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Cinderella home seeks spouse

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In January 2000, 362 Georgetown Ave. was a bedraggled belle, allowed to go neglected for years, retreating under overgrown plants.

Then travel-agency owner Magda Johnson came along. In a fit of real-estate buying legerdemain, she and her significant other managed to see what she calls an “Italianate art deco” home while it was still under contract to another buyer, and put in a high bid. When the other buyer didn’t qualify financially for the sale, the house was hers.

All 5,000 dilapidated square feet of it. She had the entire home renovated from top to bottom, preserving the 1929 details but greatly improving the kitchen and baths and adding a few new amenities. The home has four levels, counting the basement, so she put in an elevator — no mean feat in San Mateo, a city renowned for its tough-minded municipal planning department.

“There was a beautiful swimming pool in the garden [on the side of the property],” Johnson said. “But there were only two doors, the front door and the back door. So we added a door through the pantry, and made it look like it had always been there.”

She also installed two roof decks with views of San Francisco. She kept the original lighting fixtures and most of the hardwood floors, adding tile in the kitchen.

Johnson suspects the home originally belonged to an Italian family, who brought in the fireplace marble from their native land, as well as craftsmen to do the details. A 10-foot safe that suggests a bootlegging past was relocated from the bedroom to the wine cellar.

WHERE: San Francisco

ASKING PRICE: $2.695 million PROPERTY TAX: $35,035*

WHAT: A 3-bedroom, 2.5-bath home with two legal in-law units, 4,000-square-feet

AMENITIES: Hardwood floors, two decks, landscaped patio with mature palms, 3-car side-by-side garage

LISTING AGENT: Susan Ring, Pacific Union, 298-6577, http://www.susanring.com, open from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 4


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