August 23, 2010
2698 Pacific: The
Parrots Of Telegraph Hill Doves Of Pacific Heights
While 2420 Pacific remains listed for $12,800,000 and the asking price for 2100 Vallejo was reduced to $11,500,000 this past weekend (asking $25,000,000 in 2007), 2698 Pacific Avenue hit the market last week asking $14,000,000.
Designed by Samuel Newsom in 1904, the 12,667 square foot Pacific Heights mansion boasts four levels, parking for six, seven and one-half baths, and nine bedrooms not to mention a number of outdoor balconies. Speaking of which, a plugged-in reader reports:
I'm not sure if they still have them, but the owners here used to keep white doves in a coop on the top floor balcony. They would periodically release them and let them fly all over Pacific Heights.
Take that Telegraph Hill.
∙ Listing: 2698 Pacific (9/7.5) 12,600 sqft - $14,000,000 [2698pacific.com]
∙ A Julius (Not Julius') Castle Of A Different Kind [SocketSite]
∙ A "Third" Strikes Against 2100 Vallejo [SocketSite]
∙ It Might Not Have A Name, But It’s A Vallejo Mansion Nonetheless [SocketSite]
First Published: August 23, 2010 12:00 PM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
That is one gaudy house, also isnt the kitchen ratehr samll for a 9 bedroom mcmansion?
Posted by: mikey woodz at August 23, 2010 12:15 PM
The parrots also spend time in parts of Pacific Heights. I was surprised to see them.
Posted by: pacific at August 23, 2010 12:28 PM
How did an agent ever let a house asking 14 mil. hit the market in this condition??? If ever a home needed me it is this.... boxes, dolls, cardboard cutouts, a chicken coop???.... you gotta be kidding me. This is not just "IMHO" but my Professional Opinion this is just sad and wrong on sooooo many levels.
Posted by: SFStager at August 23, 2010 12:30 PM
"isnt the kitchen ratehr samll for a 9 bedroom mcmansion"
By commoner standards, it might be, but by mansion standards, the kitchen is for the help and no one should ever see it. Looks like they used a wide angle lens on that kitchen, so it could be pretty small, but it's possible it could be made into a shrine to not-cooking like many people do nowadays.
Posted by: sfrenegade at August 23, 2010 12:31 PM
Wow, that house is terrible on so many levels. The kitchen is probably the best room taste-wise.
Posted by: kaya at August 23, 2010 12:40 PM
I love the whimsy (assuming it's whimsy and not full-blown insanity) of the cut-outs, cartoon murals, and toys.
Posted by: BobN at August 23, 2010 12:46 PM
The dove coop is actually visible in one of the balcony shots. I said this in the previous thread, but this is a giant fixer and comparable to 2505 Divisadero, although the location here is much better. It might sell for more, but I think a 9-10 million selling price would be more realistic.
I know eddy might disagree with me, but I personally think that if you're going to spend 8 figures on a "mansion," don't skimp on the remodel. Anyway, this home deserves better than looking like they stage nightly reenactments of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane...
Posted by: Denis at August 23, 2010 12:49 PM
mikey woodz - This isn't a McMansion, it is the real deal. McMansions are a joke compared to a grand place like this.
I can understand why this is being sold in its "shabby" state. The new buyers will want to remodel anyways. Any pre-sales remodel would just be a waste. Take that kitchen for example. You know that the next owner is going to gut that whole space.
And kudos to the sellers for avoiding trendy staging. It looks like the owner's furniture here. Nothing state of the art, but it doesn't get in the way of imagining how the house would be lived in.
The price drop of over 50% shows how imaginary those 2007 prices were. Perhaps more so in high end properties like this.
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at August 23, 2010 12:51 PM
The kitchen is the best room in the whole house.
Posted by: kthnxybe at August 23, 2010 1:00 PM
It needs a lot of work but at least there's a lot to work with. But seriously, who thinks they need a house like this? Maybe Town School needs to expand. With this they could compete with Hamlin.
Posted by: Charlotte at August 23, 2010 1:01 PM
I like this place, I like the decor. Some of it is on the campy side....so what.
The kitchen, especially the range is on the small side. I see they watch TV in there...probably the only warm room in the place come winter-time.
Posted by: paul at August 23, 2010 1:25 PM
I do agree, the place obviously needs a lot of work. Beginning with painting over that horrible woodwork.
Lowering the ceilings and installing trac-lites would be the second most important improvement. Third, would be wall to wall carpets.
