299 Santa Paula Avenue
It’s a rather spectacular Mediterranean styled villa up above St. Francis Woods, and they’re only asking $543 a square foot. Keep in mind, however, that at almost 11,000 square feet that’s a total of $5,900,000 for 299 Santa Paula Avenue.
299 Santa Paula Avenue: Living
Rather gorgeous woodwork, incredible condition, great views and quite simply, living large.
299 Santa Paula: Bed
∙ Listing: 299 Santa Paula Avenue (5/5.5) – $5,900,000 [299santapaulaave.com] [MLS]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by anon

    Lovely juxtaposition of timeless architecture with photos of a street rat of a dog who appears to be wearing a collar studded with the words “six pack”.
    Two realtors marketing this property and neither thought to themselves “hey, what does the mutt have to do with the manse?”.

  2. Posted by lars

    Very nice, very nice, indeed.

  3. Posted by The Drizzler

    Thanks anon for pointing out the picture of the dog – the other 38 pictures make the place look fantastic, but including one of a dog? How dare they! Guess I will be spending my 5.9 mm elsewhere!
    Seriously, this place is sweet. I know some properties that are featured on here deserve to be bashed but anyone who says they wouldn’t kill for this place is lying.

  4. Posted by sparky-C

    If I had the money this is where I would spend it. Although I would rather it be a smaller and therefore hopefully less expensive.

  5. Posted by sf

    It looks like a mobile home in the top photo.

  6. Posted by SausalitoRes

    Impressive rug collection.

  7. Posted by Trip

    Yes, pretty awesome. And you’ll actually get to see a sky as blue as in the pictures about twice a year here! Too far from public transportation would also kill it for me — but I realize I’m in the minority on that point. My 2 cents is you may as well move to the burbs for 1/2 the price if you have to jump in the car to do anything (although I’d spend a lot more time at home in a place like this).

  8. Posted by rabbits

    0.5 miles to West Portal Station. Might be too far if you’re on crutches, but otherwise close enough for me. (and that sort of thing is important in my world too)

  9. Posted by Geo

    Too far from public transportation
    Trip, it is hardly too far from Muni — West Portal is a very short walk from this place..I actually make the walk..and the views are amazing way more than you think..

  10. Posted by sparky-C

    Well, let’s see trip. I guess today is one of the 2 days; the Noe vs. WP/SFW is greatly exaggerated. And this house is 3 blocks from where the K-L-M go underground. It’s a great commute area. Not to mention going down the penninsula is quicker here than oh say Now Valley.

  11. Posted by sleepiguy

    I really love it! It looks like something in Montecito. I haven’t been to that side of town in years – seriously. Is the weather really that poor? SF proper has had a surprising mild winter with lots of sunny days.

  12. Posted by FHB

    ‘Too far from public transportation’
    Please, do you need public transportation if you can afford this house?

  13. Posted by auden

    Who buys in St Francis Woods? What is the demographic? thanks.

  14. Posted by Trip

    1/2 mile to West Portal? I could handle that — I stand corrected.

  15. Posted by paco

    “Who buys in St Francis Woods? What is the demographic? ”
    people who want to move to the suburbs but do not want the good schools or weather…;/

  16. Posted by flaneur

    We keep hearing the rich are getting richer, but when I compare the quality of what the rich built three generations ago to today’s MacMansions or penthouses, I do not think the evidence supports the alleged trend.

  17. Posted by sparky-C

    I have been in this hood and Noe Valley literally every day for the last 2 years except for vacations. 5 days did it not get sunny in WP when it was nice in NV. Sometimes the fog comes in late afternoon vs. NV, but that fog stops at 19th ave a lot of the time too.

  18. Posted by LMRiM

    This is a very impressive house – probably one of the most (if not THE) most impressive locations in St. Francis. It is directly above and across the street from St. Francis green (the fountain is atthe bottom of the park, at the top of St Francis Blvd.).
    It is foggy out there, but nothing like what Trip implies :) I lived out there for 6 years, and I’d say 150-180 days out of the year you’ll get blue skies like that (more in recent years it seems). However, late June through September typically sees heavy fog, and sometimes the whole are is fogged in for weeks (but as I said, much less so in the last few years). Fall and Spring are usually beautiful (especially Fall).
    The demographic that is currently buying in St. Francis is heavily Asian (typically ethnic Chinese families) from what I can tell.

