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Owl-adorned Liberty Hill Italianate asks $1.79 million

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Own a piece of history—the top piece, in this case

The facade of the old Victorian at 3345 21st Street. Courtesy Vanguard Properties

The Liberty Hill Historic District is a slice of land on the outskirts of San Francisco covering just a few blocks between Dolores and Mission Streets on one end and 20th and 22nd on the other. Tech notables like Mark Zuckerberg call this tony neighborhood home

Of the 293 or so houses residing in those blocks, 205 are Victorians of one species or another, most dating to before the 1906 Earthquake. (In fact, the 20th Street firebreak forms the little neighborhood’s crucial boundary.)

When San Franciscans first put down stakes here in the 1860s it was an unremarkable place, essentially the city’s original residential suburb.

But now, when one of the old glory pieces in these couple of blocks comes up, it’s worth turning heads over.

In this case, 3345 21st Street is only part of an ornate, mint-green Italianate Victorian that, according to the seller, possibly dates back to 1885 (official records don’t go back that far). Last sold in 2012 for just over $1 million, this three-bed, two-bath condo returns to the market at $1.79 million.

Part of looking at a home in this historic district is that you don’t have to brace yourself quite as hard to hear the often inevitable R-word—renovation.

The kitchen here is new, and a little work has been done on the windows and plumbing over the years—the owners before this previous seller were contractors. And, of course, the home inevitably changed over the course of a century.

But no big permits have been taken out in the past 27 years and no big renovation, remodel, or gutting has occurred.

“It’s pretty intact,” says realtor Andrew Warren. “The back of the place with the living room looks more contemporary, but the front end with the bedrooms is probably pretty close to the original floor plan.”

He points out that the bathroom at the front of the unit near the stairs (see above) was originally a fainting room.

One other avian detail has survived lo these many decades: The facade of the old building is studded with owls.

They’re hard to see at first glance, but take a closer look at the ornamentation festooning the front and the distinctly wisened image of dozens of green and purple night birds emerges.

Give a hoot.

They seem to be distinct to this one home in the neighborhood. So it looks like anyone who come to roost here will be in good company.