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Famed Chenery House drops asking price—again

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Built for Robert Pritikin, the mind behind Rice-A-Roni’s infectious jingle, the wacky Glen Park home still seeks buyer.

Photos by Open Homes Photography, courtesy of Joel Goodrich

Update, November 2: The whimsical Chenery House made headlines in September 2017 when it landed on the market for $12,500,000. But no amount of ink could get this wacky abode into the hands of a new owner.

After several price cuts—dropping from $11 million to $7.7 million in one year—the massive Glen Park home has, yet again, revealed a trimmer asking: $5.5 million.

As for why it’s not selling, especially in a neighborhood ripe for a tech takeover, SFGate notes, “[I]ts French neoclassical country style might seem dated at a time when developers are gutting old homes and turning them into sleek modern residences.”


What’s more, camp is all but dead now. Curbed SF commenter 70s resident described Chenery House as ”a narcissistic poke in the eye...[that] makes Trump Tower look tasteful,” while mercury613 said, “All that’s missing is Krystle and Alexis having a catfight in the pool.”

Hopefully, the new price tag will entice the right buyer. After all, in a city with a $45 million listing like this, anything is possible.

Right on the border between Noe Valley and Glen Park sits one of the city's most gaga properties: the Chenery House. Built in 1987 for Robert Pritikin, the former adman who created Rice-A-Roni’s iconic earworm, the secluded home on one of the city’s largest lots is known for its many, many eccentricities.

The neoclassical behemoth, a home better suited to tony enclaves like Pacific Heights or Presidio Terrace, provides the perfect foil for the jaw-dropping amounts of whimsy that grace the estate: marble fountains next to a glassed-in tree house. Artificial turf cover for more than a dozen bronze zoo animals. An indoor swimming pool with retractable glass roof. A grand staircase that splits left and right at the top. A tree in the yard that spits fire.

It’s kitsch and ostentation done right, and a treat for any maximalist weary of minimalism overload.

In 2004, Pritkin offered to bequeath the mansion to San Francisco as an official mayoral residence. Alas, the city declined. So instead the home operated as a private museum/venue. (Pritkin is an avid classical musical saw player and would perform at weddings.)

The space was strewn with collectables Pritikin accumulated over the decades, a collection reportedly worth upward of $50 million. Highlights included a mural featuring cult leader Jim Jones, a sculpture made of spoons, and a $35,000 chair that no one is allowed to sit in. (“It’s designed for the eye, not for the buttocks,” quipped Pritikin.)

While few were allowed a peek inside this exceedingly charming and colorful spot, a two-bedroom furnished suite was made available in 2014 for $4,500/month.

Now the entire shebang is up for grabs. Featuring 10 beds, 11 baths, and 9,966 square feet in total, this one-of-a-kind compound includes a separate three-unit building (currently occupied and pulling in $21,000/month), a cottage, and parking for up to 15 cars. It’s also zoned for being turned into four condominium units.

Fingers crossed that the new owner will neither renovate nor raze this unofficial San Francisco landmark.

Asking is $12,500,000.