The Wilton House
Illustrations by Kit Haskell
John Wilton (1848—1894), a wholesale dairy products merchant from Ireland, had resided in a tiny now demolished cottage with his family at nearby 1013 Hayes. In 1891 he commissioned 1027 (originally numbered 1011) for their new home. The architect’s identity remains unknown.
The Wilton family, which included John’s wife Sarah, daughter Elizabeth, and sons George and Douglas, always shared their home with renters. By 1900, the Wilton residence sheltered three families for a total of twelve residents. After the Wilton family’s departure in 1814, 1027 Hayes changed hands as often as two dozen times. By 1951 the residence had been divided into five units, with a small cottage added in the backyard.
In 1974, John Orishyn purchased the structure and began the process of renovation that several subsequent owners were to continue. Next came the Meekers in 1977, who eliminated three of the units in the main house and created the present kitchen.
In 1986, Ken Stoddard and his partner Gary Eisman bought 1027, followed by Kenneth and Pam Rau in 1989. Each owner added their own successive improvements. In 1997, the home was acquired by the current owners, Sue Valentine and her husband Bob Spjut.
A variant of the Queen Anne Style, 1027 Hayes’ façade is distinctive for its false gabled and French capped roofline, the vintage stair railings and spindle work on the front porch, and the integral detailing that adjoins the cantilevered bay window. Inside is the traditional row-house arrangement of a side hallway and staircase to the second floor.
Both the entry and second floor stairwell have been recently refreshed with a restrained neutral paint scheme and a new Anaglypta wainscot throughout. The Lyncrusta frieze was added by a previous owner. On the left is a doorway opening into a library, which connects to the front parlor and a spacious dining room out the back. The front parlor features a mahogany fireplace mantle that the current owners rescued from a demolished Victorian cottage. Of interest are fine ceiling moldings and a vintage chandelier. The middle parlor, which the current owners transformed, features an ornate ceiling (designed by Paul Duchscherer), papered in colorful Bradbury & Bradbury papers.
The dining room retains its original fireplace mantle of yellow green colored tiles, three of which are small panels detailed with playful cupids.The room is paneled with a wood wainscot and has a ceiling covered in embossed Anaglypta added by the owners. All of the public downstairs rooms can be closed off from each other by original pocket doors.
At the end of the downstairs entry hall is a small office adjoining the dining room, which possibly once connected to the kitchen (and perhaps also incorporated a butler’s pantry). The kitchen is now accessed only from the dining room, which opens to the garden.
An original coved skylight above the staircase features stained glass dating to the 1970s.
On the second level the bay window of the front master bedroom opens to the prized view of Alamo Square, backdropped by Postcard Row and the City beyond. The current owners added the master bath at the front of the house. Of the remaining three original bedrooms, one is located off the middle of the stair hall and another at the left rear is pleasantly illuminated by an angled bay window. The fourth bedroom, once part of a back apartment with its own outside entry, is reached through a recently recreated rear hallway. A new period-style bathroom and a laundry facility plus storage closets all adjoin the rear hall. The former second floor apartment now functions as a home office.
A charming and sunny rear garden now flourishes where once a poorly constructed rental unit took up most of the space. The recently created garden features a pergola-topped open sitting area across the back of the lot. An outside staircase connects the second floor rear rooms to the garden.
Adapted by Paul Duchscherer from “The Storied Houses of Alamo Square“ by Joseph B. Pecora
— taken from the Victorian Alliance‘s “The Storied Houses of Alamo Square 2015 House Tour” catalog