April 30, 2009

2009 Decorator Showcase (2830 Pacific) Opens Its Doors And Kimono

2830 Pacific Avenue

San Francisco's 2009 Decorator Showcase at 2830 Pacific simultaneously opened its doors this past weekend and hit the market this week. As a plugged-in reader noted, now listed at an official $12,900,000 and rather uniquely presented in all its design glory online.

2830 Pacific: Family Room

If you like what you see, go see it for yourself and report back. It is a fundraiser after all.

2830 Pacific: Roof Deck

At this point we count at least five other recent Decorator Showcase homes on the market in addition to 2830 Pacific including 2500 Divisadero and 2601 Broadway.

UPDATE: According to a plugged-in tipster the property was being shopped at $15.5M about 6 months ago.

∙ Listing: 2830 Pacific (7/6) - $12,900,000 [sfproperties.com] [MLS]
Another Ex-Decorator Showcase Is Officially Listed: 2500 Divisadero [SocketSite]
Decorator Showcase Miss 2000 Officially Hits The Market On Broadway [SocketSite]

First Published: April 30, 2009 10:00 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

Bars on the windows - always a sign of a classy neighborhood.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at April 30, 2009 10:20 AM

What is the approx. square footage on this house?

For the showcase homes do they ever perform systems upgrades, etc, or is the work purely cosmetic?

Posted by: Joshua at April 30, 2009 10:37 AM

A historical note:

In the 1970s, following the Patty Hearst kidnapping, numerous C-level corporate officers in San Francisco were securing their homes. I know at least one resident of Pacific Heights who installed bars in those days.

Don't have any way of knowing when these bars might have been installed.

Posted by: SausalitoRes at April 30, 2009 10:41 AM

With a view like that, why install opaque glass on the patio? Looks like you can't see a thing when you sit down on that chaise.

Posted by: Landscaper at April 30, 2009 10:44 AM

I like the mysterious floating blue box.

[Editor’s Note: We’re responsible for the “blue box.” It’s nothing nefarious and if you take the time to click though the links you’ll understand why.]

Posted by: photoshop at April 30, 2009 10:58 AM

Usually, the showcase homes are just cosmetic jobs, but some are "remodeled" (like last year's disaster) by the owners. I don't think this one was. I'm fairly sure the designers had no allowance this year so pretty much all the finishes had to come out of the their own pockets. Which is also why I don't really see any of the usual big names here.

Re: The bars. Everywhere in SF has crime - lots and lots of crime. Bars on lower windows are a necessity no matter the block.

Posted by: sleepiguy at April 30, 2009 11:05 AM

The frosted glass blocks the ugly rooftops and leaves nothing but the pretty bay view. No one sits outside on a chaise in SF: Brrrr. Outdoor heaters don't do much in windy climes absent 3 sides and a top enclosed. You go, stand there, enjoy the view, get too cold and walk inside. I think they did it exactly right.

I agree with sleepiguy re bars on the windows: a must for SF. It's not a sign of a bad neighborhood, it's a sign of responsible people.

Posted by: tipster at April 30, 2009 11:42 AM

I assume the price tag does not include the furnishings. Any guesses on what the asking price would be if it did?

Posted by: dd at April 30, 2009 11:57 AM

The frosted glass on the roof deck insures one who is truly sunbathing doesn't get too exposed to the surrounding elements - the neighbors - va va voom.

Posted by: PDT at April 30, 2009 12:00 PM

I'd say this it the best home in this price range in SF. Getting north of $10M is going to be tricky IMO. There were a few >$10M sales in the prior year but I don't think there have been any in the past 8 months. There just aren't that many people with that much disposable income.

They did do a lot of work over the past few months on this place. I'll be checking this home out for sure.

Posted by: eddy at April 30, 2009 12:02 PM

Normally the furniture is not included. My guess is there's probably only 1-2 million in furnishings here - the art probably taking up a big chuck of that number. If a buyer was really, REALLY serious, however, I bet through some careful negotiations with Malin you could buy the house and all the decor (with some exclusions of course) for the asking price.

Posted by: sleepiguy at April 30, 2009 12:08 PM

FYI - I was only kidding about bars indicating a bad neighborhood in this case. I do know where this house is located.

Still I don't think that bars are really needed anymore considering how good and cheap alarm systems have become. Yeah, an alarm won't prevent entry but it does make for a very strong deterrent (especially if the SLA comes for your daughter).

