Open House Obsession: Glitz and Mirrors in Pacific Heights
The home of a well-known San Francisco hostess from the latter part of the 20th Century has been on the market for over a year– and reduced by almost $3M. The open house on Sunday, November 18 is a rare opportunity to get a look inside a once-grand Pacific Heights mansion.
Lee Herbst Gruhn was a former cabaret singer who married well and loved to throw parties. She was apparently very good at it, plus she had an indulgent husband who gave her the premises to entertain– a grand house originally designed by San Francisco architect Edward Coxhead in 1899. One of San Francisco's best Beaux-Arts architects, Coxhead combined an exuberant interpretation of Georgian on the outside with very 18th C. French interiors for his original client, a Mrs. Spooner. Along with this vaguely Tudor library:
Much later, courtesy of Mrs. Gruhn, the house acquired a lot of gold paint and mirror. It's now been repainted and staged for sale, and sadly Mrs. Gruhn's personal sense of style– which included carousel horses wearing jewelry and stuffed animals wearing sunglasses– is gone. Some of the gilt remains.
Right now, the interiors look tired and the disco-era walls of mirrors distort Coxhead's interior spaces. Outside, the glassy rooftop penthouse (above) doesn't do much for the house's proportions. As for the exterior's ungainly overall proportions, the window frames were originally painted black and the cornice and pediments were a dark sandstone, currently covered in glossy white paint. Let's hope a new owner is inspired to restore the original finishes after they've replaced all the bathrooms put in the new kitchen, plus electrical, sound and security systems. The 6-bed, 5-bath house was originally listed at $12.5M in October, 2011 and after a change in brokers and a few price cuts, it's down to a bargain $9.75M. Open on Sunday, November 18 from 2:00pm to 4:00pm