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Northern California Bay Windows

Bay windows are an iconic part of San Francisco architecture

The rowhouses on Steiner Street in San Francisco are world-famous. These Victorian homes, collectively known as “Postcard Row,” share several defining characteristics — they are colorful, ornate, and prominently feature bay windows.

In Alamo Square, bay windows were included on both the first and second stories. Architects used a combination of three windows, joined at an angle, to extend out beyond the wall and give these houses their elegant Victorian style. While Postcard Row was built in the 1890s, bay windows are still widely popular by the Bay because they share the iconic architecture the area is famous for and bring more light into the home.

Commonly known as: Oriel window, box bay window, projecting window, square bay window, 30-degree bay window, 45-degree bay window, 90-degree bay window

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Popular Local Trends & Styles

  • Traditional bay windows with curtains Window Seats and Benches

    Because a bay window protrudes out, it opens up additional space inside your home. You can take advantage of the extra square footage to add more seating to your room. Bay window seats and benches are popular options for making a comfy nook or opening up more room for entertaining. Many people go the built-in route and create a window bench with storage for another spot to organize clutter. Large windows open up even more space, so you may have room to add a dining room table, couch, sofa, desk, or other furniture to your bay window nook.

  • Bay window with seating area Bay Windows With Curtains With three windows angled together, it can be hard choosing the right treatments for bay windows. Curtains are the preferred choice in Northern California. Bay window curtains provide privacy and coverage but are light enough to bring in some sunlight. You can get traditional Victorian curtains to complement the architecture or opt for something contemporary for a more modern bay window treatment.
  • Bay windows in a kitchen with table and chair Kitchen Bay Windows

    Bay windows maximize the light in narrow spaces — a necessity in many of San Francisco’s Victorian, Sticks, and Eastlake houses where your neighbors are within arm’s reach. Kitchens in these century homes are typically in the back, away from the big, beautiful bay windows. But adding a small bay window in your kitchen can make it feel bigger and brighter. If you have the space, large bay windows allow you to create a breakfast nook with a bench or expand your dining area to make more room for a table and chairs.

  • Small bay window Victorian Style

    The postcard-worthy rowhomes in San Francisco are the most famous examples of Painted Ladies — Edwardian and Victorian houses painted in three or more colors to enhance their ornate architectural details. Nearly 50,000 of them were built in the Bay Area but they’re not exclusive to Alamo Square. Sacramento has its share of Painted Ladies, too. Wooden windows offer the most prefinished color options. Select a bold color or white to pop against your home’s historic color palette and provide contrast.

Product Lines

Recommended Customizations1

The standard bay window combination includes one large picture window flanked by two smaller windows. Most homeowners choose to make the flanking windows operational to bring fresh air into the home, often using single-hung, double-hung, or casement windows. Brass or rustic hardware, grilles, and colorful trim fit the Victorian styles found in San Francisco, Sacramento, and other Northern California cities. Find more customizations here.


  • Classic Collection
  • Essential Collection
  • Rustic Collection
  • Fold-Away Cranks


  • Victorian Grille Pattern?

1Not all customizations are available in all Pella product lines.

Northern California Climate Recommendations

From the San Francisco Bay to the Sierra Nevada mountains and the valleys in between, Northern California has a broad range of climates. Low-E insulating glass helps protect against the California sun. Materials and finishes that can hold up to the area’s diverse climate help preserve the look and performance of your bay windows.

Weather Protection

Weather Protection

Prepare bay windows for the humid coastal winds, salty ocean air, and abundant sunshine. EnduraClad® and EnduraClad® Plus exterior finishes help resist fading and look great for years.

Low-E Protection

Low-E Protection

Keep warm in the winter by reducing the heat loss from your home. Window panes of glass with Advanced Low-E will help keep your home insulated, blocking out the cold and keeping the heat in. 

Durable Materials

Durable Materials

Frequent storms during the winter bring bitter cold and frozen precipitation. Wood with aluminum cladding, vinyl, and fiberglass are low maintenance and can help stand up to extreme weather. 

Why Choose Pella?

Customized with You in Mind

Pella windows and doors are made specifically for your home because one size doesn't fit all. With access to many materials, colors and options, including exclusive snap-in options for shades, blinds and grilles, along with smart home products and a proprietary finishing process that helps provide a quality finish.

Built to Last

Pella products are backed by some of the strongest window, door and installation warranties in the business. When installed by a Pella branch, your project is backed by our Pella Care Guarantee, our package of product warranties, installation warranty and service agreement that covers your products and their installation — including labor — for up to 10 years. See the written limited warranty for details, including exceptions and limitations, or contact Pella Customer Service at 877-473-5527.

We Come to You

An in-home consultation can help you explore all options and get a professional opinion on what will work best for you. During the consultation, local window professionals can come to your home to assess your window replacement needs and understand your priorities and budget.

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Explore Your Options with an Expert

A Pella Windows & Doors of Northern California expert can help you pick out a window that fits your home — and your style. Find your local Pella representative to schedule a free in-home consultation, measurement, and estimate.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Bay Window Projects in Northern California

See how bay windows are used around San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, Santa Rosa, Tahoe, Fresno, and other cities in these projects installed by Pella Doors & Windows of Northern California.

Related Posts

Learn more about bay windows, including selecting the right combination and decorating around your windows.