August 13, 2009

Fougeron's "Tehama Grasshopper" (431 Tehama #2) Hits The Market

431 Tehama (Image Source:

On San Francisco’s AIA Home Tour in 2007.

431 Tehama #2: Kitchen

On the cover and inside Metropolitan Home in 2008.

431 Tehama #2: Living

And now on the market and asking $4,128,000 in 2009, it's the Fougeron Architecture designed "Tehama Grasshopper" otherwise know as 431 Tehama #2.

∙ Listing: 431 Tehama #2 (3/3) - $4,128,000 [MLS]
San Francisco Living: Home Tours (A Chance To Comment In General) [SocketSite]
Urban Eco-tecture []

First Published: August 13, 2009 1:00 PM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

Besides the price drop, did the Sq. Ft also mysteriously drop ?

The Metropolitan Home magazine link says

"Jason Shelton, a tech entrepreneur, and Amy Shimer, who is in banking, purchased an 8,500-square-foot warehouse"

whereas the MLS listing says

"...Recently on the cover of Metropolitan Home magazine,this apprx 5,000sqf residence"

Unless the MLS is excluding yard and roof terrace sq ft, which is hard to imagine as RE Agents typically tend to inflate area and add toilet area and such, not reduce the sq ft area.

Anyone ?

Posted by: Chad at August 13, 2009 2:24 PM

It is an 8500 sq ft warehouse, but the residence is only 5000 sq feet (second and third floors). The bottom floor of the warehouse is the garage and includes Fugeron's studio - or - at least it used to. She used to lease it from them.

Posted by: ejay at August 13, 2009 2:36 PM

Very nice architectural project.

Some people , maybe just a few, will love it.

But you cannot get $ 4 MIL this location betw 5th and 6th.

Posted by: Louis at August 13, 2009 3:06 PM

Count me among the few. Quite possibly the best space I've ever seen here. Remarkable.

Posted by: amused at August 13, 2009 4:01 PM

Someone was wondering how much that $2M Oakland loft would go for in S.F.

This is one answer.

Sure, there are plenty of differences besides the city they are in. I'd say the design on this loft is several cuts above. But there are some parallels between the locations.

Posted by: ED at August 13, 2009 4:41 PM

What's unit #1? Is it the office space?

[Editor's Note: Correct.]

Posted by: Troy Murphy at August 13, 2009 4:42 PM

The Metropolitan Home article made no mention of the perpetual smell of urine on that particular block of Tehama.

Posted by: jonh at August 13, 2009 5:14 PM

It's some of the best-smelling urine in SOMA.

Not as acrid as 7th and Howard, nor as pungent as Third and Brannan. I think they eat a lot of organic asparagus.

Posted by: amused at August 13, 2009 5:34 PM

Try to take a shower or use the toilet in the master bathroom. Unless it is electric glass that can go foggy by using a switch, people around you can see into your business! I believe it doesn't have any window treatments to block anything..... In essence, the master bedroom is a glass box. If that's your cup of tea, then you'll love it here. This place is kinda Sanaa-esque.

Posted by: jaja at August 13, 2009 6:38 PM

kee-rist adam! stop scooping me!

Posted by: SFX at August 13, 2009 7:14 PM

I will predict the sale price of $2.8M. My final answer!

Posted by: Jane Knows Best at August 13, 2009 8:08 PM

Whoever pays $4m for this is probably chairman of the board of the Association to Keep Northern San Francisco "affordable."

Posted by: Conifer at August 13, 2009 11:27 PM

For all those who've always wondered what it would be like to live in a cheap glass display case...

Posted by: Maff at August 14, 2009 12:29 AM

I'm surprised people like this loft more than that Oakland loft. It's drab and grey and depressing to me. It's very East German bomb shelter circa 1955. Maybe if some walls got some color? (that'd probably ruin the ascetic feel?)

I'm guessing people love it because it's more "pure"?

I think that the Oakland loft would go for far more than this would (if the Oakland loft were in SF) because it reaches a wider audience. This loft is clearly very specifically made for a very very small demographic.

