Purchased out of foreclosure for $2.525 million in 2013, the “grandly proportioned circa 1898 Victorian mansion” at 1945 Franklin Street, on the eastern edge of Pacific Heights, has since been “stunningly re-imagined for a modern 21st century lifestyle.”

Now measuring nearly 7,000 square feet of finished space, versus closer to 5,000 square feet when previously acquired, or once owned by Nicolas Cage, the newly remodeled mansion now sports two new bedrooms and a family room across its upper level and a new lower level with a theater and adjoining wine cellar.

And having returned to the market priced at $12 million this past June, a list price which was reduced to $8.38 million in October and then $7.5 million in November, 1945 Franklin Street has just been listed anew with an official “1” day on the market and a $5.995 million price tag, a sale at which would now be considered to be “at asking” according to all industry stats and reports.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by moses

    Terrible staging and very odd finish selections for a “$12 million” house.

    • Posted by Jack

      Kind of an amazing amount of misspellings on the listing page, as well as weird misuse of italics and capitalization. Shouldn’t high end listings get a high end copy edit?

      • Posted by Jack

        Also, did they kind of skimp on the architect here or something? There are lots of weird elements even to a nonprofessional like me. Like the silly fake fireplaces built into the walls everywhere. And the lawn (or is it AstroTurf?) that seems to be trying to crawl in the side door of the house. The whole thing seems kind of amateurish. I’d love to hear a reaction from one of our house architects here…Milkshake? Futurist?

        • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

          Just to be clear I’m not an architect, or at least not an architect of buildings. Just a beverage with opinions and observations about buildings, especially workspaces.

          In this house I don’t see anything massively flubbed. This is a narrow, tall house built for a Victorian lifestyle. That places constraints on remodel architects, even if they gut all of the interior walls.

          I will however reiterate my standard observations about the silliness of using a wine cellar as a destination for entertaining. That might make sense at Reims, France in a cellar carved out of chalk formations centuries ago by the Romans. But in a dank basement in SF? Surely this house has a nicer place to enjoy a fine wine. At least you can say that this wine cellar is actually in a cellar.

          An then there’s the home theater. C’mon, do you really need to allocate a special room for that? Just put a big screen in the Great Room and dim the lights when watching a movie.

          Developers include rooms like drink-in wine cellars and home cinemas because they are checklist items for houses (and megayachts) of a certain price point. They’re concerned that prospective buyers will reject properties without those boxes ticked. Usually one, the other, or both become storage rooms.

          • Posted by Ohlone Californio

            It’s fine if they’re storage rooms a lot of times though. That’s a thing that a lot of well off buyers need, mondo storage. If they can also serve another purpose, then cool. And some people do like to entertain in their wine rooms. Especially if it’s located just off like an entertainment area with a wet bar. Then it works great.

          • Posted by Notcom

            Perhaps the theatre has something to do with the house having been owned by Nicolas Cage. I realize it doesn’t date to his ownership – tho maybe it replaced one that did – but still the property has the potential for ownership by people with an outsized interest in film.

          • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

            I’m not sure whether being an actor would be a motivation to have a home theater. A lot of people (myself included) don’t want to take their work home with them despite having an outsized interest.

            Certain elements like a home theater and wine cellar seem to be de rigueur for spec homes of a certain size. Check out floorplans of large luxury homes, home theaters are common. Actors are not.

  2. Posted by wcsf

    Oh man, I can feel the comments coming about the whitewashing of a Victorian…

    Sometimes I agree w/ the critics, but I actually like this one. I think it helps make the stained windows pop and let’s face it, this thing is sandwiched between two huge apt buildings killing the light. They did what they could to bring in light and feel bright.

    BTW – what is that wooden room in basement – some kind of spa/meditation room? Did they run out of ideas for the additional rooms?

    I remember when this one closed at $2.5m thinking it was a steal even if it needed work, the busy street, the bad light given the size and ‘hood. But this developer has had to have lost his shirt, especially with almost 6 years of holding costs.

    And fire the real estate agent. How in the hottest market (ever? early/mid 2018) can you overprice a house so much that you end up w/ it sitting on the market for nearly a year and marked down 50%? ouch.

    Sure, move this house over to a neighboring street w/ water views and it commands $12M but Franklin and Washington? What do you even do w/ 7K sq ft in this location – you can’t have kids playing Frogger out front…

    • Posted by Brisket

      “BTW – what is that wooden room in basement – some kind of spa/meditation room? Did they run out of ideas for the additional rooms?”