  19. Posted by Carrie White's Mom

    I’m sorry, I’m not trying to be an ass (sometimes it just happens), but I just cant get wood for the manse. Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate it’s undeniable grandeur and splendor, and I feel nothing but hugz for the “Mediterranean Style” — but outside of the Mediterranean this reads like an old movie set to me. It’s a simulacrum of something absent, something not really there, and “timelessness” —— by who’s clock exactly?
    It reminds me of the Hearst Castle and all that infers about conspicuous consumption and “wealth”. It’s heck’a ostentatious and more than a little campy, I half expect to find Liberace reclining in that bed.
    No, if I had that kind’a mad-scrilla this would not be my joint, and I’m getting a little annoyed at being told that I secretly want these tired notion of “class”. At the risk of overstating my point, it is (partly) this sort’a Monster Home mentality that got us into the financial mess we’re in right now.
    I know The Drizzler was simply turning a phrase, and I’m getting my weave in a tangle about nothing, but it’s Monday and I woke up in a foul mood, so NO, I would not kill for this place, and NO, I’m not lying.
    > Rant Off

  20. Posted by Mark

    “Simulacrum of something absent”
    hahaha thank you, Jean-Luc Baudrillard. May I build on your observations and suggest that the absent signifieds demarcated by this architectural play of signs corresponds to our system of fiat currency. Money, too, re-presents itself as an ambassador of “real” value, but the stability it portends is always a dream deferred…..

  21. Posted by eddy

    Wow. Not my taste, but pretty impressive. To get this in SF for $6M seems quite unique; and of course, it could very well sell for less. Too bad they didn’t feature more of the garage space; and I’d like to some some interior of the kids castle too! What’s the story with the $600 HOA Dues? Is St FW a big association?

  22. Posted by cooper

    Now THAT is some high quality RE Porn. I wish there were more view shots from the rooms themselves but the interior is spectacular.
    I agree that at 5.9–it’s far better than living at some Penhouse in one of these high rises.

  23. Posted by Fishchum

    Count me in with Carrie White’s Mom on this one – it’s impressive, to be sure, but if I had this kind of scratch to buy a place I just wouldn’t want to be in this area.
    The interior reminds me a lot of the interiors in a lot of these high end places – it looks awful, like something only my grandparents could live in. For $6 million I’m POSITIVE I could find something more suited to my tastes in Cow Hollow, Russian Hill, Presidio Heights, or Cole Valley.

  24. Posted by briefremarks

    A minor point here. The simulacrum, at least if we are speaking of Baudrillard, is never “of” something–absence or presence. It is it’s own terrain, the land of the hyperreal, and as I gaze at this magnificant house I am struck only by how thoroughly it obliterates any attempt to disconnect from references. On the other hand if we approached this as Platonists or as Nietzsche…

  25. Posted by jessep

    Seller must need money fast. It’s a great property and it’ll probably go fast.

  26. Posted by tipster

    Very nice, the solarium is particularly striking, but eleven thousand square feet *is* a bit much, even for the burbs. Just the heating costs are probably over a grand a month. But someone who is looking to impress, and willing to spend the money to do so, will grab it.

