There are more than 60 properties in Russian Hill on the market, but only one built any time before the 20th century. An expansive Italianate house on Van Ness between Lombard and Chestnut, which was built in 1875, just came on the market Saturday, and it’s a remarkably rare occasion. The 136-year-old house was originally located on Larkin at Broadway (well before the Broadway Tunnel was built in 1950), but it was moved in 1904 to its current location — its saving grace from the 1906 fire.
Another of the mansion’s unusual distinctions is that it has been owned and occupied by the same family who built it — and its fine architectural details, elegant staircase, grand rooms, opulent chandeliers, carved marble fireplaces and polished wood floors — more than a century ago. Which family? Well, I’ve done some digging in public records and come up short. I would be interested to hear their story.As for the interior décor, you have all the staples you’d expect from a home of that era: stained glass windows, ornately carved wood furniture, ceiling medallions, tufted settees, and family portrait oil paintings — all of which, naturally, are just superficial.
Anyone who’s ever taken Real Estate 101 knows that “location, location, location” is key to house-hunting, so let’s talk about the latitude and longitude of this beauty. One of the greatest perks of this palace is that it’s kitty-corner to Black Magic Voodoo Lounge, the best New Orleans bar in the city and one of the few places to find an Abita beer in SF. Meanwhile, if you stick your head out of one of the front windows and to the right, you can see the Bay — score! Another plus: you’re also a step away from the bus stop, whether you ride the 30, the 30x, the 47, or the 49. Unfortunately, the house is on noisy Van Ness — can stained glass be double-paned? — and the house is uncomfortably close to Galileo Academy, the alma mater of none other than O.J. Simpson. Ayeeeeeeeee!