner Street. These seven beauties line up side-by-side for a picture-perfect scene. They are known as the “Seven Sisters.”

This set of Painted Ladies stands out because they are all similar and have a beautiful view of downtown behind them. During your visit, walk up Hayes Street about a block to Pierce Street to get that perfect picture. You may recognize this famous image from the TV series “Full House.”

The houses are all privately owned, so you are not able to go inside for a visit. However, you can spend all the time you want admiring them from the street or the park across the street. Please be respectful to the owners and do not try to visit the properties.

What is the definition of a painted lady? Any Victorian or Edwardian home with three or more paint colors is considered a painted lady, so even though the Seven Sisters on Steiner Street are the most famous, there are several more in the neighborhood to enjoy.

To find the greatest Victorians in the Alamo Square San Francisco district, you can just walk up and down the streets. Some of my favorite streets to find other Painted Ladies in San Francisco include:

In addition, you will also find gorgeous Painted Ladies in San Francisco in other districts too. You will find a large concentration in the Haight-Ashbury, the Lower Haight, and Pacific Heights.

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San Francisco’s Painted Ladies

About 48,000 houses in the Victorian and Edwardian styles were built in San Francisco between 1849 and 1915 , and many were painted in bright colors. As one newspaper critic noted in 1885, “⦠red, yellow, chocolate, orange, everything that is loud is in fashion ⦠if the upper stories are not of red or blue ⦠they are painted up into uncouth panels of yellow and brown ⦔ While many of the mansions of Nob Hill were destroyed by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, thousands of the mass-produced, more modest houses survived in the western and southern neighborhoods of the city.

During World War I and World War II, many of these houses were painted battleship gray with war-surplus Navy paint. Another sixteen thousand were demolished, and many others had the Victorian decor stripped off or covered with tarpaper, brick, stucco, or aluminum siding.

In 1963, San Francisco artist Butch Kardum began combining intense blues and greens on the exterior of his Italianate-style Victorian house. His house was criticized by some, but other neighbors began to copy the bright colors on their own houses. Kardum became a color designer, and he and other artists / colorists such as Tony Canaletich, Bob Buckter, and Jazon Wonders began to transform dozens of gray houses into Painted Ladies. By the 1970s, the colorist movement, as it was called, had changed entire streets and neighborhoods. This process continues to this day.

The House Has Been Significantly Changed Over Time And Much Of The Interior Finishes Are In Disrepair The Listing Says

The Painted Ladies and Nob Hill- San Francisco Full City Guide – Travel & Discover

When Culver bought the house, she knew how much work it would take to restore it.

“It’s unclear, based on city records, when the house was last remodeled,” she said. “When I bought it, it was in a condition that needed some repair.”

Despite the interior overhaul required, the overall building was still sturdy, she said. Culver told Insider’s Katie Canales in a 2020 interview that she initially expected renovations to cost about $3 million.

“I wanted to reorganize the rooms in the house and lay it out closer to its original configuration,” she said. “The seven houses used to have a similar interior layout, but over time, 714 Steiner was modified and broken up into a different layout from the original.”

It took a while to obtain building permits, in part because of the pandemic, and she never got around to renovating the home.

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Other Places To Stay In Alamo Square

The Grove Inn: 890 Grove Street

  • Warm and friendly atmosphere in this 16-room bed and breakfast
  • Gorgeous location on a tree-lined street with several Painted Ladies just steps away
  • Free high-speed internet access
  • Rooms start at around $195 a night

Casa Loma Hotel: 610 Fillmore Street

  • Inexpensive, clean 48-room hotel with both private and shared bathrooms
  • Budget friendly, but because of its older construction, it can be loud
  • Amenities include wireless internet, laundry, and vending machines
  • Rooms start at around $75 a night

Find reviews and competitive prices for these and other great hotels on TripAdvisor.

When Leah Culver Bought One Of San Francisco’s Painted Ladies In January 2020 She Couldn’t Wait To Renovate It And Move Into Her New Home

Culver bought the home at 714 Steiner St. in January 2020 for $3.55 million, above its asking price of $2.75 million, listing records show.

Before she took over, the house had been with the previous owners for the 60 years, Culver told The Wall Street Journal. Property ownership was transferred within the previous family during that period.

“I nicknamed it the Pink Painted Lady with the intention to paint it pink when I was finished remodeling. It is currently a beige with reddish-brown trim, but it was bright pink in the 1970s,” Culver said, citing historical images of the home in the “Max Kirkeberg Collection” at San Francisco State University.

But then the pandemic struck, and two years later, she’s selling the house without ever having lived in it.

