Monday, January 30, 2012

Neighborhooding in SF

We're planning to move to San Francisco sometime this year. The questions become: in which neighborhood do we want to live, and how much can we afford?

This weekend we stomped around several adjoining neighborhoods that are within walking distance to the Metro/light rail transit lines. Each neighborhood has its own architectural themes, demographics, amenities and quirks, so it's really important to walk your way through to discover what you like and dislike. Of course, in addition to the homes and their placement on the lots, I was also looking for orchids to see how the properties were being used to their full [orchid] potential.

One of the quirks in many SF neighborhoods is the concept of cementing over the ground to make a space for off-street parking or to manage slope erosion. While functional, I find the cement scabs unappealing. Nevertheless, these scabs also create a distinctive style of gardening: containers.

If you don't like hills, then San Francisco isn't for you. That being said, I see all the staircases as prime territory to hang, perch or otherwise affix some orchids, and these people are missing out!

Staircase gardening!

Some neighborhoods have a rather banal fa├žade, livened up only with some colorful paint.

The next level of accent is to add the window boxes, either wooden or iron rods. However, I found the window box accents to be even more depressing because most residents weren't even using the space. A market niche literally waiting to be filled.

Imagine my delight when we passed this home! Finally!! Someone who knows how to make their home positively distinctive in a sea of otherwise unremarkable development.