323%20Cumberland.jpg
The purchase of the 950-square-foot Dolores Heights cottage at 323 Cumberland Street along with its adjacent undeveloped lot for $3,550,000 in November of 2012 raised an eyebrow or two. The property had been listed for $2,400,000.
Plans to raze the cottage, merge the lots and build a 5,600-square-foot home designed by architect John Maniscalo for a former Facebook couple, one of whom was Facebook’s first female engineer, will be unveiled to the neighbors at the end of the month.
As proposed, the home would rise three stories over a garage with a building height of thirty-four and one-half feet, six inches below the permitted height for the lot. We’ll let you know how the neighbors respond.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Zig

    RIP old school SF
    I’ll miss you but life goes on

  2. Posted by mdg

    I’m sure the neighbors will be very supportive…..

  3. Posted by Futurist

    Such an amazing street and area in Dolores Heights. I would say it rivals some of the best streets in Pacific Heights.
    Far better weather here, quiet street, great views.
    Looking forward to seeing the new house by Maniscalo. His firm does amazing architecture.

  4. Posted by lola

    This is one of the most beautiful blocks in SF, hard to get to, and quiet. I hope that they get their dream house built. Despite the primo location there are quite a few turkey houses just down the block, one built in the ’70′s with a funny mansard roof, low ceilings and supertacky bathrooms with gold faucets, an one older house with a lot of non permitted work,metal posts holding the house up, cheap wood paneling etc. These were on a the marked a few years ago.

  5. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    I’d LOVE for some enterprising journalist to sit down with the “former Facebook couple” and ask them:
    • “why do you feel the need to play ‘stick it’ to your new neighbors?”
    • “do you feel your new neighbors are beneath you because you have more money than they do?”
    • “if that’s the case, then why do you feel the need to prove it to them by building a home that is so out of scale with everything else that’s on the block?”
    • “Are one or both of you libertarians who think that people with money are inherently superior to people with less money?”
    • “Do you believe that accumulating more and more elaborate material possessions over the course of our lives is the right path to happiness and satisfaction in life?”
    • “if that’s true, then why do you choose to settle in a city where so many of your neighbors and co-residents disagree with that assumption?”
    …none of this is snark, I am completely sincere.

  6. Posted by curmudgeon

    Given that this house is near the very top of the hill, I wonder if it will actually block anyone’s views. It may be quite wonderful. It is indeed an amazing cul de sac block, accessible by foot from stairs off Noe and off 19th via Sanchez.
    Interestingly, I’ve seen the designs for another facebook house on Dolores Heights, on 21st just up from Tom and Jerry’s Christmas house. That one keeps a VERY low profile, which lets the uphill neighbors still see over it. Looks to be a beautiful and subtle design.
    [Editor's Note: Hidden Behind Two Garages And An LLC On Liberty Hill.]

  7. Posted by Futurist

    Hey Brahma: Are you really serious? Well, I guess you said you were. But:
    Every single thing YOU are saying is a HUGE assumption on your part, and just blatantly full of derision. I’ve really never seen such an outrageous set of statements here, than by you.
    Where do you possibly dream up this kind of thinking?
    I’m only hoping you were really kidding.

  8. Posted by Sam

    Oh, I see my comment got deleted. Happens every few weeks for me, I imagine this and the previous one will also.
    [Editor's Note: If you find yourself typing "on a different note" or "I know it's unrelated but," you might think about commenting on a different post or even try submitting your comment as a tip/request instead.
    As far as it happening to you every couple of weeks, the only other comment of yours that we can identify as being edited was "Haha, pretty amusing." And that was two months ago.]

  9. Posted by Gordon

    This will be an exciting house in a great location and I can’t wait to see the designs! I’m unsure why Brahma thinks the owners are playing “stick it to your new neighbords”. If anything it will help nearby property values. It’s more house than I would want, but to each their own.

  10. Posted by lol

    I hope they will be able to realize their dream home. Tech/success envy can be an issue for Nimbys and other professional whiners. But in the end successful people get their way.

  11. Posted by MG

    Mr. Rahaim,
    Tear down that light pole!

  12. Posted by DanRH

    Sure is a great block…super quiet and hidden.
    My only pet peeve is that jeez: what a bear of a walk to anything fun.
    There are already a few large houses on this block.

  13. Posted by brutus

    Maniscalco is likely charging over $400k for this project. Have fun at that pre-app meeting!
    I take it this is not the Dolores Heights project listed in progress on his website? The house next door doesn’t match the rendering there.