  27. Posted by LMRiM

    I’m actually a little surprised at how *low* the price is for 299 Santa Paula. That house (at least from the outside) is the one or two houses in St. Francis that I would have guessed could command an 8-figure price tag, idf any could. I don’t like the “faux Tuscan farmhouse” exterior paint treatment (I think it would look much better and less over the top with a simple off-white), but there is no comparison (at least from the outside) between this house and for instance 1601 Monterey (featured on SS – just sold for $5M) or 285 San Anselmo (7000 square foot house on a double lot that sold for $4.1M in 2001). The location is superb for out there – set on a bit of a hill, the “front yard” is literally St. Francis Park with its signature fountain.
    If this doesn’t sell for significantly for than its listing, I’d be really surprised. And if this fails to sell for a big number, then you can really see how misguided the developers were who thought they could get $10m for that ridiculous Solaria fiasco. If 299 Santa Paula can’t get more than $10M, then no house in St. Francis could! (I bet that’s right).
    About HOA, there is an association that maintains the two parks, paygrounds, tennis courts and fountains. $600 sounds like a quarterly charge (most of the St. Francis houses have $1-2K assessments per year, and i think it’s based on the original lot size when the neighborhood was laid out, but I’m notpositive about that).

  28. Posted by Salarywoman

    Perfect California noir setting. Very Raymond Chandler. Love it. But not to live in.

  29. Posted by redseca2

    I was thinking you would end up with something like this is if you were to do a quick flip and smart staging of the house in the movie “Sunset Boulevard”.

  30. Posted by jessep

    Its absolutely gorgeous, but I think a little too big for my tastes. Does one human being need 11,000 square feet?
    I don’t think I do. =)

  31. Posted by feskone

    hehe What is that? 18th century burgeon? Is this how we upgrade and update along with public subcounscious? We can clearly see who is who in followed comments. :)

  32. Posted by SFer

    Sign me up. This is the type of home I want. Granted I love a modern-styled condo, nothing beats something like this.

  33. Posted by sparky-C

    Wonder why the pool doesn’t show up in the photos? I guess they didn’t want to cut out the 2 dog photos, or the artichoke.
    P.S. this house is integral color stucco and not painted.

  34. Posted by Jimmy (No Longer Bitter)

    Who needs 11,000 square feet? Try living in a 750 square foot house for a few years …. with a dog (and children coming), then you will discover that you, too, need *at least* 11,000 square feet.

  35. Posted by Jeffe'

    Is this part of the Ricardo Montalbahn estate sale?

  36. Posted by jessep

    Jimmy,
    my condo is 1700 square feet (inside).
    I don’t have a dog yet or kids, but I think even for a lot of people that’s a lot of square footage?
    No? Maybe I’m wrong.

  37. Posted by Jimmy (No Longer Bitter)

    Gotta think big, jessep.

  38. Posted by briefremarks

    I see a tax assessment from late 1998 on propertyshark of about $2.64m, and no permits for any major work on sfgov. Does anyone know if this place was updated much by the present owners? At list price, this would represent over 100% appreciation over 10 years. It seems almost shocking today to imagine that such a place could be purchased for less than $3.0m ten years ago.

  39. Posted by Dude

    Actually, home prices are supposed to double every ten years. Suzanne researched this.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyZpNIyVKQk

  40. Posted by redseca2

    I remember the long past SF chronicle columnist Herb Caen going on and on about the first house sale in SF for over $1 million – sometime in the early to mid ’80’s.

  41. Posted by SFer

    Tax records show they bought it in 1980 for $643,000. Sitting on over half an acre.. dang.

  42. Posted by briefremarks

    Hi Dude,
    I saw the video you posted and am now wondering if you mean this seriously or as some further take on “simulacrum.” The facts are quite straightforward: on average home prices, adjusted for inflation, remained constant (equal to no appreciation), except for the period beginning in the late 90’s. Now, some areas may be exceptions, but if the video is really talking about home prices on average, over time and region, it is a bald lie, without any contact with fact or reality.

  43. Posted by embarcadero

    I love this like I love all Vincent Price movies.
    It looks like the house on haunted hill. In a good way, of course. I’d move in… then I’d invite some people up and offer them money to spend the night…
    If I had that kinda cash, I think I’d grab it.
    BTW – Could someone tell realtors that uninitiated audio on their lil’ websites is hecka annoying?

  44. Posted by Juju

    It’s a cute doggie. :-)
    I would buy the place in heart beat if I had the money. Although I’m not liking the weather over there but I guess I can suffer in that kind of a house. The house looked like it was updated maybe 5-7 years ago so at least it doesn’t have that dated 1990s look.
    1700sqft is quite large. I actually lived in a house twice that size before. Never thought it was unmanageable. But there were rooms that I hardly step into. Not very efficient use of space I suppose. I would love to experience 11,000 sqft house though. But I think it’ll probably be a bit scary by myself.