Ground floor bars are not needed all over the city. Check out many of the SFHs listed here on SS : Plenty of walk up windows vulnerable to smash and grab.

For those who still think bars are needed, there are much classier options that don't look like a jail cell. It's the first thing you see walking up the front steps here.

(sorry to have diverted the conversation to bars. Maybe it is time to clock out and go to a bar :o)


Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at April 30, 2009 12:41 PM

Have you noticed that all the dark wood, including the ceiling box beams, has been painted white? And in the entry, they have painted the ceiling between the beams black. The wood staircase has been painted white. The fireplaces have been painted white.

This may be decorator chic, but it does not necessarily appeal to the haute bourgoisie who can afford to live here. Many people take the paint off and restore the dark wood.

Do decorators get a discount on white and black paint?

Posted by: Conifer at April 30, 2009 12:41 PM

1) The living room looks like copyright infringement of Beetlejuice.

2) The wine cellar (if it's actually a cellar) is great for George Thorogood ("I Drink Alone"). Absurd.

I care a lot about the wine cellar I am putting into my resto job ATM. It has enough room for a LRMiM to bring me Tacos Jalisco when he visits (in exchange for Barolo and white truffles).

Posted by: LNMRiP(Italy) at April 30, 2009 12:59 PM

There are a lot of houses with ground floor bars around here, but they are probably no longer needed. This neighborhood, Pacific Avenue part of the Gold Coast, is well patrolled by police and some private agencies, and the neighbors are very alert. There are almost no neglected properties, and most have alarms. Security is generally good, and crime relatively low. Even a harmless person who appears homeless gets stopped in a few minutes, not just on this block, but for many blocks around in any direction. If you can afford to buy this house, crime is your last worry. First worry is undoing all the damage done in the name of Decoration!

Posted by: Conifer at April 30, 2009 1:17 PM

Conifer, I agree. The thing about that "decorator" style is that the dark walls/ceiling with white trim looks smart and fresh in an under-35's charming flat but looks more than a little "trying way too hard to be hip and chic" when it comes to a home better suited for a family or older grown ups. It's not so much that it's not fuddy-duddy enough, it is just that it doesn't really look appropriate for the situation. Maybe for a few of the rooms but not so prominently as it is done here. Also is the ironic animal head thing going to go away? It feels like we've been seeing that one for a good twenty years now.

I keep mentally peeling the paint off the trim and losing the "decorating" in these pictures myself. I rather like the view and floor plan and some of the rooms are okay. The kitchen isn't awful at all, which was a relief.

Posted by: kthnxybe at April 30, 2009 1:46 PM

Looking at it again, I think it's one of the nicest decorator showcases they have had, actually.

I'm not sure that the target market would have to change a lot to be comfortable here. I think it depends on how it all ties together when you see it in person.

Eddy, I'm not sure I'll have a chance to go on the tour, so please report back. :-) I want to know about the ballroom, too. I wonder why they didn't put any pics in.

Posted by: kthnxybe at April 30, 2009 2:15 PM

Horrors!
It's a handsome house but what they have done to it makes me shudder.

What it really needs is a complete seismic retrofit, a complete reorganization of bedrooms and bathrooms, and some decent closet space.

Even then, it only has views of the bay from the pentroom - that disappear as soon as you sit down.

Posted by: salarywoman at April 30, 2009 2:16 PM

Crime is still a problem in this neighborhood regardless. I live fairly close to this place and have the police on speed dial because of the constant break-ins and shady people wandering around after dark. Remember the arsonist that was arrested across the street from this place last year? I really don't think you can be too careful with security measures.

As for the paint... I'm of two minds about it (obvious - if you saw where I live!). First, you can't assume that the wood used was originally stain-grade. Lots of turn of the century houses in SF actually used paint grade wood on paneling and coffers making it almost impossible to stain dark a bunch of misc. wood types all jumbled together.

Personally, I keep as much of the dark stained wood as possible, but it does make a room really, really dark. Much of the light coming into SF homes is indirect and the dark wood just absorbs everything. So, I kind of base my decision on the amount of natural light coming into a room. If the room is dark regardless, I'd keep the dark stain on the paneling; but if the room is light and bright, I'm ok with painting the wood - as long at it's not bone white. Anyway, it's a personal preference and one that can easily be changed to suit the needs of the owner. So paint, don't paint - just don't rip it all out!

