Towse: views from the hill

June 10, 2009

Privacy? Circumspection? Privacy? Privacy? Fuggedaboutit.

Filed under: politics,real estate,San Francisco — Towse @ 9:35 pm

And so with nary a care, Leah Garchik spills the beans about Gavin’s new digs, with enough information (price, street) that any stalker worth his/her salt could track down the address in (oh … say …) about ten seconds.

I dunno. If I were someone who attracts stalkers like Gavin does, I’d be a bit annoyed at Ms Leah leaking the info just because she could.

Maybe it’s just me.

(And, yes, even though I’m not a stalker, the challenge of the day — after finishing the ***Sudoku and both crosswords — was to track down Gavin’s new address. And it didn’t take that long. …)

February 2, 2009

An Extraordinary Home. Single Family located at 601 Dolores Street, Mission Dolores, San Francisco, California

Filed under: real estate,San Francisco,shopshopshop — Towse @ 9:15 pm

An Extraordinary Home. Single Family located at 601 Dolores Street, Mission Dolores, San Francisco

1910. Former church. Now SFH. Check out the photo gallery. What parties I could have! I’d have room for all my books and more! Seismic retrofit. No longer on the City’s Unreinforced Masonry Building list.

Formerly the Golden Gate Lutheran Church, this stunning Gothic Revival style building is now one of the most extraordinary and largest single family homes in San Francisco. This one-of-a-kind property features an enormous living area that includes the original sanctuary with soaring, coffered and hand-painted ceilings, arched windows framing Dolores Park as well as most of the original stained glass windows, custom mahogany wood finishes, four wood-burning fireplaces, a new chef’s kitchen and a spacious dining room. The Master suite level features a marble Roman tub room, dressing room and incredible 360 degree views from the tower meditation room and deck. The home includes an expansive ground floor level that could be used as exhibition space, recording studio, gym and/or home office. There is also a garage that accommodates 4-6 cars.

Room for my books!

Be still my heart.

This is why every once in a blue moon I buy a Lotto ticket.

Oh, my. …

$9,950,000 but I betcha they’d take $9m if I were paying cash.

Update: Looking at what he paid for it less than two years ago, back when it was a church. Yes, granted he did the transformation to SFH, reinforced the masonry and added all sorts of stuff, still …

October 1, 2008

House of the Week: Built for Art

Filed under: California,real estate,yikes — Towse @ 2:47 am

House of the Week: Built for Art

Have art? Have I got a place for you.

Holmby Hills. (Think crusty Bing Crosby neighborhood. Aaron Spelling, Tori’s über rich dad, bought the Crosby estate and scraped it to build a home for his oversized ego. 46K sq ft. 123 rooms. That kind of neighborhood.)

3BED 5BA (and a powder room!)

11K sq ft


Check out pic 6/7. Designer designed an ugly bedroom, eh?

[WSJ via Curbed SF]

June 4, 2008

San Francisco Real Estate … the sales effort

Filed under: life,real estate,San Francisco — Towse @ 12:34 am

Found a 9×14″ (or whatever) envelope in today’s mail from Pacific Union/GMAC Real Estate, from our buddies Steve (Steven Mavromihalis) and John (John Fitzgerald). Cover letter is signed (really) with first names only.

Steve and John are shopping the sixth floor of the C. Alfred Meussdorffer-designed 1800 Gough. (1800 Gough units are full-floor.)

Steve and John sent us an eight-page full-color brochure with drop-caps and lovely copywriting, describing the Fujitso Plasma HDTV, the Yamaha MusicCast audio system, the ceiling mounted speakers, the kitchen, the bedrooms, the “welcome and dramatic sense of arrival … opens to a secure elevator vestibule finished in exquisite black lacquer wood and featuring a unique silver leaf ceiling,” “The residence becomes simply magical as dusk falls and the golden dome of City Hall becomes the centerpiece, glowing amongst the backdrop of San Francisco.”

For those reading from afar, this is code-speak that 1800 Gough is on the southern slope of Pacific Heights, facing the City and not the Bay (or the Golden Gate Bridge, or Alcatraz, or … well, you get the idea.)