  45. Posted by sfrisa

    This little enclave is surrounded by 19th Avenue and Ocean, Stonestown, ParkMerced and Ingleside, just to name a few. Used to live nearby and saw this rather typical SF-Woods “faux Mediterranee” (btw, fairly priced at about 2.5M at that time) being significantly rebuilt (expanded and extended, not only “renovated”) and being a construction site for more than a year. In fact, SF Woods, because of its poor location, weather (no less foggy than Daly City), and somewhat “unexiting” demographics (for fear to be called non p-correct, let me just say that its a mixture of elderly empty-nesters and immigrant nouveau-riches), has always been significantly behind appreciation of SF proper, as clearly defined by SS-ers.
    Continuing on the theme of the day, though, and envoking a Deleuzeal philosophical model, examples of this type of fake grandeur are omnipresent in California (just drive through Hillsborough or ride a bike in Tiburon aka “Belvedere” (with or without Satchel), and you would see those Michurin-like hybrids of Palazzo Pitti with agriturismo, the simulacra of status and success. Just my 2 foreign santimes:-)

  46. Posted by Jimmy (No Longer Bitter)

    Don’t you mean “centimes”?

  47. Posted by sparky-C

    Your 2 cents would be worth more if St. Francis bordered any of the places you site. But, I guess you use surrounded, as in- surrounded on all 2 sides by places it doesn’t border.
    And it would have some value if $2.5M wasn’t a joke of a number. Even LMRiM thinks your way off on that one.

  48. Posted by sfrisa

    Jimmy,
    Santime is Ethiopian and also Latvian currency unit: 1/100 of their “birrs” or “lats” :-). It seems about time to learn about other currencies lol.

  49. Posted by anonn

    Or, even better, it might be a good time to learn about the real estate you comment upon. Do you have any idea how far St. Francis Wood is from Ingleside? “Surrounded” ? Everything you said was wrong, and said in a very pretentious manner. Kudos.

  50. Posted by billybobberkeley

    Hey anon, you must have a great eye for marketing! Clearly you don’t know about “painting the big picture,” which, if you’ve ever worked w/ or seen the other sites created by the creators of the site, is what they do…. not to mention, what owner wouldn’t want to see a picture of their dog on the site, and since they are the ones that foot the bill…
    it’s the little things, anon. it’s the idea of picturing YOUR dog there, your details, your LIFE. that is what it’s all about. I wish more people in the marketing side of things would do this. maybe someone is jealous they didn’t get the listing? hmm.

  51. Posted by Jimmy (Spelling Nazi)

    sfrisa: good point about the Ethipian birr. That reference to Gilles Deleuze had me thinking francs for some reason :-)
    and, anonn: its “cite” not “site” …

  52. Posted by billybobberkeley

    btw, the last comment was aimed towards the “anon” at the top of the page.. not, “anonn” . . .

  53. Posted by billybobberkeley

    and lastly… to the person who said it’s all crap schools and bad weather…
    I’m not sure I would call Lowell and Saint Ig bad schools… in fact, you have a public and private that, respectively, are the best in the city. And they are CLOSE.
    good call ::thumbs down, farting noise from mouth::
    if I didn’t live in Berkeley my kids would be going to either one.

  54. Posted by anonn

    Sparky said site when he meant cite. Big deal. But great job correcting the wrong guy’s spelling, Bitter Teacher Jimmy. Also excellent job lauding currency triva while ignoring the pointedly incorrect majority of what was said. I give your grading skills an F – .

  55. Posted by Jimmy (Bitter Professor)

    anonn — I have a Ph.D in nit-picking, so I’d prefer it if you referred to me as “Bitter Professor Jimmy.”
    Truth is I don’t know anything about philosophy or geography and I really don’t care… but I can’t stand bad grammar.
    [Editor's Note: Tit for tat and now back to 299 Santa Paula Avenue...]