Posted by: paul at August 23, 2010 1:31 PM
You know that the next owner is going to gut that whole space.
Dibs on the stove!!!
Posted by: BobN at August 23, 2010 1:32 PM
Don't forget to remove the ornamental wrought iron on the stairwells and replace it with three taught, shiny cables.
Posted by: tipster at August 23, 2010 2:03 PM
I have given considerable thought to those ugly railings. My thoughts were: take out the wrought iron inserts and replace them with plexiglass, clear plexiglass.
On a somewhat different note, what with the poverty of the various taxing agencies and their socialistic attitudes...why would anyone choose to spend their money in such a conspicuous fashion. This ain't 1999. 14 mil goes a long way in other countries.
Posted by: paul at August 23, 2010 2:29 PM
I don't get the snarky and silly comments at all about the furnishings. You're not buying that crap, you're buying a grand old house: Some incredible interior and exterior detailing, some great spaces, some incredible views.
The furnishings bear no relationship to the sale of the building..to someone seriously considering buying this house. It needs lots of work for sure, but what a gem.
Posted by: noearch at August 23, 2010 2:42 PM
WOW. Utterly gorgeous pile of bricks. It's easy for others here to criticize something we could not even fathom affording ourselves.
And, very well said noearch. A true gem. Of course it needs a completely new kitchen and some serious cosmetic work. But if you have the $14M to purchase it, you can probably find the $100k for a kitchen reno under your couch cushions.
Posted by: jason at August 23, 2010 2:56 PM
For this house, I'd definitely budget $200k for the kitchen and prob $50-75k for each bath..maybe $100k for the master bath. It's the right house for this amount of money.
Wonder if the house needs a lot of structural work. I suspect so.
Posted by: noearch at August 23, 2010 3:06 PM
wow. some serious vitriole toward me and my ilk. I am glad they didn't slap in an 'updated' IKEA kitchen that will inevitably be ripped out again. we are not all julie or ken and paint over stunning wood details just to make it look "fresh" like a west elm cataolgue or dwell spread. yawn. A stagers job is to actaully enhance a properties unique spirit, not eviscerate it. I am however agahst at the amount of clutter and dissarray allowed to show in a property this grand. hard to notice the crown moulding if your scared of the doll army!
Posted by: SFStager at August 23, 2010 4:18 PM
@sfstager: it's ok, I would chill. I think that any number of serious buyers are going to look completely past all of the personal "junk" in the house and see it for the architecture, and detail and location.
You may not like all the personal stuff, but no one really cares about the doll army.
Posted by: noearch at August 23, 2010 4:33 PM
"The furnishings bear no relationship to the sale of the building... to someone seriously considering buying this house." neoarch
Right, 'cause SF real estate has spond a multi-million dollar staging industry because people can "see the big picture".
Not even the really rich can see beyond what's in front of them.
Posted by: DZinerSF at August 23, 2010 4:34 PM
"For this house, I'd definitely budget $200k for the kitchen and prob $50-75k for each bath..maybe $100k for the master bath."
I think that budget is off by a factor of two. You could spend $200k on just custom cabinets for a house of this caliber.
That first floor - other than the kitchen - and stairway is incredible.
Posted by: Michael at August 23, 2010 4:39 PM
I don't understand why people need stagers to sell a house. I look at the details - woodwork, moulding, those great ceilings, view, size of rooms - I could go on but my point is that I look right past all the clutter and that includes the tasteful throws, expensive soaps and candles and set dinner tables that the stagers think are so important. My mind cleans out the room because I'm not buying any of the junk, either the owners or the stagers.
Posted by: Charlotte at August 23, 2010 4:51 PM
Nice post Charlotte. agree completely, that's what I've been saying.
Whether it's this incredible house or a much more modest Victorian in Noe Valley, I don't think staging really sells a house. When it gets right down to the sale, the buyer is really looking at the overall plan and function of the house, as well as the condition of the construction. Most buyers are smart enough to buy without the need for staging.
As for the kitchen costs, yes, Michael, I would agree. One could start with $200k and easily double or triple that, depending on the type and size of kitchen desired.
Posted by: noearch at August 23, 2010 4:58 PM
"I don't understand why people need stagers to sell a house. I look at the details - woodwork, moulding, those great ceilings, view, size of rooms"
I agree with this sentiment, but I believe there was data that showed staging resulted in higher purchase prices. Staging matters, even though it shouldn't. Staging really does fit with realtors' ideal vision of selling a "home" instead of a "house."
