1940’s Chic On Telegraph Hill With Spectacular Views, $9.5M


Where: 233 Chestnut Street, Telegraph Hill/North Beach
Asking: $9,500,000
What: A 4-unit structure built in 1940 to the designs of architect Henry Temple Howard (one of the architects of Coit Tower) very much in the spirit of late Art Deco and early International Style, but designed for San Francisco’s temperate climate. With its suble setbacks and proportions, this a deeply progressive design, originally built as an owner-occupied investment property on a spectacular site with direct views of Alcatraz and the North Bay. It’s been remodeled and lived in by the current owners as a single-family home with a garden level rental unit.

You enter through a long, pristine walkway into on of Telegraph Hill’s famed “hidden” spaces. The main entrance is to the left with the private garden just beyond, sheltered by an ancient trumpet vine.

The original owner was Dorothy Ward Erskine and her husband Morse Erskine. She was an ardent and deeply influential supporter of open space and intelligent urban planning during the great Depression and the postwar years. You have to wonder what affect this house (and its views!) had on Erskine, a founder of the Greenbelt Alliance and the influential San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR).

The main living area (at top and below) extends past a bar area and up a few steps to the kitchen, with access to one of the property’s many outdoor spaces.

What We Love: In a conservative, timber and mining fortune town like San Francisco, sophisticated residential structures like this were rare in the 1940s. They still are, plus it can also provide the best kind of flexible, multi-generational living.

The setback penthouse has a narrow view deck overlooking the Bay.

More: Go to the listing for additional information and images, including a video. Represented by Nina Hatvany at Pacific Union International.