March 27, 2009

For The Love Of Fridays And 433 Lovell Across The Way (Mill Valley)

433 Lovell

We were tempted to simply write "too beautiful to describe," but we didn't. It’s been in DWELL, but we won’t hold that against it. And yes, it's in Mill Valley on half an acre.

433 Lovell: Between the buildings

Completed in 2006 by its architect owners, 433 Lovell features four bedrooms, three and one-half baths, and around 4,000 square feet (not including the tree house out back).

433 Lovell: Kitchen

Not yet listed or official inventory, but coming soon and seeking $4,175,000.

∙ Listing: 433 Lovell Avenue, Mill Valley (4/3.5) - $4,175,000 [433lovell.com]
A Maybeck On The Market (And Display) Once Again: 270 Castenada [SocketSite]
Quezada Architecture [thinkqa.com]

First Published: March 27, 2009 6:30 PM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

That is a nice house- and well done. Though personally not my first preference. What's "Cruz" and "Rio"? I think of Santa Cruz and Rio de Janeiro. So I assume it's their daughter's names (or their dogs have their own rooms). Cute names and better than Trig, Trapp or Bristol.

Posted by: StockBoySF at March 27, 2009 9:13 PM

Beautiful. New and sleek but doesn't look like an office park. TWITA.

Posted by: kthnxybe at March 27, 2009 10:36 PM

Great property, hideous home. I live in MV, and this typifies a lot of the newer home builds in the area. Bubble money meets feng shui with a dash of modern San Francisco chic. Tacky...

Posted by: Jorge at March 27, 2009 11:05 PM

Half an acre in this area means jack for a 4MM home, btw. The architecture is no doubt stunning, just not so fitting in it's environs. It's like dropping a Harley engine in an MV Agusta.

Posted by: Jorge at March 27, 2009 11:27 PM

Beautiful home. I can imagine that it doesn't go over well with the crowd that confuses Mill Valley with Darien, Connecticut. It meshes with the environment seamlessly with the extensive use of natural and reclaimed material. Nothing sadder than the provincial attitudes of the not-so-landed gentry who think that the Colonials in Ross are the zenith in Marin living. BORING.

The façade is clearly oriented toward the canyon/view and away from neighboring properties, so protestations about inappropriate scale are fairly pointless. And half an acre in MV never means jack, BTW.

Posted by: amused at March 28, 2009 8:41 AM

I think this house is gorgeous.

Posted by: NoeNut at March 28, 2009 10:25 AM

To be fair to the "feng shui meets SF chic" comment, there are definitely a few things in these photos that don't appeal to me personally. Mainly the plumbing fixtures and the "floating" cabinetry and most of the furniture. Too trendy, and a bit tacky because it is self-consciously expensive looking.

But those things are really easy to replace - the home itself, I like. A lot.

Posted by: kthnxybe at March 28, 2009 10:39 AM

The house lacks warmth. The grey finishes, the bare concrete. Nice conversational piece but not exactly my cup of tea. By the way, what's up with the outdoor shower without a spa or pool ?

Posted by: Outsider at March 28, 2009 10:52 AM

Quezada Architecture is a good Bay Area architecture firm, and I have always admired their work, as well as their(The Quezada's) own home. The strange thing is that their portfolio of work is mostly commercial offices, and I hope they do more residential projects in the future since they do this type of construction very well.

Posted by: Morgan at March 28, 2009 2:33 PM

I drove by this place yesterday. It looks pretty cool, not terribly out of character for that particular part of Lovell because of the presence of a number of recently built large houses.

The entire house is below street level, built on a very steep slope that falls away from the street towards the southeast. For that reason, it doesn't look like any of the 1/2 acre is really usable - just the decks and the treehouse.

Lovell is very narrow in many parts leading to the house (it was a bit of a tight squeeze to get my truck through in a few spots because of parked cars jutting out), and it is not really walking distance to the center of MV because of the slope of the street, narrowness of road, absence of any sidewalk or room, etc. It could be a hassle driving out of there at school time or peak commute times (2-way traffic is not possible in many places) although perhaps so few people live (or work/have kids) on the street that this is not a problem. I'd guess parking would be a hassle if you were to have a lot of guests over (not much room right in front of the house or in the long but narrow access driveway).

The house looks pretty cool, though. To buy it, you have to really love the design. The view is nothing special - just a bunch of trees across a small canyon/nothing that you don't get in hundreds of spots in Marin (although I bet the light in the house is pretty spectacular).

For anyone living up here and wanting to see examples of cool older houses (mostly brown shingle, some craftsman-type, etc.) in a spectacular canyon/seasonal stream setting with giant redwoods in front yards, on the sides of the road, and literally in the middle of the rosd, I recommend Madrone Avenue in Larkspur (turn west on Madrone off Magnolia just before the center of town when driving north).

Posted by: LMRiM at March 29, 2009 7:11 AM

I have a hard time understanding why anyone would pay $4 million to buy a place that's impossible to access and is waiting for the hillside above to fall on it.

It's a shame because it looks like a neat house - maybe next time it should be built in a more useful location.

Posted by: Mizz at March 29, 2009 10:47 AM

One thought that always concerns me about Mill Valley is the fire danger. Has there ever been a fire in hillside Mill Valley neighborhoods similar to the Oakland Hills tragedy? The trees and shrubs that make some of the hillside streets of Mill Valley, along with LMRIM's description of the narrow access reminds me a LOT of the old Oakland Hills neighborhoods that burned. Still love the house though, and think they did a great job.

Posted by: Morgan at March 29, 2009 12:10 PM

@amused, I'm not sure I understand the Darien comment. I'm not typical, but the first thing I think of in Darien is the Smith House.

Posted by: steve at March 29, 2009 10:02 PM

Simply driving the town's steep residential streets can evoke a deep sense of foreboding. Cars have difficulty passing one another. Streets are often clogged with traffic.

"If we have a fire here, it's going to be very challenging getting residents out and firefighters and equipment in," said Davidson

from SFGATE

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2003/10/30/MNG292MBIB1.DTL&type=printable

Posted by: Reasonforconcern at March 30, 2009 10:41 AM

I love the Darien comments - I grew up there and have been to high school keg parties in the Smith House!

Posted by: LongTimeRenter at March 30, 2009 2:54 PM

wow. absolutely dreamy. is it that out of place? other than the kitchen/bathrooms, it looks like it could have been built in the early 70s. as for being hard to get to, isn't that the point?

Posted by: hugh at March 30, 2009 8:10 PM

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