Staging is only really done in high-priced markets, such as SF, and is unheard of in most of the country. Frankly, it's probably not worth the cost elsewhere. I've even seen lower-priced than prime SF offerings in the Bay Area where they only staged select rooms plus the master bedroom.
Posted by: sfrenegade at August 23, 2010 5:07 PM
The living room makes me swoon.
Noearch, out of curiosity, *how* could one spend $75K on a single bathroom? Even the grandest tub only costs $5K. Would love to know how you'd get that high (genuinely - I am intrigued!).
Posted by: Scooter at August 23, 2010 5:17 PM
600 thousand US dollars for a kitchen. $600,000.00.
You have got to be demented. This is a joke. You're a troll and you got me to bite. Hahaha.
BTW. Where is your factual basis for the structural damage.....are the ceilings, walls cracked? Is there water damage from a leaky roof?
Posted by: jon at August 23, 2010 5:26 PM
Even the grandest tub only costs $5K.
Ahem. Not that I like any of these, but:
Posted by: Shza at August 23, 2010 5:29 PM
Staging probably is most effective in a blank box style home, making the place look more homey and less of white prison cube. But a place like this needs no staging. All that built-in beautiful detail speaks for itself.
Posted by: jenofla at August 23, 2010 5:31 PM
There are many hobby horses on socketsite, and here we have two, both of them a matter a faith by the real estate brokers:
1. staging helps
2. every house needs remodeling
Sometimes I think that the only houses in this neighborhood that some sockesiters have visited are those for sale. This level of bathrooms and kitchen is very common in PacHts and is nothing to be ashamed about. Very few people care.
The sellers of this house have lived here for a number years and do not feel the need to update every bathroom and kitchen. They can afford it, but just do not want to be bothered.
This is a magnificent house and always will be, whether they install a 2010 kitchen or not.
Posted by: Conifer at August 23, 2010 5:34 PM
Staging probably does help to sell a home for the reasons mentioned above. There is another use of staging : to conceal or distract from a home's flaws. I've seen several clever tricks employed.
But does that benefit of staging exceed the cost ? There's probably a competitive advantage between two homes, one staged and another not.
One case where staging does seem to pencil out is in large developments where a few model floorplans are staged and the actual homes sold empty. Economies of scale help spread the costs out. Staging single homes seems like wasted effort to me.
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at August 23, 2010 5:39 PM
@Shza: LOL at the $800K tub. You got me.
Posted by: Scooter at August 23, 2010 5:43 PM
Good post Shza..great example of tubs costing far more than $5k..I was going to mention some freestanding copper tubs in the range of $30-40k..quite believable.
I'm not making these numbers up Scooter: part of what I'm saying is that it's "appropriate" to spend $75k or more on a custom master bath. I just finished a very nice master bath in the Upper Market area for about $100k..we're talking custom cabinetry, double sink, lots of granite, walk-in steam/shower, soaking tub, separate toilet area, custom lighting and high end Grohe fixtures..
You could easily outdo that in this Pac Heights mansion. keep in mind the cost of material and labor..especially to run new copper supply and return systems to an existing old upper level bath. Not cheap.
Lots of well off homeowners treat their bath as a sacred space; relaxing, sumptuous and soothing.
Posted by: noearch at August 23, 2010 5:44 PM
I am anti staging myself, but I know if I don't stage I'm going to get a lower price because buyers will think I didn't stage because I'm out of money.
Also empty rooms don't photo well and the photos is what gets people to the house.
Posted by: sparky-b at August 23, 2010 6:12 PM
I identify with neither anti-stager nor anti-Dwell sentiment. Both staging and modern design are legitimate tools used to create a nice space.
Posted by: pacific at August 23, 2010 6:16 PM
Whenever I see a staged room with a glass table I know the room is too small to put more substantial furniture in. I also love computers on desks but no cords, shelves but no books, kitchens with only wine and cookbooks displayed, except for a big bowl of lemons, of course and fresh flowers in odd spots. Buying a house is a huge decision and if you're persuaded by seeing those things you're not the sharpest knife in the drawer.
Posted by: Charlotte at August 23, 2010 6:27 PM
Whenever I go into a staged house, from my perspective, I see it as trying to "trick" me..making the space appear larger than it really is, or hiding obvious flaws such as poor floor plans or bad views.