  14. Posted by SciLaw

    I’ll play Brahma’s game
    a) I’m not sticking it to my neighbors, there are a number of large homes being built in Dolores Heights and I’m building on an empty lot and within regulation.
    b) Considering that my neighbors can all sell their homes in excess of 1.5 million dollars, I’m not sure why you’re classifying them as the “have nots”. We surely don’t.
    c) We would like to build our dream house in this wonderful neighborhood. Can you please point at any laws that prohibit us from doing so?
    d) No, we’re in tech in San Francisco. Not in the KKK in the Deep South. I’m an immigrant grateful for the opportunities in the US and I took advantages of the educational opportunities here in the US. Why would you penalize me for that? I actually hold British and have a slight socialist leaning.
    e) If what is true? Are you putting words in my mouth? Considering many of my peers live in this neighborhood, I’m going to consider that you’re quite ignorant of what’s going on in this neighborhood. Have you seen this article btw?
    http://www.dwell.com/house-tours/article/striking-slatted-wood-and-glass-home-san-francisco

  15. Posted by mcarter

    Agree with DanRH. Great block with nice views but have to climb steep hills on every side if you want to walk anywhere. You’re losing one of the benefits of the area…walkability

  16. Posted by formidable doer of the nasty

    I have a sneaking suspicion that the inclusion of “Facebook” in the title was a deliberate attempt to bait the lefty reactionaries like Brahma. Not surprised that it worked.
    It’s not that former Wells Fargo couples or former Chevron couples or former Genentech couples never do this kind of thing, but a headline to that effect wouldn’t play into the fashionable hatred of techies.

  17. Posted by seriously

    i love you SciLaw. thank you for being the voice of reason. it’s amazing how people can read into things so much and invent a scenario in their head about somebody.

  18. Posted by noe mom

    I don’t think couples from those other companies would do a house that big in this neighborhood. First of all those companies are probably more old school and they would either buy in another neighborhood (Pac Heights, parts of Sea Cliff, Piedmont, St. Francis Wood, parts of Monterey Heights, etc) where the large homes are established and part of the fabric.
    This is to be near the Mission, their peers and the buses.
    This home is probably going to be too big but what else is new and I have a question or three, I know it is none of my business, but will they live there all the time…will they send their kids to Alvarado or Rooftop…and how will the home look oer “hold-up” in ten years???

  19. Posted by 94114

    I live in the the neighborhood. There’s one hill which is about half a block down to 19th Street which is pretty much flat and goes right into the Castro in one direction and Dolores Park in the other direction so it’s fairly walkable. If you’re not on a hill, you’re not going to get the kind of views you will get here.
    I don’t begrudge the owner for wanting to build his dream house but 5600 square feet? C’mon, that’s twice the average size of the homes on that block and in that neighborhood.
    The owner can do whatever he wants on the double lot but building a 5600 square foot home is not in character with the block or the neighborhood.

  20. Posted by sayno2nimby

    @noe mom, is it really any of your business, where these people want to live an what they want build? If they want to live near the mission and their peers, last time I checked it was a free country.

  21. Posted by EBGuy

    noe mom said: and how will the home look or “hold-up” in ten years???
    327 and 333 Cumberland two doors down have aged well. Basic maintenance like painting the garage doors does wonders.

  22. Posted by curmudgeon

    @ 94114…remember it’s a double lot. Yes, of course it will still be way bigger than most houses, but shouldn’t be remarkably out of scale…a 2800 square foot house on a single lot isn’t that unusual, after all (although 1500-2000 was the old norm in this neighborhood). It will be interesting to see how the architect handles the massing…at least we will only have one curb cut, that should help.

  23. Posted by Someone

    Brahma, it’s very easy to be an online bully, I suspect that like many of your lefty (economically illiterate) friends in SF you are probably a very nice person.
    Trouble is that this specific couple you demand to interview are also very nice people.
    Liberty Hill has the best downtown views that are close enough to walkable fun places. This specific lot is probably one of the better ones on the entire hill and certainly the best one on the market in the past decade. I’ve looked at this lot when listed and while I can afford to the project, the fear of the NIMBY-ism on Liberty was too much for me to stomach.
    In practice you can’t really capture these views unless you build higher, you can’t justify the price of land if you build a tiny hippy charming cottage, so their approach seems 100% rational to me.
    My bet is that they will be forced to compromise and shrink it but given that’s the likely outcome no matter what, you better start aggressive. I fear this would take years and maybe end up like what happened to the Twitter founder in another NIMBY-stan.
    I wish them good luck.
    [Editor's Note: Having purchased 226 Edgewood in 2011 with plans to raze the Louis Christian Mullgardt designed home and build a modern Olle Lundberg designed house on the Parnassus Heights lot, plugged-in people knew the move from [313 Duncan] was inevitable. But in the face of fierce neighborhood opposition, it would appear that the Williams’ proposed Parnassus Heights project has been cancelled or indefinitely delayed.]