Nowhere in the brochure is the price mentioned because, well, because prices have been known to change and who knows how big a print-run Steve and John had for the brochure.

“Dramatic City skyline views, peering towards Russian Hill and beyond to the Transamerica Tower and the Oakland Hills.

The range is a six burner Thermador (meaning “gas,” I assume. I’d never buy this place without gas cooking in place).

I looked at all the pics. Found one I thought Ms. Paula would rilly like. Checked out the price.


Um. No.

And, alas, the pic I thought Ms. Paula would really like isn’t on the Web site. The pic was of the walk-in closet for the master bedroom (which has TWO bathrooms so you don’t have to squabble over who gets the sink first when you’re brushing your teeth before beddie-bye).

The walk-in closet shoe shelving built-ins appear to carry six-plus pairs per shelf. Twelve shelves showing in the pics. WE’RE TALKING ROOM FOR SEVENTY-TWO-PLUS PAIRS OF SHOES.

Oh. My. [fanning self]

(How did our name get on Steve and John’s list of potential buyers?)

May 8, 2008

You can’t go home again. …

Filed under: life,real estate — Towse @ 4:02 pm

14 April 2006, two days before my dad died, escrow closed on the home where I’d spent the majority of my life, where I’d lived over twice as long as I’d lived in my childhood home.

We were without question out of the bucolic ville and into the City.

We’d drive by when we were in the area. The tall poles with orange netting showing the outlines of the house-to-be went up, then tipped and tilted after the winter storms. The renters who moved in shortly after escrow closed moved out around the time the orange netting went up. Bellecourt was vacant, tree fall littering the circular drive. The house that his nibs and his father had helped build was in limbo, just waiting for permits to go through before … before what? We were hoping maybe it would be just a remodel, yes, a major remodel but maybe one where the bones of the place were still visible if you squinted just right. Maybe?

Months. A year went by. Maybe the buyers had run out of money. Maybe they’d changed their minds.

I drove past the old place last week to find cyclone fencing around the entire acre property. A construction truck parked out front. Port-a-potty for the crew. Came home and told his nibs that the house was still standing though.

His nibs just got a note from old friend that his wife drove by and the house has been demolished, scraped, gone-gone-gone in preparation for the new construction.


Even if we win the lottery, we can’t go home again.


September 17, 2007

HUGE Potential as writers’ retreat

Filed under: real estate,writing — Towse @ 6:29 pm

Asha’s back. Her blog pics today are of Tonopah, Nevada.

Tonopah. Check it out! It’s not just an alliterative town name found in an old Lowell George song.

And I’ve been from Tucson to Tucumcari
Tehachapi to Tonopah
Driven every kind of rig that’s ever been made
Driven the backroads so I wouldn’t get weighed
And if you give me weed, whites and wine
And you show me a sign
And I’ll be willin’ to be movin’ *

(* as sung not only by Little Feat but also by Ronstadt and others)

Asha noted that the Grand Old Lady of Tonopah, the Mizpah Hotel, is For Sale! [PDF]

Sounds perfect for a writers’ retreat, doesn’t it? Out in the middle of nowhere, halfway between Las Vegas and Reno. Two bars. (for those convivial evenings) Two restaurants. (soze you don’t have to go far to find eats). No gaming license. (fewer distractions for you)

Gutted and rebuilt in 1976.

56 rooms, including 6 parlor suites, all with private baths and thermostatically controlled heating and air conditioning. Fine Brussels carpeting was laid throughout, new stained glass windows were hand-crafted for the first floor and the finest of wall paper was hung on all of the walls. The exterior was given a face lift and park benches and iron lighting fixtures installed along the sidewalk. The old bowling alley and other buildings were also incorporated into the expansion.

On the National Registry of Historic Places. Resident ghosts! Wyatt Earp tended bar here! Dempsey worked as a bouncer!

Take a look at Asha’s Tonopah photos and travelogue.

ONLY $1.5m for the Mizpah Hotel! Perfect writers’ retreat, I think.

What’d’ya think?

August 4, 2007

HOA $3212.19/month

Filed under: real estate,San Francisco — Towse @ 3:38 pm

If price is no nevermind and killer views are a must: 2500 Steiner St #11 is on the market.