I think most buyers think that way.
Posted by: noearch at August 23, 2010 8:02 PM
I'm pretty sure that a bowl of lemons in my old place on Grand View got us an extra $100K.
Ah, good times. Good times.
Posted by: Kurt Brown at August 23, 2010 10:02 PM
House is going to dive and get sold at $8 million. Needs $2 million of refurb inside / outside / roof / electric, etc. and $1-2 million of furniture/fixtures. The new owner will have a great place for $11-12 million. No way this is $14 million, what a JOKE!!!
Posted by: sleepigal at August 24, 2010 1:01 AM
Staging gets in the way of most peoples judgement of a house. That's the point. Just like switching all the lights on in plain daylight.
Smaller beds make a bedroom look bigger. ever seen a King sized bed at a staging?
Rich textures make a bland place look fashionable
It's a trick. It's a lie. It's part of the business. It's your job as a buyer to really look at a place.
Posted by: lol at August 24, 2010 8:08 AM
"Staging is only really done in high-priced markets, such as SF," well probaby true. When I sold my humble house by the ocean I hired two ladies who didn't stage, they just rearranged my stuff so it would hang together better, like grouping pictures by color. The extraneous stuff went into the garage as they explained that everyone understands a full garage. It is amazing what a good eye will do. and I got over a million for a small house for their efforts. I'd use them again in a heartbeat.
Posted by: Oceangoer at August 24, 2010 9:36 AM
Oh yes, meant to say that was in Santa Cruz, the east side not the "tony" west side.
Posted by: Oceangoer at August 24, 2010 9:38 AM
It's pretty obviously, but the tanking stock market (again!) isn't doing this home any favors. D7 homes seem to fare better when the market is up.... A lot of homes here moved when the market temporarily stabilized in late July.
As for staging... I'm indifferent to it though I think some homes benefit tremendously from staging. 2601 Broadway looks 100% improved thanks to Green Apple. Before, it looked like the owners bought all their furniture at the Levitz liquidation sale. Of course, that house still hasn't sold.
This home, however, doesn't need staged furniture brought in... Rather, I think it needs some minor cosmetic tweaks. Lose the carpets, paint some of the walls, and get rid of the clutter. I like the aforementioned idea of bringing in someone to help the owners redistribute furniture.
With homes in this price range, it doesn't seem that staging either hurts or helps. It simply comes down to the overall condition of the house and price.
Posted by: Denis at August 24, 2010 3:40 PM
You probably mean Green Couch, unless they staged the house completely in books.
Posted by: sparky-b at August 24, 2010 4:22 PM
^bwhahaha.. yes, that's what I meant.
Posted by: Denis at August 24, 2010 5:20 PM
My dream tub costs $28,000. Get ye to the Bath & Beyond showroom. I could live here. Nicely. and not change a thing. Except the art.
Posted by: Kathleen at August 24, 2010 7:49 PM
@ Denis & Oceangoer: Precisely! "minor tweaking" editing and rearranging a homeowner's own items IS staging. any stager worth thier salt won't leave thier signature all over the place. We try to make it look like a "real" (not too mention clean and tidy) home - not a magazine ad. I'm personally and professionally offended by the accusation that staging is some how foisting a deception on prospective buyers. Even homeowners with impeccable taste and furnishings can use a fresh perspective.
Posted by: SFStager at August 25, 2010 7:58 AM
Staging is a joke, and I would gladly take the discount. It can help, but the cost it too high IMO and I think the premium is negligible. I say stage it for pics and dump it. I'd much rather see a home empty, but I wouldn't mind 'seeing' staged pics. I'm surprised that this isn't more common.
Posted by: eddy at August 25, 2010 9:20 AM
SFStager - don't take it personally if you're not a perpetrator of deception. But please get out and take a look at what some of your peers are doing and you will see what I mean. Is there a local guild of stagers ? If so then perhaps you can voice your opinion against deceptive tricks.
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at August 25, 2010 12:21 PM
This home does have a lot of potential. I always enjoy looking at it as I drive by because it's a one of a kind historic home. It's certainly not a McMansion.
As a seller I would not have put this on the market without at least updating the bathroom or updating the landscaping.
Someone will have a jewel of a place after some sensitive remodeling. When you do invite me to your house warming party!:)
Posted by: David Anderton at August 25, 2010 12:22 PM
I'd take it as it is. I am not too demanding.
