1964? LBJ, The Beatles, happenings, riots in Berkeley. We were secretly at war in Cambodia, and these two houses were built. For what it's worth, they give us a snapshot (or Polaroid) of San Francisco that year.
46 Digby Street a "custom" house, designed by an unknown (to us) architect for a unknown couple. Just below Diamond Heights and just above Glen Park, in a neighborhood that would continue to be developed until the 'seventies. Clean and classic, but some quirky details nonetheless, including a weird solarium doubling as the front entrance, probably intending to blur the division between inside and out and just coming up WTF? In original, well-maintained condition, although we know some 42 year olds who are in better shape. Bedrooms downstairs, puny, uninspired bathrooms. Handsome, cantilevered fireplace hearth. Great views barely mitigate the sad truth that every surface needs to be redone, especially when first listed on February 1 at $949K, and then jacked up million dollars. So 2004. Watch where you put that "1."
2786 Broadway also a custom house, but built by the rich. In this case, by James Schwabacher, Jr. both the heir to a pencil fortune and a gifted tenor. Until his death last year, Schwabacher was a major force in San Francisco's opera and music world as a patron and supporter.
Designed by Porter & Steinwedell, architects who had worked for Gardner Dailey and later had a fairly grand and successful practice of their own. They gave Schwabacher a sophisticated house faced with stucco and two two-story bays, both covered in lacquered latticework that recalls Egyptian mashrabiyah screens. There's a pool tucked into an atrium and a huge music room and library on the top floor. More incredible views, deeply quirky and wonderful, combining Bay Area modernism with European and Muslim details. Another "every surface needs redoing" house now at $9.5M, or almost 25% less than the original asking price when first listed on October 6, 2006.
· 46 Digby Street [Howard Reinstein/Prudential via MLS]
· 2786 Broadway [Bill Hughes/Coldwell Banker via MLS]
· James H. Schwabacher [SF Classical Voice]