The Edwardian era is an architectural shift away from the traditional features of heavy drapery, cluttered surfaces, and low lit, cramped rooms better recognized as its predecessor, the Victorian era. While maintaining the positive elements of the Victorian style, such as bay windows, layered crown moldings, and abundance of custom millwork throughout, the Edwardian was better known for its ability to introduce plentiful natural light through the implementation of light wells in the center of the homes, nature inspired stained glass windows commonly seen in the form of flowers and vines, and a practice of minimalism and organization to lighten the feel of otherwise cluttered and overwhelming spaces.
The concept design for this quintessential 1914 Edwardian atop Russian Hill is to take the original heritage of the architectural design process known in Edwardian structures and respectfully build upon these core concepts in a contemporary translation that is in line with today’s modern comforts and cultural needs. This is accomplished through a celebration of original architectural details within the space by accentuating character pieces such as wooden banister rails, ornate moldings, curved glass bay windows, and nature inspired stained glass.
Another feature common in Edwardian design is an abundance of natural light through the use of light wells. This was taken a step further by introducing reflective materials such as chrome and stainless steel as well as wall mirrors to bring the light deeper into the building. Original floor plan layouts traditionally had many small walled off rooms creating a strong separation between each space. This was typical of its time for societal reasons that women would cook meals in the kitchen separate from the dining room and living room areas. This would allow a presentation of a finished meal to be delivered into the dining room while hiding all of the labor of cooking in the kitchen. By removing many of the walls to essentially open up the communal spaces, a modern day “great room” was formed. This combined the bar, kitchen, living room, and dining room into one communal gathering space typical to contemporary social culture as well as allowing an influx of natural light to flow through all of the social spaces. A balance of bright whites, light, warm grays, and the occasional black are also key features implemented to showcase a light, airy appeal with a bit of depth to create areas of interest. Since the three major social areas have been combined into one large space, the walls and moldings were painted in a unifying bright white and soft gray throughout, while the kitchen was painted a striking black color to maintain an ability to differentiate the spaces.
Nature was commonly introduced through floral designs in stained glass windows. This concept has been abstracted to involve a sense of nature in all of the design without taking such a literal approach. Light fixtures were chosen with organic forms reminiscent of tree branches and water droplets while engaging a contemporary twist using polished nickel and glass materiality. Natural fibers are present in every room to inform nature in the design; the staircases are laid with woven sea grass runners, furniture is upholstered in earthy tones and soft Belgian linens, drapery is fabricated from burlaps and antique grain sacks.
A final important attribute innate to Edwardian architecture is a practice of minimalism as compared to traditional Victorian methodology. This is achieved with less clutter on counters and fireplace mantels as well as sparse decorative accessories that have been placed with purpose. Instead of Victorian’s lavish elegance of heavily floral patterned silk drapery, “low class” textiles were introduced such as burlaps and simple linens muted in color to soften the bold architectural details of each space. Interest is created in earthy monochromatic color palates through a variety of textures and layered geometric patterns instead of an abundance of bright, saturated color variations.