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Pacific Heights: Larry Ellison Buys House Next Door for $40M, Shrubbery Fracas Settled

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The latest twist in our tale of Mother Nature and the distress she causes among mere mortals: Curbed SF intel says Oracle CEO Larry Ellison will buy the home of late socialite/fashionista/philanthropist Dodie Rosekrans at 2840 Broadway- immediately next door to his- for $40,000,000. The Rosekrans' extravagant Willis Polk-designed house, built in 1916, has twenty-two rooms and lacks a garage, but it does have unobstructable views of the bay. And the billionaire's multi-year battle with his downhill neighbors/millionaires Jane and Bernard von Bothmer may be finally coming to a close. Apparently settled yesterday morning, with lawyers beavering away over the holiday weekend, the case is a log-book of Dickensian wrangling over an eighty-year-old acacia and some overly-enthusiastic redwoods and just how many feet of wood would get trimmed from their tops. Meanwhile, there's been an attempt to landmark the acacia, plus during a recent deposition, Jane von Bothmer produced photos of Ellison's employees illicitly strapped into her trees, ready to trim.

This past week, Ellison defended himself in the Wall Street Journal via his tree lawyer, and back in 2007, the von Bothmers turned down two offers from Ellison to buy their property. Having paid $6,900,000 for their house in 2004, renovating it and the garden extensively, the barnacle-like von Bothmers refused to be scraped away, but they have now agreed to maintain the redwoods at a height within two feet of the elevation of the yachtsman's second floor.

The von Bothmer's Mediterranean style house on Vallejo Street (not visible from the street) was designed by George Applegarth and built in 1925; it has a later garden by Thomas Church that was revised by another owner to be especially hummingbird-friendly. Back up on Broadway, the austere brown facade of the Rosekrans house hides an extravagant interior and a reproduction of a Spanish Rennaissance patio. In the 1970's the Rosekrans hired Michael Taylor to decorate the interiors and Dodie apparently never changed a thing, although we expect it's been emptied out since her death last year- her Picassos were sold earlier in May at Sotheby's. In the gallery above, vintage shots, including Ellison's new view, culled from Diane Dorrans Saeks's design blog The Style Saloniste. Ellison's house was designed by William Wurster in 1958 for Anna Spreckels Coleman, but it's been so extensively renovated there's not much Wurster left. It does, however, have a three-car garage.
· Billionaire's Row [Curbed SF Archives]
· Lots of Green is at Stake in This San Francisco Spat [WSJ]
· Private Realm [The Style Saloniste]