We are justifiably proud of our deep stock of old Victorians in San Francisco, but we’ve also got to acknowledge that sometimes, other cities can do it with equal aplomb.
Take, for example, this circa 1898 Queen Anne on Eighth Avenue in the Ivy Hill neighborhood of Oakland, with its soft aqua façade and decadent touches of stained glass throughout its 1,828 square feet.
Dubbed the Tower House, at a $899,000 list price for four beds and three baths, this dish looks like a positive steal by San Francisco standards. In fact, in the city, just the tiered garden, wraparound porch, fish scale shingles, and stained glass transom window would cost you at least that much all on their own, much less what you get on the inside.
Built by Henry Saxtorph, the house was declared an official Oakland landmark 30 years ago, and last sold for just over half a million dollars in 2010, which by rights is probably less than just the stained glass should fetch.
Oh yes, there is stained glass. Virtually everywhere you look: the kitchen, the bathrooms, the back door, the foyer, even in the in-law unit upstairs, despite the fact that it’s an interior window that can’t possibly get direct sun.
(Notice that in-law features some particularly dramatic, almost deco-like ceiling angles thanks to the slope of the roof overhead.)
If there’s one thing to match this house’s love affair with stained glass, it might be the constant dalliance with marble. It’s one thing to have marble counters in the kitchen and a solid marble shower in one of the baths, but there must have been a lot left over, because two of three bathrooms have marble floors as well (one in hexagons, no less). Even the sun porch has a marble inlay.
The 5,600-square-foot lot leaves quite a backyard and garden space as well. We hate to admit it, but even most San Francisco Queen Anne owners are probably going to be sick with envy over whoever picks this plum.
1937 Eighth Avenue, Oakland [Alain Pinel]