A favorite past time of mine is to wander into antique stores or to just walk the streets of San Francisco just to see the architectural attributes of the homes, whether they are modern, Victorian or architecturally somewhere in between. Doorways, windows and street gardens in this City seem to possess a spirit of their own. Sometimes these homes are decorated to the stars with paint colors and wooden architectural enhancements. It is so nice that the house inhabitants care as much for the outside of their homes as the inside too.
As I walked the streets to see what has changed since I grew up here, I noticed that the house facades also radiate even more of a whimsical charm than I remembered. The workmanship that certain hands created while using elaborate and unique ornamental patterns enhance the character of each home and the sidewalk gardens. Sometimes there are miniature courtyards bordered by boxwood, with plantings that are layered in front of the shrubs in the foreground. Brick edging borders set on end provide a fringe of miniature herringbone designs along the footprint of homes sometimes moss plants or baby tear separate the brick delineations. Flowers inside of window boxes may draw in a viewer who might subconsciously feel the harmonious nature of the plantings and the house characteristics, all really are part of the whole scheme. Even the tradesmen alleyways have a divine quality when wisteria or bougainvillea drape the telescoping walls that retreat into a miniature garden in repose. Window casements, too, are adorned with graceful curtains that pose a delightful motionless cascade of colorful fabric dressed with tassels that set the stage for a feast for the eyes.
Yesterday I think I found two of the most interesting and creative window dressings that I have seen in a very long time in San Francisco while walking down Sacramento Street. Two windows exist on two sides of a doorway that frame a laundry establishment. I was in awe because the ornate paper patterns captivated and charmed me like the houses and street gardens I just mentioned. These two windows hypnotized me as I peered with child eyes into a mesmerizing scene where movement was caught in the way the artful paper was cut into intricate layers that inhabited the space. It is its own world of color, design, with depth, intrigue, mystery, and while it possesses its own mystical quality, one can’t help but wonder how the artist conceived this creation. Like a child moving back and forth between both windows — I just had to see what all was there — I stared into a place that was occupied by a clever box of inhabited space. Each window was staged like a theater and framed with a paper curtain dressed with a tassel which drew me into the clever chinoiserie feast for the soul.
When I resumed my walk, as I turned the corner, I noticed that the proprietor had moved from behind the counter, out to the sidewalk and he too, seemed enchanted as he peered into the miniature Asian window boxes. Not to be missed, …3587 Sacramento Street… Oh and by the way, I don’t even know Julie Haas, (www.JulieHaas.com) a magical window box.
Copyright 2010 Helen W. Holden-Gladsky