      And that chair looks like it belongs on the bridge of the Enterprise

      • Posted by ergo

        I toured the place when it was a bank foreclosure and that wooden room looks like it was left semi-untouched after the remodel. The room is on the second floor and is a secure space that could be be dead bolted and locked from the inside. It had built in panels for tiny security tvs, VCRs (with a ‘special’ tape still in there) and, if I remember correctly, a full bathroom as well. The room was soundproofed with shag carpets and there was, as you have noticed, that glorious arm chair. I’m shocked they kept it.

        The whole place was creepy. Another room had poles for dancing and looked like it had been designed by the set creator of Star Trek. Had to see it to believe it.

        • Posted by jack

          The wooden room was originally Werner Erhard’s meditation room when he owned the place.

          Sounds like somebody (maybe Nic Cage? Patricia Arquette?) subsequently had it repurposed as a panic room.

          • Posted by jenofla

            If all this is true, that room is practically a historic resource!

        • Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

          Seems like panic rooms already were a thing at the $multi-million price level. The late Robin Williams’ home between Sonoma and Napa Valleys had three of them, wrapped in Kevlar, presumably so assailants couldn’t shoot their way into it. There’s a unit that just sold in the loft conversion building at 355 Bryant that has a panic room that can only be accessed by pulling a bookshelf “just the right way” like the one shown in the movie The Equalizer 2 or maybe one of those Agatha Christie-based movies. Of course the listing doesn’t call it a “panic room”, but it’s equipped just like the one in this post.

          • Posted by Amewsed

            I doubt any one of those celebrities has used their panic rooms for its intended purpose, unless you were Jodie Foster starring in a movie of the same name.

            If there was a real actual need for it, maybe it is time to move to another town, country or keep a low profile.

  3. Posted by Sassy girl

    They are playing frogger inside silly

  4. Posted by frozentoast

    The 2.6M purchase was an ok buy. The mistake was trying to make the spec house too ambitious and grand given the very compromised location. Who was the architect and developer they tried all the cliches. Who does theater rooms anymore. Who hangs out in the wine cellar when they could bring the bottles upstairs. A spiral staircase seriously? Not all bad I like the bright open attic bedroom and the kitchen is ok. They should have put in 2M and priced it around 6.9M.

    • Posted by BobN

      they tried all the cliches

      It’s sort of a cross between HGTV’s annual Dream House and a Decorators’ Showcase

  5. Posted by hundo_p

    This place has been home to some real “characters”

  6. Posted by tipster

    Nice place, if you don’t mind living in what is really the median of a freeway, the space between Franklin and Gough.

  7. Posted by Mark F.

    I think this place is generally okay, but the location is crap.

  8. Posted by MyOddCommentHandle

    i can’t help but think instead of the theater room and wine cellar, a 12-20 car garage (for people who actually host parties)

    otherwise, since they likely gutted the whole building, why not make the garage level into storefront retail (a 7-11 etc) and chop the rest of the building up into apartments. It’s increasing available rental units and turns it into an income property in a prime market.

    but that’s just me being an armchair developer

  9. Posted by Fishchum

    If I’m dropping somewhere in the neighborhood of $10-$12M for a SFH in Pac Heights, this location isn’t it. I’d rather be on the north slope and further west than this.

  10. Posted by denis

    I said in this is funny/sad. Not only is the location arguably the worst in what is generally considered Pac Heights, but the house itself is in perpetual shadow by the neighbor buildings. The above photo is being extraordinarily generous. Did the not paint the exterior? Or did they repaint it white and it just ended up caked with soot and atmospheric pollution from the perpetual traffic on Franklin?

  11. Posted by Some Guy

    A “grandly-proportioned” shoe box. The back yard is nothing but an air-well for the surrounding buildings.

  12. Posted by Richard

    Not even SF can justify this compendium of mistakes at $6M. And then you have the fixed monthly costs. A disaster from the get-go.

  13. Posted by Conifer

    As implied by other commenters, this house has a long sad history. It is not the west side of Franklin Street per se, which has a number of architecturally interesting buildings, including the houses just north of California, the Haas Lilienthal, and the beaux-arts building just north of Vallejo.

    The problem is that it is squeezed between two bigger buildings, and the huge south one dominates and shadows this house. The exterior was painted black for a long time. Now it has lost its Victorian interiors to tasteless white and black. In a sense, it no longer has neighbors, or charm, or appeal except for square footage.

    As much as I am in favor of preserving old houses, this one is as dead as a person with profound dementia. Perhaps it should be demolished, and a tall thin modern but traditional apartment by Skurman built here.

    • Posted by SoBayRealtor

      Wasn’t this house featured in Architectural Digest in the 1980’s?

  14. Posted by Amewsed

    Highest and best use for this property is an apartment building like its neighbors. Short of that means a significant reduction in value.

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