“My job got busier. My life just got crazier I got married, and I moved in with my husband,” Culver told Insider.

“As time went on, I decided to focus on other things,” the software developer, who works for Twitter, added.

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How To Get To Painted Ladies From Fishermans Wharf

If your journey to San Francisco begins at Fishermans Wharf, you can get to the Painted Ladies using the citys transit system. Walk to North Point St. & Jones St., then take the #49 bus to Van Ness & McAllister. From there, catch the #5 bus to McAllister & Pierce. Get off, take a left onto Pierce Street, and then turn onto Steiner Street.

Drivers may find local traffic to be a bit challenging. Based on variations in traffic, it is probably best to either ride transit, utilize a navigation app like Waze, or simply hail an Uber or Lyft.

Tours: Guided Walking And Other Tour Options

Painted Ladies, San Francisco, California

These are a few guided tours that include the Painted Ladies of Alamo Square. Some are dedicated to this district, while others will take you near the Seven Sisters for a closer look.

Hop On Hop Off Bus: The Hop On Hop Off Bus is a great way to get here. The Big Bus San Francisco buses offer several stops and one of them is a few blocks away from these Painted Ladies. You can learn all about them before you hop off and then enjoy them for as long as you want. Find out more about their options here.

Electric Bike Tour: On this four-hour guided electric bike tour, you will cruise through top districts and past some of the best San Francisco attractions. Along the way, you will cruise past the Seven Sisters and learn more about them from your knowledgeable guide. Find out more about this tour here.

A Perfect Day in Civic Center & Alamo Square: This self-guided tour offers you the chance to visit both of these neighborhoods in just one day. This easy-to-follow route includes morning visits to the Asian Art Museum and City Hall. You will then grab some lunch and get an afternoon view of the Painted Ladies of Alamo Square. It’s a fun way to spend the day and see all of the best sites these two districts have to offer.

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Four Seasons Painted Ladies

Another set of San Franciscos Painted Ladies that are starting to get noticed is the Four Seasons. This set is in the Haight Ashbury District.

Its four Victorian houses along Waller Street. Their addresses are 1315, 1321/1323, 1327, and 1333 Waller Street.

These four similar-looking, colorful Victorian houses all have ornate details. Each one is considered a “season” based on its colors and a square with art inside it, which is located outside the house on its second floor.

This group of homes was also built in the 1890s.

“Winter,” the one at 1315 Waller, was the first to be built. The man who built it was John A. Whelan, a shipwright, and real estate developer. Its a Queen Anne style Victorian painted in blues and greens with a snowflake on it, which is why its dubbed “Winter.”

It sits on the eastern end of these four houses.

The one on the western end is “Fall” due to its bright red colors.

This set is a little more challenging to photograph, but they are a brilliant display of colors for Painted Ladies in San Francisco.

These four aren’t the only beauties on this block. Its neighbors also feature beautiful colors and details, so you’ll have plenty of pictures to take as you walk by them.

> > More about visiting the Haight

The Other San Francisco Victorian Houses

The ones Ive told you about so far are the most famous Painted Ladies, but actually, every Victorian house with 3 or more colors is considered a Painted Lady, and San Francisco is full of these fine examples of Victorian architecture. If youre curious, you can go in search of these homes that also deserve to be photographed.

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George Horsfall Lives In One Of The Painted Ladies Homes In San Francisco Heres How He Came To Own It And Why He Loves The Tourists

They must feel like a goldfish every hour of their lives.

That was my thought the first few hundred times I looked at the Painted Ladies houses along Alamo Square. I felt a little pity or at least as much pity as can be mustered for someone living in a stunning house in San Francisco.

It seemed like some kind of dark magic curse: Your home is on puzzles for sale at the San Francisco airport. Your home is on a Starbucks coffee cup. Your home is the backdrop for a potluck picnic on Full House reruns, eternally. The receiving line of people in newly purchased Alcatraz sweatshirts, aiming cameras at the front of your house, will never end.

But cynicism, it turns out, doesnt live in the most famous three-story Victorians in the world.

George Horsfall, owner of the light blue Painted Lady with royal blue trim, does. He invited three Chronicle journalists in for a tour. It was a lesson in San Francisco history, San Francisco pride, and the unexpected gifts of living in a city that attracts millions of tourists a year.

Horsfall, 65, bid on his Painted Lady in 1999, but was knocked out at the last minute and settled into a different tourism epicenter: an apartment with a rooftop deck across from the curvy block of Lombard Street. His mother, Catherine Sheehan Horsfall, bought the blue Painted Lady a few years later, and he inherited it when she died in January.


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