Open House Obsession: The Loveliest “Sisters” in Noe Valley, $2.9MAuthor:Philip Ferrato
Where: 656, 658, & 658A Elizabeth Street, Noe Valley
When: Saturday/Sunday, April 15/16 from 2:00pm-4:00pm both days
What: A pair of “Sisters”, mirror-image houses (once a popular way to house one’s married children) that over almost four decades were the home of Richard Burns Jordan, a real estate agent and famed party-giver in a real world that paralleled Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City. Based on the reminiscences of longtime friends, Jordan was an old-school gentleman, by turns proper, dignified and witty, who in spite of being very much of the world, conjured up a home that evoked a moment somewhere on the other side of WWI.
Dubbed Rosewood Hall (because in the ‘70s, people named their houses) the structure is currently three units– a garden-level studio apartment and two units on the main floor, one of which has expanded to occupy the entire upper level. According to realtor Richard Gullo, the house was in rough shape when Jordan bought it in 1971. Jordan redid exterior in the classic ‘Painted Lady” style then sweeping across San Francisco, adding the bovine motif frieze and pediment details (above) and finishing the rooms in wallpaper by San Francisco Victoriana, a now-defunct supplier of all things Victorian, especially millwork. Many of the ceiling rosettes are original, and amazingly, still fitted for gas.
A little black, gold and Pompeiian red.
One can imagine this house full of art and objects, period furniture and a collection of taxidermy, with daylight filtered through stained glass.
Jordan extended the house into the garden, where the annual Easter Egg Hunt took place in the garden. At a minimum, bonnets were required; some guests came in full Edwardian rig.
One of the three kitchens, with a splendid vintage range, and the “solarium” a charming wood-paneled space where Jordan began his day.
More: For additional information and images, check out the listing.