One of the stranger outcomes of quarantine for me has been realizing how much I love the Bay Area. When my job moved to remote, my friends started moving out of the area, and everyone seemed to think the Bay Area was over, I started thinking about where I would want to move if I wasn’t tethered here and the answer is honestly… nowhere.
Even when I do have my quarantine daydreams about moving outside of the four walls I’ve spent the past year in, I can only imagine the different shades of Bay-Area-life I could be a living: a houseboat in Sausalito or Mission Bay, a loft in South Beach or Dogpatch, a Victorian in Potrero Hill or North Beach, anything I could get my hands on in or near the Presidio, one of those devastatingly gorgeous homes being built on Yerba Buena Island… not to mention the countless places in the East Bay I’ve fallen in love with.
Just taking a drive down the street or snapping some photos of my walks around the neighborhood on Dispo reminds me of how much I love living here. I could honestly fill several tomes about my love for the Bay Area and the architecture here. But here are several of my favorite listings in the area instead:
The Modern Retreat
Location: 1931 23rd St, San Francisco, CA 94107
List Price: $1,498,000
I am utterly and devastatingly in love with this house. I seriously begged my partner to contact an agent so that we could go view this house (he said no 😢).
From the moment you open the front gate, you’re transported to this place that feels both entirely removed from San Francisco and also entirely San Francisco. This house has a California Modern meets Japanese sensibility with wide-open spaces and natural finishes.
While the house itself is gorgeous, it essentially falls away and becomes a backdrop from the gardens surrounding it. Everything about the main floor of this house is oriented towards the gardens and seamlessly incorporating the indoors with the outdoors. All of the doors on this level (including the front door) are sliding doors that open large swaths of the building to the outdoors. My favorite area is the back corner where the kitchen opens up to the koi pond.
The downstairs (where the bedroom is) is cavernous in comparison and feels a lot more like a typical SF loft space. I love the juxtaposition of the two types of spaces. The downstairs feels like a natural place to retreat to when it’s time to wind down.
The Mid-Century Modern
Location: 1510 Grizzly Peak Blvd, Berkeley, CA 94708
List Price: $689,000
From the outside, you probably wouldn’t guess that the plain wooden rectangle would contain so much character inside, although the bridge to the front door is a good hint. The moment you open the front door, you’re greeted by floor-to-ceiling windows across the back of the entire house and a lot of mid-century character. I love the drama of a grand reveal.
While the house does need a lot of work, the bones of this house are so good that it’s easy to imagine the potential. The open living space has so many inspiring features to restore and build upon: the gorgeous built-ins, wood-paneled walls, wood ceiling with exposed beams, and the kitchen island with the floating upper cabinets… there’s so much good here that just needs a little TLC.
The private spaces downstairs are just as charming and enjoyable. There’s nothing like waking up to a view from floor-to-ceiling windows in your bed. I’d never want to leave the covers.
Another thing that I love about this home is how it uses the land it’s on. The garage at the top of the hill has a sizeable workshop in it with windows that look out onto the house and the view. There’s also plenty of space between the workshop and the house (and underneath the bridge! How cool is that to say?!) that could be turned into a lovely patio and garden area.
This unusual mid-century modern home in Berkeley is basically my Bay Area dream: a house up in the hills with good bones, a garden, a workshop, and the opportunity to renovate it over time to a dream house. On second thought, that’s exactly how I would describe the house I live in 🤔
The Contemporary Cottage
Location: 34 Clipper St, San Francisco, CA 94114
List Price: $1,895,000
This unassuming house in Noe Valley has a charming traditional exterior with a pleasant surprise of an interior. The main living area has tons of light and volume with soaring ceilings and lots of windows (including cute hexagonal windows higher up) and large skylights.
The house has a surprising California seaside cottage feel with its rugged beams, wood-paneled walls, and antique touches like the wood stove in the living room and vintage stove in the kitchen.
My favorite room in the house is the master bedroom. I adore the sleeping platform with the angled roof and skylights right above the bed. I also love how the windows wrap around the bedroom and bathroom area giving panoramic views of the city - especially Mount Sutro.
The Secret Modern
Location: 2454 Bush St, San Francisco, CA 94115
List Price: $2,695,000
Tucked away through a secret entrance off of Bush Street in Lower Pacific Heights, you’ll find two Victorian cottages that have been fused to form a surprisingly modern masterpiece.
The house has a beautiful modern sensibility that still has subtle design touches from its Victorian roots. I particularly love how they used paned doors and paneled cabinet doors in the open living and dining room. They keep the space from feeling flat or sterile without adding too much.
My favorite detail in this house is the floor-to-ceiling window that flows into a skylight that spans the gap between the original two structures and creates the kitchen. I also love how it’s one of the few places where you get a totally minimalist, modern design.
This is all to say that I love this house for all of the romantic things I love about San Francisco: its history, connection to nature, and the constant desire to evolve into something new and different while still being thoroughly SF.
A Hansel and Gretel house in Mill Valley: https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/347-Melrose-Ave-Mill-Valley-CA-94941/61243300_zpid/
A loft in the Clocktower building: https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/461-2nd-St-APT-C135-San-Francisco-CA-94107/15148042_zpid/
A modern houseboat in Sausalito: https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/40-W-Pier-Sausalito-CA-94965/2088492051_zpid/
An art deco penthouse on the Embarcadero: https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/1360-Montgomery-St-San-Francisco-CA-94133/2072903737_zpid/