Posted by: sleepiguy at April 30, 2009 2:30 PM

I hate it when people harp on the brick/seismic retrofit thing. This brick building, like 99% of all brick buildings in the City, was almost certainly seismically retrofitted. After Loma Prieta, the City required all brick buildings to be retrofitted or demolished. At this rate, virtually all brick buildings are in compliance. I am not aware of a single residential building that is not (these are usually churches "halls" and other organization-type buildings).

Also, I think having a "his and hers" dressing room = enough closet space. I doubt the floorplan is to scale either. The views do not dissapear when you sit down, you just don't see the houses below you (you could always change the glass anyways for a few thousand, yippee if you can afford this place).

As for the wood, I agree with sleepiguy that it's good to retain the wood where you can so that future owners can uncover it if they wish. I for one, and virtually every designer I'm aware of, find a lot of dark wood to be oppressive and depressing in most situations... it works at night if you're having a seance or playing murder-mystery, but unless your a vampire it generally makes for a less than desirable lighting situation. But, to each his or her own.

Posted by: Jake at April 30, 2009 4:51 PM

"Crime is still a problem in this neighborhood regardless. I live fairly close to this place and have the police on speed dial because of the constant break-ins and shady people wandering around after dark. Remember the arsonist that was arrested across the street from this place last year? I really don't think you can be too careful with security measures".

I think many people in other parts of the city would be surprised by the crime in some northern areas. My parents used to own on Green Street between Scott and Pierce and finally gave up after numerous incidents. Even in the Marina I have noticed more and more strange people lurking late at night trying to open locked garage doors and side gates. The most intersting thing to me is the un-reported crimes, especially smashed side windows of parked cars and petty theft of items from garages.

As for the showcase house, how much longer do we have to suffer through the dark wall trend? Also, I find the current stuffed animal heads "decorating" walls and tables quite disturbing. The dead animal heads were also in the Noe Valley skateboarder trustafarian house recently featured both here and in the NYTimes.
In a city where many are Vegans, what is up with displaying dead animals?

Posted by: Morgan at April 30, 2009 4:56 PM

I think single family homes are exempt from the seismic retrofit ordinance.

Posted by: whatever at April 30, 2009 6:40 PM

Are the mounted buck heads and caribou (or moose) antlers politically correct, especially in this city? I would recommend to the people running the Decorator Showcase to search the public for paint as they came in the door.....

Posted by: StockBoySF at May 1, 2009 1:11 AM

"Are the mounted buck heads and caribou (or moose) antlers politically correct"

NO! Also, what is with display cases filled with bones, antlers and turtle shells?

The only room that is not over-designed is by John Wheatman. Wheatman is one of the last of the old style of Bay Area designers who does not copy what was going on in L.A. and New York. Instead, Wheatman and others form his generation struck out to help develope a regional Bay Area style that includes a lot of Asian influences. Most of the other non-Wheatman rooms in this house seem to be influenced strongly by the content of "World of Interiors" which is published in the U.K., I am not sure why?

I hope the Wheatman firm continues to promote a different direction for residential interiors.

Posted by: anonandon at May 1, 2009 8:39 AM

Could we have a little [perspective] from any RE pros (or amateurs) regarding the amount of $5+million inventory in Pacific Heights. Is this at "normal" historical levels?

Also, how about a smackdown between this and the Robertson Stevens property? I haven't yet decided, but think that one may be more flexible on price...

Posted by: EBGuy at May 1, 2009 11:09 AM

It's the most I've seen, by far! Well, at least in the post-99 "bubble" years. There are about 20+ $5 million and up properties on the MLS and many, many more that are for sale off market. There are absolutely no buyers in this price range right now, so putting a house or condo on the market is pretty much a sign of desperation.

Here's my thought. People who normally buy in this price range typically own something already, which, of course, they can't sell. I've said this before, but it bears repeating. People who buy the ultra-high end properties in Pacific Heights typically already own something in the neighborhood. Those buyers are gone.. and so are the buyers that would normally "move up" into their vacated houses. Likewise, the developers are gone too. So, three pools of buyers have totally been eliminated for homes in this price range.

Posted by: Sleepiguy at May 1, 2009 11:40 AM

Tax basis for this property is ~$2.6 million so the owners have bit of "wiggle room" on price. Still can't comprehend the $30k tax bill on that amount, let alone what it would be at full price.