(single person or couple without children with lots of money who want to live in a gritty neighborhood and want a loft with an ascetic style).

Posted by: ex SF-er at August 14, 2009 4:37 AM

Ive been to this Loft as part of the AIA tour and although its got some great detailing, there is something incredibly boutiqe like and sterile about it. The master bedroom/ bath at the uppermost leve- part of the "grass hopper" is a glass box about 20' from some SOMA condos. Yep, the lower leve is Fogugeron's office.

I cant believe somebody would pay that kind of money to live here. Something for everyone I guess.

Posted by: archit guy at August 14, 2009 7:46 AM

It's one thing to buy an Eames lounge chair knockoff and Tweet about how "modern" you are. It's quite another to actually embrace modernism. It is absolutely not for most people.

The people who live(d) here did so with a kid.

... and it seems an East German bomb shelter would be Brutalist (which this isn't), primarily made of concrete (again, no) and rather dark (a bit of light in here).

Posted by: amused at August 14, 2009 8:52 AM

"It's one thing to buy an Eames lounge chair knockoff and Tweet about how "modern" you are"

Actually, that's quite enough for me (apart from the tweeting), if this is "embracing modernism" :)

I'm more impressed with the shameless new-normal staging of the red mini in the top photo. Wouldn't want anyone to think we were being over-consumptive or wasting resources!

And how on earth did this couple survive in a 4 million 3/3 5000 ft^2 loft with a kid! The humanity!1!

Posted by: dub dub at August 14, 2009 10:28 AM

I don't disagree with you at all actually. (except there is a fair amount of concrete in this place).

that's why I used the word "pure". this place is likely more "pure" modernism (input correct design style here) than that Oakland loft?

the Oakland loft is perhaps the "Eames knockoff chair", where it's a loft that is made to try to appeal to the masses, in a lofty way. whereas this place is much more ascetic or sparse or antiseptic (unsure what adjective to use)

this place has great windows, but it just comes off very sterile to those of us not into pure modernism. which is why I postulated that this place would have less of an audience than the Oakland place. which isn't a knock on it by the way.

I love esoteric music as example that would never play on the top 20. and I'm very very happy that it would never play on the top 20!

the only thing I find somewhat intriguing, the top floor doesn't really seem to go with the rest of the place. I was surprised to see it. the top floor is white and bright and airy whereas the lower floor is so concrete and steel and grey with white accents. since you are an expert in this type of thing, do you think that the top floor adds or subtracts from the modernism/desireability of the rest of the unit?

Posted by: ex SF-er at August 14, 2009 10:33 AM

It's one thing to buy an Eames lounge chair knockoff and Tweet about how "modern" you are. It's quite another to actually embrace modernism.

Although I hate that too, I've found that the worst offenders are the rich folk who buy the original Eames or Wassily chair and then surround it with hordes of other orginal furniture and art, packing it all in as much as possible as a tribute to their modernism in their mansion.

the best modernism people I know are artists/architects/design students etc who have a very tight budget but who embrace the design style and often create their own pieces to put in their homes. true original furniture.

Modernism is obviously beyond me, but in many ways isn't that the point? to reject tradition and to push the audience's buttons?

Posted by: ex SF-er at August 14, 2009 10:45 AM

I think one of the semantic challenges that often arises is the difference between "modernism" and "minimalism". This loft is both modern and minimal. Modernism has a constantly evolving vernacular (everything was modern once, right?), whereas minimalism is a constant (strip away everything non-essential). They correlate very strongly, but are actually independent of one another. You can have modernist clutter, and you can have traditional minimalism.

I am a fairly committed modernist, but not willing (or able) to give myself over to "real" minimalism. It's a monk-like existence when embraced completely, down to wearing the same outfit every day (to eliminate the unnecessary distraction of choice).

The Oakland loft, in my view, is a great conversion with a few dated choices and finishes. Nothing tragic. Post-industrial conversion (and very much how I live).

