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Open House Report

We checked out two modernist houses this past weekend, one new construction and the other a full-on rehab. Both are worth noting for various reasons- the open houses were packed and the houses fall into what's beginning to look like the Dwellesque school of residential design in San Francisco. As in Dwell Magazine. And both are represented by realtors who are carving this niche out for themselves.

First up: Payton Stiewe's 234 Valley in Noe Valley turns out to be the perfect family home- from the private ground floor apartment for the au pair to the bedroom level for kids and laundry. Open front-and-back staircases, eliminating the need for fire stairs across the back of the house, also give it great circulation. Two-car garage, high ceilings, top floor master suite with it's own terrace. Great kitchen includes Miele built-in espresso maker. A Catholic church just across the street to meet all your spiritual needs, including a parochial school for a really lasting impression on those kids you brought into the world. At $2,750,000 it's tad high for the neighborhood- still a gritty corner of the old working-class Noe Valley. New construction with sleek interior details, and on the exterior, well-scaled to the streetscape. Could be construed as a bargain to someone less sensitive the neighborhood's esthetic.

Number Two: The one we'd buy in a heartbeat. It's smaller than 234 Valley, and rehabbed from a stock 50's house (the typical five rooms over a garage.) 576 30th Street is on the downslope of Billy Goat Hill with a great view north across Noe Valley to downtown. A sleek modernist box pushed into the lot, with bamboo floors and a steel rear staircase that goes from the garden a big terrace off the master bedroom. One might quibble with lower level layout, but in general, a really comfortable modernist statement with details from it's previous incarnation. At $2,195,000 it's not only more expensive than the neighbors- you get to look over some funky little shacks before your eye finds downtown. Sort of like Potrero Hill, just less sunny, and the nabe lacks any discernable food or coffee drinks.
· Dwell Magazine [Dwell]
· 234 Valley Street [Payton's List]
· 576 30th Street [Tal Klein]