Open House Obsession: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous (Your Choice)

Coincidentally, both houses are related by the 1906 earthquake– one built on the quake's rubble, and other most likely built as temporary shelter for earthquake victims.

Where: 663 Marina Boulevard, Marina District (above)
When: Sunday, March 10 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
What: A 4-bed, 4-bath mansion overlooking the Marina and North Bay, asking $5.195M. Dating to 1937 and owned by the family that built it, it's one of the few shabby standouts on a street of immaculate mansions– and wasn't the prettiest girl on the block when it was built, either. The location however, is unmatched, with views of the North Bay from the Golden gate to Alcatraz and a short walk/run to Crissy Field.

Ringing in at almost 5200 square feet with room to expand on a deep, extra-wide lot, and without any kind of architectural pedigree, it's a ripe opportunity for re-invention. Check out the enthusiastic realtors giving a tour. Worth visiting just for the time-warp aspects of the decor– acres of fake brick, vinyl wall coverings and what looks like a glaze of cigar smoke on just about every surface.

Downside: Although the house has had a full seismic upgrade, this part of the Marina District is on reportedly unstable landfill from the 1906 earthquake, the original site of the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition. The asking price may be a bit of a reach, and a properly-plutocratic renovation will easily be in the millions.



Where: 4353 17th Street, Corona Heights
When: Sunday, March 10 from 2:00Pm to 4:00PM
What: Asking $399K and billed as a 1-bed, 1-bath fixer on a tiny lot, we think this small frame cottage is actually an historic survivor. Immediately after the 1906 earthquake, many dozens of small "earthquake cottages" went up on vacant land, including nearby Dolores Park. Some were later demolished, but others were moved– before WWI, San Francisco's frame houses were easily moved to other locations to free up increasingly valuable real estate– at a time when people were too frugal to consign a structure to landfill. Still, it's about the cutest thing we've seen in a while and the cheapest house for sale in San Francisco.

Downside: The kitchen, while serviceable, is awkward. and throughout the rest of the house, the stagers have done a lot with mirrors. It's on a very busy street– one that comes with a possible pollution advisory– and occupies a tiny lot without parking. While the city does not currently list it as an historic resource, it could prove impossible to alter beyond what's been done to date.

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