Archive for the ‘California’ Category

4090 25th St & 4221 21st St, SF CA

July 25, 2008

The previous post puts both of these homes to shame, although to be fair they are both about $400k less, which is the cost of a very nice home in most places (but not SF!).

First, 4090 25th st: $1,090,000

Cute kitchen. I am a sucker for subway tile backsplashes.

the listing at zephyr

Next, 4221 21st st


This is more of a ‘has potential’ house. Not run-down, just not jaw-dropping. I could do a lot with this – in some ways, a home like this is more fun.

the coldwell banker listing


1143 Diamond, SF CA

July 25, 2008

$1,398,000 in the Noe Valley neighborhood.

Love the high ceilings.

I also appreciate the presentation of this house: the decor is immaculate, the paint colors are fabulous.

8 St. Felix Street, Brooklyn, NY (Ft Greene)

June 1, 2008

Listed at: $1,590,000

All my friends who live in NY live in Williamsburg, and they all SAY that the newest ‘hot’ place to live is Ft Greene. So I took a look at the listings there to see what was available. Living in NYC has some great aspects. The excitement of the city always pumps me up and makes me happy to be alive. You feel the pulse of the world there. I’m always vaguely jealous when someone says they live there, even though I was the one who chose to move away. And when I’m back I feel as though I’m always interviewing the city to determine if I want to come back. I think that’s the thing – you can never really get over it; I continue to feel it’s draw.

Also good is that both my family and most of my husband’s live there. And lots of our friends, too. On the down side, schools are bad, the weather is only alright (I much prefer the always-beautiful weather or SF or the thrilling colors of the Fall in Boston), and it is surprisingly dirty. A search for my home criteria in Manhattan yields homes from 11-18 million and skyrocketing up from there. Brooklyn is at least somewhat more reasonable.

Here’s the best I saw in Ft Greene. A renovated Carriage house.


I love the exterior, although that pole is a shame.

One floor appears to be a ‘studio/office’ while the other is living space. I like the options that gives, plus a large open space is always great:


250 feet from an Emergency Room entrance. Yeah, seriously.

Some of the fixtures and treatments, such as the windows in the picture below, look a bit too 80’s:

Here’s the listing for more info:

By the way, I just found another renovated ‘reclaimed’ home in my neighborhood in SF.¬† Only¬† $6.375 million dollars! Lust away:

1020 Las Ovejas Ave San Rafael, CA

May 25, 2008

Asking: $799,000

This is another one found on Craigslist, originally found during a search on April 3. This is a nicely updated mid-century modern house just north of San Francisco. 3 bedrooms, 2 baths.

I am really loving living in a city again – it’s been years since I lived in Beacon Hill in Boston, and even more since I lived in the East Village in NYC. Far too long; I forgot just how fun it could be. But, the trade-offs are less living space, smaller outdoor space if any at all, and you have to swallow a much higher price per square foot. And there’s the fact that most city public schools aren’t so good. So sometimes I imagine moving back out to a nearby suburb. San Rafael seems pretty nice, according to Wikipedia.

Google maps says this house is just under 22 miles from the San Francisco city center. I used to live about 38 miles south of SF, and that commute was a bit too long, so I guess 16 miles less would be better. Still, it seems a bit far. When I was living in the Boston area, I went through the classic process of slowly moving outwards from the city center. First Beacon Hill in downtown Boston, then Somerville, and finally to Arlington. Arlington is only about 9 miles from downtown Boston and less than 6 from Cambridge. I highly recommend Arlington as somewhere where you can get the real estate you’re looking for in the Boston area while still being very close to the city.

Anyway, let’s get back to this place in Northern Cali.


The totally unique fence is pretty bold.

The kitchen and bathrooms have both been updated really nicely. One bathroom is especially nice, a mix of vintage and modern just like I like things.


The totally unique fence might be a bit too bold.

The manicured lawn kind of creeps me out. Way too gated-community-suburban. And it is a bit small – compare this yard to 48 Whitney’s, which is in the city. Much larger, wild, and ‘European classy’ than this.

