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Midcentury-modern in Clarendon Heights asks $2.4 million

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First time on the market in 59 years

Photos courtesy of John Asdourian, McGuire Real Estate

Loved and lived in my the same family since 1959, this midcentury-modern homes is one of those rare San Francisco treats—a detached single-family home in a verdant, wooded setting.

Featuring five bedrooms, five bathrooms, and 3,244 square feet, 145 Mountain Spring Avenue comes with hardwood floors, brick wall fireplace, and interior atrium with retractable skylight. It’s been cared for over the years with gentle revamps throughout.

Lili Malabed, the daughter of the family that called his place home for so many years, describes the house as a secret hideaway. In details, she explains what it was like growing up in the home and in the hidden Clarendon Heights neighborhood.

The original house had three bedrooms, plus the au-pair / in-law suite on the bottom floor. Growing up in this particular house was plenty fun. The large living room, dining room and atrium served as a broad space for six children to read and lounge with our parents and pets. We sat for hours on a warm floor on the first level playing with dolls and hot wheels. The floor was heated from below by the hydronic heating system. It was glorious.

We used the length of the open living room/dining room like a track, circling the furniture and leaping hurdles over the sofa. We used the sofa as a “net” to play volleyball with a balloon or beach ball.

We sat in large puddles of sun, both in the atrium and on the roof, staring at the sky, the birds, the blue angels, whatever might be soaring overhead.

The open floor plan made for incredible dance parties.


I had no clue as a child to how very special this house is. The atrium in the center of the house is as big as the living room. It has one of the first retractable roofs in San Francisco. Built by Rollamatic Roofs, the flip of one toggle opened the house straight to the sky. Here is where seedlings were nurtured, pet turtles crawled, kittens were raised, girls learned to roller skate, birthday candles were blown out, all beneath that bright blue canopy.

She also describes the neighborhood and what it was like to live so close to Sutro Forest.

As children, my five sisters and I spent an enormous amount of time outside. Any school day, we’d ride the bus home, walk up Clarendon and then hike up the short path to our own street. Books and binders were cast aside, shoes changed and we were back out on the street, playing until well after dusk. At least a dozen kids lived on the block with us. No park can rival what it’s like having free run of a street without traffic.

Our neighbor’s mom painted a four square court and hopscotch in front of her house and erected a tetherball pole. When the weather warmed, and as a San Francisco native I can tell you that I consider 66 degrees balmy, we hauled out the water guns and buckets and had some serious shoot-em-up water fights.

We had endless races on Big Wheels, skateboards, roller skates, banana-seat bicycles and, of course, by foot. Every variation of tag and hide-and-seek were played with a huge stump at our end of the cul-de-sac always serving as home base. Chalk masterpieces were scrawled up and down sidewalks, and mud pancakes were baked.

We usually played well after sunset, sometimes a spooky version of tag we called “Ghost Ghost,” but each mom had her own cowbell that she’d swing outside a window to let us know it was time to come home. Children knew the tone of their mother’s bell, and only occasionally would she need to yell, “Time for dinner!”

The forest abutting the house, the Interior Greenspace just across Clarendon, and the reservoir at Sutro Tower were all part of our personal playground. Our forest was a place of endless mystery and mischief. We bushwhacked tunnels, built bike ramps and forts, and crawled around rocky outcroppings looking for Ishi’s Cave. Living in this house meant living on this street and in this forest.

A special home like this deserves of an owner who appreciates its richly textured history, who wants to live in an escape from the city in the heart of the city. Asking is $2,498,000.