  24. Posted by lol

    SciLaw,
    Fight the good fight, get it built, don’t listen to the naysayers. This is your American Dream you are building.

  25. Posted by Futurist

    I hope and desire that the new owners are allowed to build what they want, subject to the current planning and building codes.
    And to noe mom, as well as to Brahma: why is it ANY of your business as to the choices others may make that deviate from YOUR life choices and values?
    Seriously, mind your own business.

  26. Posted by sfjohn

    Futurist why don’t you mind you own Bloody business!! YOU with your condescending arrogant looking down the nose attitude w/ ANYONE who doesn’t agree with you. You, Someone, Noe Mom go away! Your nasty comments on here ruin this site

  27. Posted by inclinejj

    Nimbys nooobees and the hippies do not give a chit about property rights. You have to build on your lot you bought with your own money, a house that you are paying for with your own money, something we will allow you to build.
    I wonder if anyone listens to these people in Russia??

  28. Posted by Iknowthecouple

    I know the couple. The wife…is going to do what she wants and won’t give a damn about the neighbors.

  29. Posted by NoeNeighbor

    @Brahma: Your anger and derision toward people you don’t know is really odd. There is probably no one in the world who holds the views that you are projecting on these people. That you choose to attack obvious strawmen says a lot about you and your tenuous connection with reality.
    @NoeMom: It is sort of odd that you are asking whether or not they will send their kids to the local public schools. As you must know, if they will have little control over that because of the way school assignments are done in SF.

  30. Posted by woolie

    Yes. It’s terrible this woman helped build a project that changed the world. And now she thinks she can live in MY neighborhood!
    For real? Ugh.

  31. Posted by noe mom

    I had no malice in my questions.
    This whole site is sort of gossipy anyway.
    Yes they the people that want to build this new home,can do whatever they want, if the Planning Commission will let them. Or if some neighbor doesn’t sue them. Or shake them down.
    No one can deny that it is a very large house, and the lots are somewhat smaller than the other more traditional high end neighborhoods. But if you are going to be all full bore at me, then at least read what I wrote carefully, because I really don’t think that “couples” from those older companies would want to build a housse like that on that site and in that neighborhood. They probably prefer to be and probably would buy or build elsewhere. Plus I don’t think they would have the kind of cash required. This “new money” wants to be in this part of town for all the reasons we discuss. That is not a pejorative, that is a fact. I was looking at it from the viewpoint of the vast social changes taking place in the City. And I think we would all agree that the whole thing is very mind blowing, particularly for those of us who are old and who have lived here for over 30 years. It elicits lots of comments, because the change is so rapid. But there is no malice.

  32. Posted by Michael

    I don’t have any problem with building to the limits of the planning code/zoning and I don’t believe code compliant projects should be allowed to be blocked.
    I do believe a lot merger is a legitimate concern for the neighborhood/city and worthy of being challenged.

  33. Posted by Pioneer

    According to the cover note to neighbors dated 3/15/2014, the couple is “excited about building a single family home where we can start our family. A place comfortable enough so that our parents who live overseas can visit for extended periods of time.”
    The neighbors should be grateful that they will have wonderful, modern, John Maniscalco design to look at on their beautiful block. I hope the couple gets community support for building their dream home. Can’t wait to see the design!

  34. Posted by Futurist

    Yea, right noe mom. Sure, yea. got it.
    Your original comments and then your new comments defending your old comments are just as nosy and gossipy and “none of your business” as before.
    The ONLY criteria that should be discussed is that the owners/architect may build whatever they choose, meeting ALL building, planning and zoning codes.
    That’s it. That’s ALL that is relevant.

  35. Posted by Snowball

    @Brahma
    Re: “I’d LOVE for some enterprising journalist to sit down with the “former Facebook couple” and ask them:”
    I’d be way more interested in interviewing the person(s) living in the 950 sqft. cottage who just received a very lucky and nice payoff.

  36. Posted by Ed

    Wait… Facebook has a female engineer?

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