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Renovated Nob Hill condo in historic building wants $3.98 million

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$2 million home circa 1923 gets $1 million remodel

When we visited the number 104 unit at the Francesca (850 Powell) 18 months ago, we called it "sumptuous," "precious," and "loaded with old-money flourishes." At the time it was a three-bed, 2,450-square-foot piece of work, asking nearly $2.2 million and eventually selling for just over $2 million even.

But there was, perhaps, something a bit old fashioned about the place, and what one reader referred to as its "1920s look."

The building, designed by Gustave Albert Lansburgh (of Oakland’s Temple Sinai), Kenneth MacDonald (a graduate of École des Beaux-Arts), and MacDonald’s partner Maurice C. Couchot, does indeed date to 1923, but maybe it shouldn’t look it all the time?

That 2015 buyer must have agreed, because it’s back on offer (off market) after an extensive remodel, and asking a shade under $4 million.

Compare its new look to what we saw in the previous incarnation, particularly the transformation of the kitchen from its oddball layout and the more open, slightly loft-like vibe of the living area.

They kept stunning details like the beamed ceilings and antique fireplace, but sanded off some of the stodginess of the previous design with some more roughhewn elements, like exposed pillars and subway tile in the bathrooms. It’s now a full four bed and four bath unit to boot.

When the Francesca opened more than 80 years ago, it was billed as "the last word in apartments," with private elevators and "no hallways of any kind." While it’s now a venerable old building, it’s still possible that the last word needs an occasional rewrite.

Details: Four bed, four bath, and approximately 2,450 square feet. Asking is $3.98 million.