Posted by: EBGuy at May 1, 2009 1:17 PM

There are several homes currently priced above $5M that should be simply not be priced above $5M. The buyers are basically non-existent and the few homes that have traded recently are downsizers (which is becoming more common) or people who already have significant equity doing a minor trade up in quality and location. Bottom line is that most any home will sell quickly if it has the right price. Many of these homes will be sitting a long time.

I'd also suggest that every single property currently listed above $10M (except for the two estate homes at the top end) will be virtually impossible to sell above $10m. I'll never count out Malin and her team to find buyers but this is going to be a tough one.

Posted by: eddy at May 1, 2009 3:25 PM

UPDATE: A plugged-in tipster reports: "...was being shopped at $15.5 about 6 months ago. Nice glossy Marketing Brochures and everything."

Posted by: SocketSite at May 1, 2009 6:23 PM

I went to the Showcase yesterday (after reading some of your comments here and laughing at some). The house is big, specifically the main floor with a huge living room, dinning room (oddly decorated), kitchen (modern but a little cold) and family / breakfast room (unimaginative but pretty). But agree with some of you about the animals in the foyer, why there?

The second floor layout however its weird, for a house in the 12MM+ price range, the master bedroom and bathroom are not even connected and where is the closet space? And I dont think the decorators thought about this! And can someone explain to me the Puppet Theater?

That said, some rooms really made more sense than others, the top floor for example was flawless. The Penthouse and Pethouse bathroom were really crisp and worked amazingly with the view - Kudos to Heather Hilliard and Nahemow Rivera. The study in the second floor was also one of my favorites, congrats to the folks at John Wheatman. And finally the Rose Garden & Breakfast Terrace by Kate Michels Landscape was very charming - loved the way they incorporated the herb garden!

Posted by: Debbie at May 3, 2009 11:46 AM

nice article in the local rag about one of the participants in the designer showcase:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/05/03/HOE6178J3H.DTL

Posted by: o+c at May 4, 2009 9:47 AM

My opinion, this is the best house and best buy in town. And it may be the best Showcase house ever, starting with the eye-catching “Mondrian” front landscaping, to the fabulous kitchen, yummy Man’s Dressing Room, the “Oh wow!” Meditation room, all the way through all four floors to the Penthouse and 360 degree roof garden. Kudos to all the designers!

I scratch my head over some petty complaints I read. “No closet space”? I agree with Jake who said “having hers and his dressing rooms = enough closet space”. I would say “even better than enough closet space”.

Sure, perhaps there is a color I might want to redo, or a chandelier that may be overstated. But the point is to make the experience of the brilliant changes the Showcase designers envisioned stand out. “Crime”? I too know the neighborhood and there is very little.

This is a very comfortable, now “modern”, family home that can also host large events. It has light, air, views, great proportions, excellent flow and design. I would get rid of the killer whale skeleton, though.

Posted by: GR at May 7, 2009 12:04 PM

I finally went, and I'll give a review later... (Not a fan) Sadly, like most of these old mansions, it has the floor plan from hell (no connecting baths, staircases everywhere, unusable lower level), and needs millions in upgrades.

Posted by: sleepiguy at May 10, 2009 11:09 AM

I think this is the most beautiful showcase in years. The house is gorgeous and gracious, light and sunny; I love the white painted woodwork and huge windows. Granted, some of the "accessories" are a bit over the top, but that is just an attention getting devise of decorators looking to make a mark...nobody would ever live with them. Get real! I think the whole house is useable, thanks to the elevator. The top floor is to die for, with a 360 degree deck and both city and bridge views. If it were my house, I would put the master bedroom suite up there, but the buyers will have that choice. I love the kitchen, which is huge. Somebody will be VERY lucky to get this house!

Posted by: somagrandgal at May 13, 2009 11:41 PM

and dropped to $9.995..bargain..

Posted by: Geo at May 19, 2009 4:43 PM

Hubba, hubba, here comes the Coalition of the Willing. Someone should give Robertson Stevens a call about the price on 2510 Jackson. I guess I called this one wrong -- looks someone needs to fund their retirement.

Posted by: EBGuy at May 19, 2009 5:20 PM

Wow!

Posted by: eddy at May 19, 2009 6:43 PM

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