Posted by: lol at August 25, 2010 12:46 PM
Posted by: eddy at February 6, 2011 4:03 PM
After 357 days on the market, and last asking $11,200,000, the listing for 2698 Pacific has been withdrawn from the MLS without a reported sale.
Posted by: SocketSite at August 11, 2011 8:53 AM
Down to 9.8 million... I think this is getting closer to a sale. I'm still thinking somewhere in the 8s...
Posted by: Denis at October 6, 2011 4:30 PM
300 more days on market and withdrawn. No sale at $9.8M
Posted by: eddy at August 1, 2012 1:04 PM
This is in contract, finally.
Posted by: Denis at November 9, 2012 5:15 PM
Interesting. 9.5 is the last asking here. Will be interesting to see where this finally closes.
Posted by: Eddy at November 10, 2012 7:37 AM
I think this is a good price.
Posted by: eddy at December 18, 2012 12:31 PM
Thank you! We think it's a good price. We love it. Sadly, the photos really didn't do it justice. Inside the home, the light is wonderful. It's sunny and bright. There is a lot of dark woodwork everywhere, but it really just needs a good paint job. The proportions of the rooms are just right, and the spaces flow beautifully. Once it's stripped of all the faux finishes, old paint, old carpets and layers of grime, it will be lovely. We're not going to do a gut-reno, it doesn't need it. It needs a few upgrades and repairs here and there, but it's in great condition. Perfect for a family with eight kids....
Posted by: 2698Pacific at December 25, 2012 5:09 PM
"There is a lot of dark woodwork everywhere, but it really just needs a good paint job."
In this season, for Christ's sake, please DO NOT PAINT THE DARK WOODWORK.
This house is a work of art. Do not ruin the woodwork. And do not change the faux finishes if they are original.
Posted by: conifer at December 26, 2012 11:12 AM
Congrats on your home. Best of luck and enjoy.
@conifer, there is a ton of dark wood throughout this home. It would be hard for anyone to live in this home without taking some steps to modernize it. People don't live like this anymore and its ridiculous to thrust your desire to preserve every shred of original detail for the sake of historic preservation. That said, I do agree that a careful attention to preservation should be a part of any tweaking. I suspect that any work here will end up being 3-4x of the original budget. These older homes tend to be a can o' worms.
Posted by: eddy at December 26, 2012 2:15 PM
No, no, we won't paint the woodwork. It's not going to be all white with lucite furniture everywhere. All the murals and faux finishes are not original. The sellers are taking most of the murals with them... they're done on canvas and have sentimental value to them, as they were all painted by a family friend. I feel like we bought a gem and we are going to do our best to upgrade it gently and reverently... although it is hard to imagine 8 kids in that kitchen...but I think the days of the great room kitchen are coming to an end. I hate it when guests hang out in the kitchen, myself. I love a separate dining area. From what I understand, there's a recent swing back in that direction, especially in the city proper. Or am I mistaken?
Posted by: 2698Pacific at December 26, 2012 5:38 PM
There might be a "swing back" for some people, but for others, the kitchen was never a place to hang out. This is especially true in your new neighborhood.
We have good friends in a dozen cities in Europe, and I cannot remember ever seeing, much less "hanging out," in a kitchen, with the exception of an Englishman who lives in Paris and wanted a "cuisine americaine" for his three kids.
Good luck with your palace.
Posted by: conifer at December 26, 2012 9:54 PM
I don't think there's a trend moving away from the open kitchen/family room floor plan. Especially not in D7. All major remodels that have sold over the past couple of years have included an open kitchen with an informal living space. A good example is 2513 Pacific which sold in May. It was pulled from the market in fall of 11 when it failed to sell. The owners tore out a wall and opened up the space and it sold seconds later over asking. The galley kitchen isn't coming back. I don't know anyone (ok, anyone that lives in a massive home) that spends time in their living room... Plus, you need a place to put a tv! You can't put it in the living room! *shudder*
Posted by: Denis at December 27, 2012 3:50 PM
In the neighborhood of this house, TVs are in bedrooms and often in play or media or ballrooms. Small TVs are in small kitchens. Many of the houses around this one do not have the room for "informal living space" because there is so much "formal" living space on the main floor. That is not to argue against combining pantries and other small rooms.
I hope the new owner keeps us appraised of his progress. He should not be swayed by comments here, including mine, especially since I am not a professional in any field connected to real estate or construction.
Posted by: conifer at December 28, 2012 12:34 AM