I Could Live Here: San Francisco Ritz-Carlton Penthouse
I know, writing about how I could live in an $8 million dollar penthouse equipped with an at-my-beckon-call concierge seems like a throwaway. Like I'm cheating at my own imagination exercise. But please, bear with me on this one. First of all, let's remember there is no shortage of multi-million-dollar residences in San Francisco, and that just this week I passed over a 10,000-square-foot St. Francis Wood villa ($5 mil) and a 5-bedroom sprawler in Pacific Heights ($6.3 million). No thanks. Not interested.
I don't care if they are giving it away, I don't want to deal with that much space, not to mention inheriting an old home—that comes with a full-time-job's-worth of responsibility (I already have a full-time job, thank you very much). Also, I'm not quite ready to be marooned out by Lake Merritt or on the top of an excruciating hill with no place to pick-up decent saag paneer on the fly.
But this particular penthouse is place I could immediately see myself settling down in. Firstly, there's the location. On Market Street at Kearny, it's only a half a dozen blocks from where I live currently. But those six blocks make a major difference (think check cashing stores vs. white shoe investment firms), not to mention that its perched 24 stories above street level. But the key is that it's close enough to all the things I really, truly love about my neighborhood, like the thrice-weekly Civic Center Farmers Market, Little Saigon, Folsom Street corridor (Citizen's Band, Bloodhound, Sightglass, Terrior), Union Square shopping, BART, the Embarcadero, plenty of flat bike lanes and of course, the culinary treasures found in the Tenderloin/Mid Market area, such as Hooker's Sweet Treats, Dottie's, Showdogs, Cancun and, most importantly, the best damn Indian food around.
But back to what $8 million will get me. In this case, 2 bedrooms, 2.5 baths and 3,063 square feet. Basically, all I could ever need. The current owner (Steve Chen, the co-founder of YouTube) hired NYC's Joel Sanders Architect to completely pimp out the place, and I adore almost all of what they did. But it's obvious the two-story penthouse was designed for a tech-geek bachelor, so just a few changes would be in order to make it a perfect fit for me and my man. The top floor, which looks like it's made up of a spacious master (with an auto-frosting wall of glass dividing bed and bath) and a very dude-friendly den would have to be split up into three proper bedrooms. The master can stay as is, including the dreamy closet, mini wet bar and hideaway doors to close off the mezzanine level. The dudely den? I see one kitted-out guest room and one flex room—something to hold a writing studio, a nursery, a spin bike—whatever seems to be striking my fancy at the moment.
Speaking of guests—that kitchen. It's the glass case and adorable built-in bench that does it. I loved the look of that spotted glass wall from the moment I saw it.
Then it turned around. Damn girl. Let the dinner parties begin.
As for the rest of the house, if the furniture came with, I would take it. It would be a very different look for me, and I'm sure over the years bright pops of color and some incredible art would make its way in, but it's the perfect calming white canvas to start with. But Chen's three side-by-side TVs? I was sure I would banish them until Monday night, when I found myself flipping back and forth frantically from the presidential debate to game seven of the playoffs. And now with a Giant's World Series to contend with, I realize I may have a little bit of techie dude in me after all. They can stay for now. Plus, I got wind of the fact that next to the bank of televisions is a pullout newspaper rack that can accommodate five broadsheets. Maybe me and Chen are actually soul mates? Well, probably not—he's giving the place up because kid number two is on the way, so him and the wife are looking for something a little closer to the ground and a little further from five-lane traffic. Oh well, his loss is my gain. At least in this little slice of web fanatsyland.