Bamboo secludes 1880s cottage

Leigh and Rick Hood knew they already had something special on their hands when they purchased their little private cottage at 2721 Bush St., San Francisco, in 1999.

It hadn’t been on the market since 1980, when renowned architect Orlando Diaz-Azcuy purchased the 1880s home and converted it to an open floor plan with “attractive and simple” storage solutions, Leigh Hood said. He’d then sold it to his friends and long-term tenants, and the Hoods bought it from them via Zephyr Realtor Bonnie Spindler without it ever hitting the market.

“Bonnie just called us and said, ‘I have the perfect house,’” Leigh Hood said, reminiscing about their prior, noisy home on the lower floor of a two-unit building.

Though already private, the little house does have near neighbors, and that’s when Rick Hood converted a long-term interest in bamboo gardening to a serious hobby. Now, neighbors are all screened off by a carefully-contained 40-foot living wall that blocks views while allowing in light.

“Being able to put up a green barrier is a marvelous thing,” said Rick Hood, noting that he’s used specimens from Asia, Central and South America. “It worked very well for our needs.”

Rick Hood estimated he has between 20 and 30 species growing in the yard, as well as other plants, in colors ranging from green and yellow to black, purple-brown and striped. He’s carefully contained the bamboo to prevent its notorious habit of spreading, he said.

The house itself is in the East Lake Stick style, and apparently had two additions over the years that turned porches into a back bedroom and a sunny laundry room with a half-bath, Leigh Hood said. But the additions included expanding the unfinished basement, which follows the complete footprint of the present house.

“It’s got incredible opportunity for development. We thought about turning it into the master suite and laundry room and garage, and we didn’t do it,” Leigh Hood said.

Where: San Francisco

Asking price: $1,226,000

Property tax: $15,938*

What: 2 bedrooms, 1½ baths, 1,340 square feet

Amenities: Full year of parking purchased half-block away, sage-colored marble wood-burning fireplace, hardwood floors, yards on all sides.

Agent: Bonnie Spindler, Zephyr Real Estate, (415) 552-9500. Open house from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday and candlelight open house from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m Thursday, with wine and cheese.

*Estimate based on 1.3% of asking price

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