The house sort of reminds me of my grandparent’s house in Ridgecrest, CA (aka the middle of nowhere). My grandparents were amazing people and I love them, but their house always gave me a bit of the creeps. 50’s style, single story ranches always do this to me. Especially when rooms have wall-to-wall carpet. At least the ones in this house aren’t shag.

At 1500 square feet, it is sort of on the small side for a house that is not in the city.

All in all, I think the cons outweigh the pros, but it is still a cool mid-c modern, near SF, for under a million.

View the listing

48 Whitney, Glen Park (SF) CA

May 22, 2008

On the market for: $1,195,000

Welcome to Real Estate lust. In my free time I search the country’s real estate listings, thanks to services like trulia and craigslist, imagining what it would be like to own these homes. A loft in Brooklyn? A modern prefab in an Oklahoma forest? A mid-century modern outside of Austin? A Victorian in San Francisco?

Right now my husband, son and I live in an apartment in San Francisco, so let’s start there.

We live in the Glen Park area, and we love it. It reminds me of Cambridge, MA or smaller neighborhoods in Brooklyn because of the way it’s still the city, yet it’s not downtown. It’s got hip restaurants, culture, parks, friendly families, and public transportation to the big bustling city. It’s not the suburbs, yet you get to live in your own home, not in an apartment.

I’ve been browsing the Glen Park/Noe Valley real estate listings for a few weeks now. The basic criteria:

  • minimum 3 bedrooms
  • single family home

The unwritten rules:

  • High ceilings
  • Wood floors
  • An actual nice kitchen renovation (or a hopelessly horrible kitchen with a price which reflects the cost of a remodel). If the kitchen is redone, I probably won’t like it. Most look like Home Depot renovations, some sort of off-the-shelf generic redo which is supposed to appeal to everyone but actually just sucks.
  • A yard.
  • Bonus: a hot tub! The weather in SF is perfect for it, and it would be a great break at night after our son goes to sleep.
  • A large wall in the living room for our projector (we don’t own a TV).
  • I like to see a combination of vintage/antique and modern. Old windows that have the look of an old factory, brick, detailed molding and wide pine floors mixed with high ceilings, clean lines, white paint, large open spaces, and slate-floored bathrooms. Beautiful. Again, beware of the Home Depot version of this which makes a home look like it came from the pages of a Pottery Barn Catalog.

And the result? My latest real estate lust goes to: 48 Whitney St, SF CA

The home’s website


The kitchen renovation is great. Although it’s not my most favorite redo I’ve ever seen (I’ll post some pictures of those soon) but the lines of the cabinets, the glass doors, and the ceiling light are all great. I like the old stove too. I’d repaint in a bright green to make the tiles seem a bit more modern. I also love the wood floors and the great old window in the eating area.

Damn that’s a big yard! And I love brick patios! No hot tub, but certainly room for one.

The guest room/office space with bathroom which has its own entrance is great. We own our own business so it would be perfect for being nearby while also not ‘working at home’.

I love the beams in the bedrooms on the second floor.

Only a half bath on the second floor. Would need to add at least a standing shower stall.

The tile in the downstairs bathroom leaves something to be desired.

The wall dividing the ‘reading room’ from the living room is a bit of a shame, although it could probably be opened up without too much problems.

Take a look for yourself. If you buy it, let me know so I can be jealous. LINKS:

The Zephyr Real Estate Listing

The home’s website


I’ve got a lot of pent up real estate lust, so stay tuned for posts about an antique beauty in Austin, a tiny single family loft-alternative in Nashville, a converted carriage house in Fort Greene (Brooklyn), a mid-c modern in Northern Cali, contemporary (think Dwell) new developments in the middle of nowhere, and a cute cottage on Long Island. Oh and I plan to do reviews of the real estate section of the NY Times. Sometimes I think they put ugly homes in the ‘what you get for…X million’ section simply to make us all feel better. Till next time…