Asking price: $6.75m

Association dues: $3212.19/month

“Views, Views, Views! 3 bedrooms plus library, 3 baths, plus maids room and bath.”

4K sq ft, mas o menos, although the listing doesn’t tell you that.

The Chron had a nice little feature about the building last June. Susie Tompkins Buell lives upstairs, in the penthouse.

August 2, 2007

Google Maps street view

Filed under: real estate,San Francisco — Towse @ 7:06 pm

A lot’s been said about the “street view” recently made available with Google Maps. Invasion of privacy? How did they get inside the gated community to do their driveby? How can they just take pictures of people and put them up on the Web without asking permission? and yadda and so forth.

What hasn’t been talked about (much) are the new uses the street view is being used for.

Example primo: blog post today from SocketSite: San Francisco real estate tips, trends and the local scoop: “Plug In” to SocketSite™

SocketSite covered a “for sale” listing for an unreinforced masonry three bedroom one-and-a-half bath single family home at 645 Hyde listed at $965K.

The comments came thick and furious. (Two of them, in fact, were mine.) Comments about the neighborhood (the Tenderloin) and the local drug wars and other crime. Comments about the noise. Comments about the “courtyard” and why-are-there-no-pictures-of-the-inside? Comments about the cost to reinforce an UMB (and you would want to, wouldn’t you, in this bucolic village?)

Someone popped in with a “Google street view also shows a massive smokestack rising from behind the building, it is missing in the MLS pictures.” Which it is, not due to eliding the stack from the photos but due to clever photo cropping.

Conversation continued re what the smokestack was (“Station S. Located at 1 Meacham Place. Equipped with three boilers: one in operation producing 65,000 lb/hr of steam and two that are installed and permitted but not currently in use. All boilers are fueled 100 percent by natural gas; No. 2 diesel is available as a backup fuel.” … Meacham Place is the alley immediately to the rear of the building that’s for sale)

I wouldn’t have thought (although from now on I probably will) to use Google street view to check out the surrounds of any listing I’m halfway curious about.

Any other interesting uses for Google street view? Probably so.

July 20, 2007

Update: 2007 San Francisco Idea House

A green bird told me that Sunset Magazine has postponed the opening of the San Francisco Idea House to an unspecified time

No word at the Sunset Magazine site as to when the house will open.

“Check back often,” they say.

July 11, 2007

2007 San Francisco Idea House

Filed under: architecture,life,real estate,San Francisco — Towse @ 8:07 pm

2007 San Francisco Idea House brought to you by Sunset Magazine and Meridian Builders & Developers, Inc. The house is green green green and LEED-certified.

Open August 17th-August 21st, 2007;
Friday, Saturday and Sunday 9am-5pm
Last ticket sold at 4:30 PM
Tickets only sold at the house on Open House days
No Credit Cards, cash and check only
General – $20
Seniors (60) – $15 (Friday only)
Children 6-12 – $10
5/under – free

For those planning to go who do not plan to drive, check with and ask how to take public transit from your starting point to 25th and Alabama.

… not that Sunset or any of the blurbs will tell you that that is where you want to end up. Nooooo. Sunset only tells you where the shuttle parking area is and how to drive to the shuttle parking area.

Excuse me? Where exactly is this house you’re showing off? Somewhere in the Mission District? Near enough to the shuttle-based parking? But where?

Does Sunset have any easy-to-find e-addr on the Sunset site for me to send a suggestion that they add some information about public transit in a town where many people would rather not drive their cars to the Sunset San Francisco Idea House and may, in fact, not even own a private vehicle?

[Web design pet peeve #31: Web sites that don't have easy-to-find contact information.]

My trip will start at the SW corner of Broadway & Montgomery where I catch the #12/Chavez & Mission and ride to Folsom St & 25th, where I’ll get off and walk five blocks east to Alabama. Total travel time: 39 minutes. No transfers. Easy peasy.

When we get closer to the day, I’ll check out specifics like when the #12 is supposed to arrive at the SW corner of Broadway & Montgomery on the day I decide to go. (Ah, yes. Hope springs eternal.)

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