  56. Posted by sfrisa

    @ Jimmy, a self-proclaimed “Spelling Nazi”
    As much as I would hate to correct somebody’s grammar (I was an ESL student not long ago), I just could not resist: not “Ethipian”, but “Ethiopian” – otherwise, Jimmy, thanks for the compliment!
    @ Anonn: in case you did not notice, the “pretentiousness” was purposeful, just to mimic the style of some of the above posts :-))

  57. Posted by anonn

    “@ Anonn: in case you did not notice, the “pretentiousness” was purposeful, just to mimic the style of some of the above posts :-))”
    OK sfrisa. I’ll be on the lookout for your faux high handed style from here on out. But a word to the wise. When you couple sarcasm with incorrect factual material the endgame is completely lost on most.

  58. Posted by Geo

    word is, she is under contract already…dont know the price..

  59. Posted by Geo

    $5.4 is the number I hear…

  60. Posted by LMRiM

    Wow, I’m actually surprised that this house didn’t go for more than $5.4M at this early stage of the bubble unwind.
    Perhaps sparky-c could chime in here, but I think this is a whole lot more (like 50%+ more) house than 1601 Monterey (just sold for $5M) or 285 San Anselmo (sold for $4.1M in 2001, and then had a complete gut remodel down to studs – house was “see through” for a few months in 03 iirc). Much better micro-neighborhood, better views, frontage on the park and just much more “presence”. Still too “yellow” for my taste, though, on the integral stucco – needs a paintjob :)

  61. Posted by Geo

    I am actually surprised it went so quickly, in the teeth of the maelstrom, but some houses have the drawing power & apparently this is one of them.

  62. Posted by LMRiM

    It sounds like you know the area pretty well, Geo. I’ve walked by that house at least 200 times (I’m pretty sure that my dog has played with the distinctive ratty-looking dog that is in some of the listing photos – not too many dogs have that “mohawk” cut, which the owner told me was distinctive to the breed the name of which I unfortunately can’t remember).
    Except perhaps for San Buenaventura Avenue, I don’t think there is a nicer stretch of houses/block than that corner of Santa Paula, and I can’t think offhand of any house in St. Francis with the presence of 299 Santa Paula (recognizing of course that it wouldn’t appeal to everyone).
    I’m really not surprised that it went quickly, and if it did go $500K below list, kudos to the seller for quickly agreeing. It’s a really nice place, but it will be garner lower bids in the next few years. (Conversely, kudos even to the buyer. Sure, IMO he’s overpaying, but there’s no guarantee that THAT house would be available again, and it’s unique enough to justify tossing away some FRNs.)

  63. Posted by Geo

    I live in the area, so I know this little corner of the world.
    It certainly is the most imposing house in the ‘hood, I think it has to be one of the largest if not the largest. 1601 Monterey is only 5-6,000 ft²,and 285 san anselmo as you note correctly has a wonderful presence, but still only what 6,000 ft² (that is a beautiful place)?
    My take on it is along the same lines, folks were waiting for THAT house to come on the market…because it could easily be off the market for another 30 years…
    I dont mind the yellow so much, but just think it is simply too big…
    And the seller was smart to move quickly as opposed to struggle to collect the last nickel that may never appear…

  64. Posted by SocketSite

    299 Santa Paula Avenue has fallen out of contract and is once again active and available, and is why we tend not to note “sales” until they’ve actually closed (or at the very least have waived their contingencies).

  65. Posted by jessep

    Really?! Wow, what happened.
    I was sure this house would go.

  66. Posted by LMRiM

    I’m surprised too. I wouldn’t think anyone buying that place would be very price-sensitive or economy sensitive. Perhaps there is some sort of issue relating tothe physical structure of the property?

  67. Posted by SocketSite

    The list price for 299 Santa Paula Avenue has been reduced to $5,495,000.

  68. Posted by Geo

    Was this pulled/expired?

  69. Posted by EBGuy

    There is a NOD that just showed up on RealtyTrac in the general vicinity of this home. I haven’t been able to get confirmation on the SF Recorder’s website.

