Arts and Crafts Architecture
Picture Tour

Weber House (page 1 of 4)

Exterior view of a Shingle Style house. Photo by Howard J. Partridge.

Front (South) Elevation
Julius Rehn Weber House in San Francisco, California

Ernest Coxhead designed this house which was built in 1902 for the brother-in-law of bon-vivant Bruce Porter.  Porter had Coxhead design his own home, shared with his widowed mother Annie and brother Robert, next door.  The exact spelling of Weber's name is a bit of a mystery.  Old city directories list him as Julius R. Weber, a music teacher.  Some later sources mention Julian Waybur as an alternate spelling of the name, which would more closely mimic the last name's proper German pronunciation.  Weber had the misfortune of sharing the same name as a wealthy, former brewery owner in Auburn, California.  That Weber was murdered along with his wife and two children by a wayward son in a sensational 1904 crime.  Perhaps the Waybur spelling helped create some distance between the two families.  Weber / Waybur taught for many years in the music department at Mills Seminary (now Mills College) in Oakland, conducted the University of California's orchestra,  and helped to found the Arts and Music Department at the San Francisco Free Public Library.

The house itself is essentially a plain, flat-topped box, but it exhibits a casual elegance with its rustic shingles, carefully broken symmetry, and economy in exaggerated classical details.  The playfully offset entrance and lower right window help balance the composition, which was built on a steep hillside lot.  The entrance placement also juxtaposes nicely against the stepped balcony above, making the elevation considerably more dynamic than if Coxhead had centered it on the Palladian window.  The house is a fine example of what has become locally known as the "First Bay Tradition".  It also shows the sobering influence of English Georgian architecture on the Shingle Style.  It is so strong in this case, that the house could easily pass as a Georgian Revival were it not for its shingle clad exterior and quirks in symmetry.  The house was remodeled in 1959 by architect John Funk, which possibly accounts for the more contemporary looking side window detailing.  Photograph taken in 1999 by Howard J. Partridge.

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