The late 19th century saw the Arts & Crafts Movement spread across Europe, the United States and all the way to Westwood Park in San Francisco, its influence most evident in the bungalow-style architecture of the area’s homes.
A reaction to the Industrial Revolution and the frilly, lacey, cluttered times of the Victorian Era, the philosophy of the Arts & Crafts Movement centered around a lifestyle that paid homage to a new appreciation for nature, simplicity and man’s individuality.
Westwood Park was designed as a “residence park” for middle class residents on the slope of Mt. Davidson, in the western part of The City. Today, residents are fortunate to live in homes that, for the most part, have been owned and maintained for nearly 100 years by homeowners respectful of the unique, classic architecture of their bungalows.
Although San Francisco is ordinarily cited for its Victorian and Edwardian houses, the 650-home tract of Westwood Park is the only neighborhood in The City with representations of nearly all styles of bungalows popular in the early 20th century: Mission, Craftsman, Prairie, Colonial Revival, English Cottage and Spanish Revival.
Some of the common architectural elements include: oak hardwood floors with Philippine mahogany trim, beveled glass French doors, built-in dining room buffets, gum wood wainscoting, coved ceilings, tiled and/or brick fireplaces, multiple windows, sun rooms and tile roofs.
Several years ago, residents worked together to ensure that the unique character of their 1920s-era tract would be preserved by becoming The City’s first Residential Character District (RCD). Under the RCD Guidelines, residents must obtain approval from the Westwood Park Association before any changes are made to the exterior or “envelope” of their home.
A revived interest in the Arts & Crafts Movement has given rise to an increase in the restoration of bungalows across the country as well as numerous organizations and businesses catering to the preservation of these homes.
In May and October, San Francisco City Guides offers a “Bungalows of Westwood Park” tour. City Guides is a program of the San Francisco Public Library and gives free walking tours of the city’s neighborhoods. For more information, go to sfcityguides.org.
Below is a partial list of related online resources:
“What is a bungalow?” (American Bungalow Magazine)
“What style is my bungalow?” (American Bungalow Magazine)