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: $3,700.
As it turns out, just under $3,700 per month is, according to Zumper, the record-breaking median price of a one-bed apartment in San Francisco. However, that claim isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. But let’s see what a one-bed, one-bath SF apartment in that price range looks like. Take, for example, this specimen in the Richmond on Clement Street. Technically, the asking price is $3,600 per month for a 525-square-foot setup with granite counters, “nine-foot walk-in closet,” and the promise that the place was “just remodeled.” The ad also boasts a “private tropical garden” with brick patio. This home rents to pet owners as well.
On the other side of the median, you can get a place with starchitect power. Like this Stanley Saitowitz-designed building on Natoma, which features a one-bed, one-bath penthouse condo for $3,700 per month. Of this 2005 design Saitowitz writes, “Floating walls divide the free space in the center, which is finished with a variety of materials all in different shades of white. The front facade has a bay window silhouette constructed of horizontal aluminum bar grating, which provides both shading for the southern exposure and a veil shielding the city beyond.” The only thing this top-drawer, top-floor offer does not account for is whether or not penthouse living includes pets.
Of course, there’s no rule against a renter thinking bigger. This Potrero Hill house is also a one-bed and one-bath home for $3,700 per month. But at 990 square feet, it’s a world apart from the Saitowitz pad in terms of both style and execution. The ad credits architect Jim Jennings for the design, which it dubs “Sonoma in the city,” with “two gardens, wood burning fireplace, flowing one level floor plan and skylights” on top of “custom built-in bamboo cabinetry and Douglas Fir wood floors.” There’s even “16-foot floor to ceiling windows” in the “master bedroom,” which of course is also the only bedroom. No word about pets.
For a better deal, a house on the western tip of Bernal Heights compiles three beds and two baths into a 1,200-square-foot space for $3,650 per month. The listing dubs the abode as “rarely available” and “a hidden gem in the heart of the city,” although Bernal Heights is more like a distinctive birthmark rather than the city’s heart. Nevertheless, this hillside house offers a front yard and a backyard alike, “old-world appointments,” hardwood floors, “open concept,” and, an oddity that seems to pop up from time to time in homes west of Mission Street, tile floors in the bedrooms. “Dogs okay with owner’s approval,” but pet insurance required.
Finally, the Mission and 23rd Street offer is a “one- to two-bed Victorian flat” (apparently there’s room for interpretation as to what counts as a bedroom in this particular situation) in a circa-1886 Italianate. It measures 805-square-feet with “small front and back garden” and garage, plus a few extra touches like the clawfoot tub and the former brick chimney still visible in the kitchen. No word on pets, sadly. It runs $3,700 per month.
Which rental would you choose?
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Potrero Hill house
Bernal Heights house