  70. Posted by EBGuy

    Our first SFW NOD; I think I’ve got enough information to call it. The square footage showed up on RealtyTrac and it corresponds to the home across the street from the villa featured on this thread. The home at 250 Santa Paula was bought in 2003 for $910k and underwent a massive renovation in 2005 (permits show $800k of work). The owner is in the construction industry. It appears to be for sale here at $2.9million.
    Relationships of ownership
    They whisper in the wings
    To those condemned to act accordingly
    And wait for succeeding kings
    And I try to harmonize with songs
    The lonesome sparrow sings
    There are no kings inside the Gates of Eden

  71. Posted by West Portal

    It was only a matter of time since there already have been some over in FH.
    Props to EBGuy! You are one of the most consistent sources of good info still posting on SS.

  72. Posted by sparky-b

    If they bought for $910 and spent $800K, then the already cashed out a re-fi. Otherwise they could drop the price a ton.

  73. Posted by Geo

    250 Santa Paula: They tried to unload this one in ’08 and could not get the price they wanted..I can’t recall how much it was listed for, but it was pricey then, and still is pricey now.
    very fancy work, nicely done, but the layout is tough.

  74. Posted by 94114

    Geo: Check out 166 Palo Alto. Very cool!

  75. Posted by Geo

    166 Palo Alto – I did not see that one — way cool pix; will need to check out the open house.

  76. Posted by Geo

    166 Palo Alto is contigent already…

  77. Posted by SocketSite

    The list price for 299 Santa Paula Avenue has been reduced to $5,249,000: Santa You Shouldn’t Have! (299 Santa Paula Avenue Cuts).

  78. Posted by GreenLantern

    When I was a kid growing up in the area the rumor was Hot Tuna (band from the 70’s) lived and partied hard there.It always had a Beverly Hillsesque feel.
    Little info from their web site
    ” the mid 1960s, Jorma was asked to audition to play guitar for a new band that was forming in San Francisco. Though an acoustic player at heart, he grew interested in the electronic gadgetry that was beginning to make an appearance in the popular music scene — particularly in a primitive processor brought to the audition by a fellow named Ken Kesey — and decided to join that band; soon thereafter he summoned his young friend from Washington, who now played the bass.
    Thus was created the unique (then and now) sound that was The Jefferson Airplane. Jorma even contributed the band’s name, drawn from a nickname a friend had for the blues-playing Jorma. Jack’s experience as a lead guitarist led to a style of bass playing which took the instrument far beyond its traditional role”.

  79. Posted by Lori

    Another nit-picker here, why don’t realtors have people proofread their work? Seriously. Spelling errors, usage errors, redundancies, etc. If I were the homeowner I would have a fit after I read the description on the website.

  80. Posted by EBGuy

    The Franchise Tax Board just filed a lien against the owner of 250 Santa Clara (see my post above on November 10, 2009 5:38 PM). It’s only a matter of time?

  81. Posted by Geo

    250 Santa Clara — odd, the taxes on that one are “relatively” low. last bought back in 92 for $900k; but PS shows the assessment at $1.2 million, cant see a mortgage. I would buy that tax lien…

  82. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    I’m no tax expert, but wouldn’t a lien from the FTB imply that the owner owes on their personal income tax, not property tax ? The FTB lien could be an independent issue.

  83. Posted by sfrenegade

    Agree with Milkshake — but it’s probably not a good sign even if it’s independent. It’s pretty easy to avoid a tax lien from FTB if you can afford to pay (even in installments/credit cards/whatever).

  84. Posted by EBGuy

    I’m no tax expert, but wouldn’t a lien from the FTB imply that the owner owes on their personal income tax, not property tax ?
    Yes. I did that to indicate (possible) financial distress; hence “matter of time?” versus “matter of time.” Again, the owner is in construction so he is probably affected by the downturn. Please note: my comment at February 18, 2010 11:11 AM should read 250 Santa Paula Ave (not Santa Clara).

  85. Posted by Geo

    Ahh 250 Santa Paula makes more sense…

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