clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The City's Second Most Expensive House Has French-Inspired Roots

New, 4 comments

Public spaces change fast here in San Francisco, and for better or worse, it can be pretty crazy when you see what the City used to look like. Every week, we'll bring you Then & Now, a comparison of historic photos of the Bay Area with current views from the same perspective. Have a suggestion for a photo comparison that looks totally different (or shockingly the same)? Drop us a tip in the Curbed Inbox or leave a comment after the jump.

Quick note: See that vertical green bar in the middle of the then and now photos? You can move it horizontally to see the photos side by side.

[Then photo: SAN FRANCISCO HISTORY CENTER, SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY/ Now photo: Google Maps] Now that one of the most expensive houses in San Francisco is officially off the market, we thought we'd take a peek back at the history of one of the other mega listings – 3800 Washington, or optimistically referred to as "Petit Trianon."

Built c1902 for Marcus and Cora Koshland, the house was designed by Frank S. Van Trees as a "modified replica of the garden façade of Le Petit Trianon" at Versailles (you be the judge), inspired by Mrs. Koshland's recent trip to Europe – she even opened the house in 1904 with a Marie Antoinette costume ball. Two years after the house was completed, the 1906 Earthquake and Fire hit the city, but the house withstood the force, with only the front columns and cornice collapsing. The house served as a refuge for the city's upper crust for the first few nights after the quake. Mrs. Koshland was a real social fixture, hosting concerts and lavish parties in the massive ballroom. When she died in 1953, "Petit Trianon" was sold to the Buck family, who remained in it for decades. It was listed as a local city landmark in 1976>, and listed on the National Register in 1984.

Petit Trianon, earlier this year [Photo: M]

Fast forward to 2007, and CNET founder Halsey Minor bought the place for somewhere around $18M. He has major plans for renovating, using Elle Magazine's 2003 Designer of the Year Michael S. Smith to fix what he called "a grandiose monstrosity." Earlier this year it went back on the market for $25M, though it's unclear if any work was actually completed, since it was in pretty bad shape when Curbed SF recently got a tour of the property (think holes in the ceiling, water damage to the original silk wallcoverings, outdated everything) so the whole place will need a complete restoration.
· Updating the Map of the 25 Most Expensive Homes for Sale in San Francisco [Curbed SF]
· This "Modified Copy" Of The Petit Trianon Can Be Yours For $25M, Maybe Even Less [Curbed SF]
· Minor's Mansion: "Kind of Offensive" [Curbed SF]
· San Francisco City Landmark 95 [SF Planning]
· Petit Trianon [Chateau Versailles]