For most people, Julia Morgan designed Hearst Castle. End of story— except that story leaves out out her prolific San Francisco and East Bay career entirely. Morgan was the go-to architect for progressive women, whether Phoebe Hearst or college sorority connections, with a practice that ranged from from graceful shingled houses to YWCAs and Mills College, where she designed the reinforced concrete bell tower. When the tower survived the 1906 earthquake, her reputation and career took off. Getting back to shingles, Morgan designed 3377 Pacific Avenue for Aurora Stull, the mother of a college friend. Overlooking the Presidio, the 6-bed, 6-bath brown shingle popped up on the market yesterday asking $11,500,000 and out front, the austere, barn-like profile has none of the quirky details typical of her work, and doesn't give away much of the what the interiors are like today. Architectural historians tell us the interior was once completely paneled but it looks like a lot of Morgan's slightly feminine, appealingly dorky detailing survives along with her signature baluster stair rails. Post WWII, the house was renovated extensively, and then again in the 1990s, which is probably when the vast underground garage went in. There's an elevator from the ground floor, with its wine-tasting room and cellar, to the top floor, where there's a media room with views over the Presidio to the Marin Headlands. The main floor has the expected vast public rooms opening to a seriously lovely garden, and upstairs, an enviable master suite.
Whether it was built in 1903 or 1908 is up for debate— it's possible Morgan may not have bothered to get a demolition permit for an earlier house on the site, and her archive dates the design at 1908. These few blocks at the edge of the Presidio are full of break-away houses by Morgan's local contemporary starchitects– Maybeck, Coxhead, Willis Polk, and Knowles, whose much smaller 1910 Stadmueller house up the street just sold for $4,100,000. And while the Aurora Stull House isn't landmarked, it's got an "A" classification for significant historic interest.
· Julia Morgan Coverage [Curbed SF]
· Exquisite Resdience on the Presidio Wall [Gloria Smith/Sotheby's]
· Julia Morgan [Wikipedia]
· Julia Morgan in San Francisco (1906-1912) [VLN, scroll down)
· At $4.2M Is This The Most Expensive 2-Bedroom In San Francisco? [Curbed SF]
· 3377 Pacific Avenue [Redfin]