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: $6,000.
“Cottage” is one of those terms that can mean just about anything in terms of housing advertising. For example, this place in Dolores Heights looks small and cozy—in fact, it looks very much like a dollhouse surrounded by fake landscape in the photos. But the measurements in the ad space out to 850 square feet, which is not bad at all for a one-bed, one-bath pad in the city these days, even if it runs $6,100 per month. “Originally built in 1884, the cottage shares the rear yard of the historic main house surrounded by lush gardens and terraced patios,” according to the ad, which also notes that this unit was originally a carriage house, the horse-drawn equivalent of a garage. Note that both cats and dogs are allowed here, perhaps because the place has housed far more finicky beasts in its day.
Contrast the carriage house with a competing home a few blocks away in the Castro, an “amazing remodeled full-floor flat” in a blue 19th Street Stick Victorian (not quite as old as the home around the block, dating to 1894). This unit is nearly double the size of the previous one at 1,600 square feet, two beds, and one bath. And at $5,900 per month, it’s cheaper too. “Bay windows, 11-foot ceilings, newer refinished oak hardwood floors, French paned pocket doors, moldings, plaster ceiling moldings, corbels, wainscoting, French paned glass doors, gorgeous newer tiled floors and newer recessed lighting” all included in the package, but the catch is no pets allowed.
Although they’re easy to overlook, the lofts in SoMa around Caltrain are some of the most underrated gorgeous rentals in the entire city. This one-bed, two-bath live/work on Fifth Street is dubbed a “beautiful penthouse with 20-foot ceilings” and “large floor to ceiling windows”—although that’s not quite correct, since this unit just has two rows of lower and higher window that stop well short of either floor or ceiling. Nevertheless, the intended effect of blowing the large space wide open is successful. The ad says this place “accommodates up to 12 people,” but presumably that goes only for the work part of the live/work equation. It’s $6,000 per month—hope those 12 people are all working very hard—and happily pets are allowed.
This Spanish Colonial-style house—the western neighborhoods never seem to tire of them—in West Portal advertises itself as “renovated down to the studs in 2017.” The miracle of Google reveals that nothing much has changed about the facade on this circa-1932 Taraval Street set up; permits at the time reveal that the bathroom on the top floor is brand new as is the spiral staircase in the rear, but there’s no mention of going down to studs. Whatever the extent of the work, the result is a three-bed, two-bath home now asking $5,995 per month. The home sports a “spacious living room” and “features a peaked ceiling with wood beams and south facing views, a formal dining room that could be used as a bedroom, as well as a gourmet kitchen complete with custom cabinetry.” There’s also a one-car garage, and pets are allowed “on a case-by-case basis.”
Finally there’s a “beautiful and vibrant house” in Twin Peaks, the biggest of the bunch at 1,800 square feet with four bedrooms and three baths. There’s a weird clash up front with the pink facade square off against the red brick garage, but perhaps somewhere nearby there’s a renter that’s been in search of that look all their life. “Tile flooring and a gas starting wood burning fireplace” are included along with a one car garage, the rent is $6,000 per month, but the ad is mum about whether anyone can bring pets along.
Which rental would you choose?
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Dolores Heights cottage
West Portal house
Twin Peaks house