Welcome to Curbed Comparisons, a regular column exploring what you can rent for a set dollar amount in different neighborhoods. Is one person's studio another person's townhouse? Today's price: $4,100.
↑ This duplex in North Beach with a blue exterior might be indistinguishable from the atmosphere behind it at certain angles, but the ad would have renters believe the important color here is green: “We have solar and most lights are low power LEDs, the appliances are all energy-star rated, and the hot water heater is a high efficiency, continuous flow heater that combines energy efficiency with a literally unlimited capacity.” That’s nice, but is it worth $4,100 for one bedroom and one bathroom? Time will tell. The ad also pushes the rooftop deck on this top-floor unit, which sits next to several flat-topped North Beach homes and creates a sort of parallel street above. This place permits both cats and dogs—in fact, all of today’s listings are pets-positive.
↑ Whereas this SoMa duplex presents a night-and-day comparison; which is to say, while the North Beach spot resembles the sky on a sunny day, the face of this SoMa counterpart is as black and furtive as a nighttime panorama. Rather than soaring over the neighboring rooftops, this top-floor unit sits below the level of it surroundings, as if trying to remain inconspicuous. Yet despite these contrasts it’s the larger and more accommodating offering, with two bedrooms and two baths for $4,100.
↑ The ad for this Dogpatch apartment presents renters something of a puzzle up front to figure out whether or not it’s even available. “Leasing is [ON] Off—O&M is ready,” the headline declares. So, is leasing on or off? Why does it say both? The solution is the brackets are supposed to represent the position of a switch, now in the “on” position at this recently opened building on Indiana Street, a visual that couldn’t possibly have been worth the time it took to conceive. Lucky the apartment itself—a two-bed, one-bath pad for $4,095—steers clear of any similar aesthetic errors. “Never been lived in,” the ad promises.
↑ O&M is a new building, but this two-bed, two-bath flat in the Outer Richmond aims for timeless appeal in the form of coved ceilings, built-ins, and stone counters behind a white-shingled exterior. Even the non-functional, whitewashed fireplace—a common sight in SF apartments in certain neighborhoods—is a compromise with the past, albeit one made for purely mercenary considerations (painting over it is cheaper than tearing it out). The $4,050 asking price is very much of today, of course.
↑ And on the opposite pole from Golden Gate Park sits the only single-family house today, a two-bed, two-bath Sunset locale. The ad wants to attract the eye of pet owners so much that it puts the pet policy in all caps at the front of the ad’s headline and seasons it with no fewer than three exclamation points. Dubbed “Doelger-inspired,” this abode has a penchant for pentagons, employing five-sided shapes for the garage door and main entry portal, the interior doors, and even one of the bathtubs.
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North Beach Duplex