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Nob Hill: Mid-Century Chinese-American Time Capsule

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We got excited last Friday when this mid-century listing at 1157 Washington Street popped up on Redfin, and it wasn't just for the light fixtures. OK, it was the light fixtures. But also the terrazzo flooring and the stove. And although the listing says "Nob Hill" it's more like "Chinatown-Adjacent" with the new Chinatown Recreation Center going up a few yards downslope at Washington & Mason. The 2-bed, 2-bath house, asking $950,000, was built as part of a pair of houses in 1954 (behind 1165 Washington) and accessed by the narrow driveway to 1157. No clue as to the architect, but it's very much in the style of Campbell & Wong- in other words, not great, but interesting, with an occasional flash, like the curving staircase and the well-placed windows. So yes, worth a visit to the open house yesterday. Hanging over the double-height stair is a brass Lightolier pendant fixture by Gino Sarfatti, also from 1954, back in the days when Lightolier and Lightcraft were working with the most up-to-the-moment designers.

The house is two levels, no garage and almost no outdoor space. Downstairs, there's a living room with bleached paneling plus a bath and mechanical room. Upstairs, the master bedroom with fitted cabinets, a pristine, period master bath in yellow and brown, a smaller bedroom and the original kitchen in grey wood-grain laminate. The living room and master bedroom have spectacular views of downtown and Telegraph Hill; the kitchen's dining area has a beautifully-framed view of sixty-year-old camellias, sky, and the top third of the Transamerica Building.

The place needs a little work, and a new refrigerator, but the bathrooms look almost new. The cork flooring is in surprisingly good shape as are the vintage acoustic tile ceilings. Possibly another open house next Sunday on Mother's Day. Surprisingly quiet, the house is cut off from the constant whining and clacking of the cable car cables. More light fixtures in the gallery- according to the agent, a lot of Mah Jong was played under that counterweighted hanging fixture in the living room.
· 1157 Washington Street [Redfin]
· Interesting Pedigree for Almost-Wurster [Curbed SF Archives]
· Chinatown Recreation Center [SFDPW]
· 1157 Washington Street [Paragon]