The Tehama loft is a bit more aspirational -- not only financially, but in terms of its asceticism. It might appeal to 1% of buyers in its range. No question that it's not for everyone. But to your point, Tortoise are not for everyone... yet they're a great band.

Posted by: amused at August 14, 2009 2:19 PM


I like some modern, but very little minimilism.

that said:
do you think the top floor adds or subtracts value to this specific unit? obviously a lot of personal taste, but I'm intrigued.

on the one hand I could see it adding value, because modernism noobs like me go "ooh, how pretty and white!". I could also see a modernist liking it as they'd say "it's a great juxtaposition of the two living spaces" (but they'd say it in a cooler sort of way). but I can also see them saying "this space is schizophrenic and the dominant themes clash" (or something like that.

your thoughts? (I always really really enjoy your input on these modern lofts.)

Posted by: ex SF-er at August 14, 2009 2:59 PM

I've never seen it in person, but based on the photographs I don't see the rooftop addition as being too incongruent. I also think it adds value, as one big challenge in an open loft is the difficulty in compartmentalizing the space without compromising it.

The main space below the addition shows its origins - clearly converted from industrial use. But for me it's all about the central courtyard. It's a juxtaposition into the downstairs, breaking it up while bringing transparency and massive amounts of light. Based on what I see it helps to integrate the more whimsical addition upstairs.

Posted by: amused at August 14, 2009 3:18 PM

One advantage of living here is, if you were later committed to an insane asylum, you'd feel right at home.

Posted by: tipster at August 14, 2009 3:38 PM

tipster -

Don't quit your day job.

Posted by: amused at August 14, 2009 4:03 PM

To add to amused's comments, if Charles and Ray Eames (grand masters of modernism) lived here - and it might have appealed to them - it would be full of colorful, whimsical stuff, cluttered even. You can see how they lived in their own house here:
This place looks cold because it is basically empty and uninhabited.
Even so, I, a confirmed modernist and minimalist, find this a hard place to like. The central courtyard is a great idea but the insistence on glass walls for all the bathrooms and several other whimseys of the place seem aggressive and designed to intimidate the visitor. As a result, it is actually way less minimal than it pretends to be.

Posted by: salarywoman at August 14, 2009 5:57 PM

Thanks for the input salarywoman.

cool link.

what's a good "idiot's guide to modernism" or "minimalism for dummies" sort of book that you might recommend. something that might be instructional and historical without being dull/dry??

i'm intrigued.

that said: this place is not empty/uninhabited... if you look around there's furniture all over the place... but everything is white and grey so it just melds in...

I think I could do a lot here with a few buckets of paint (for the walls and also the furniture)!

but then I'd probably go to modernistic hell!

Posted by: ex SF-er at August 14, 2009 8:36 PM

This is actually post-modern and not modern. The reuse of space, combining industrial with residential, are the prime indicators. And it is also minimialist.

Although I find the design intriguing it would not work for an art collector like me since there is so much glass and few white walls. I do admire a less is more aesthetic, as I think it's better to highlight a few great pieces rather than overwhelm a space with too many objects. But this space is very austere, and that faux Kennith Noland target painting doesn't cut it either.

Posted by: 45yo hipster at August 15, 2009 7:55 AM

faux Kennith Noland target painting doesn't cut it either.

this is funny, I've always thought of Noland as copying a bullseye and calling it art, which came first...Noland or the bullseye.

It is cold and does not have any texture. Throw in a pillow or something warm. Call in a stager.

Posted by: viewlover at August 17, 2009 9:40 AM

"Throw in a pillow or something..."

indeed, a chopped pillow would help :)

Btw, glad to see there are a few posters here who care about art.

Posted by: 45yo hipster at August 17, 2009 10:04 AM

Call me petty bourgeois, but I'll take two... in Oakland. Oh, and according to RealtyTrac, it looks like someone on the block is having a hard time paying their $1.8 million mortgage.

Posted by: EBGuy at August 17, 2009 4:21 PM

The listing for 431 Tehama #2 has been withdrawn from the MLS without a sale after 172 days on the market.

Posted by: SocketSite at February 3, 2010 4:29 PM

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