Dynamic St. Francis Wood home ready to rock

Owning the nicest home in St. Francis Wood is a little like driving the fastest dragster in the NHRA: The competition is fierce.

Saying that 1601 Monterey Blvd. is the nicest home in St. Francis Wood isn’t hyperbole, however.

The five-bedroom, six-bath Henry Gutterson-designed Colonial was built in 1924 for a member of the Bekins family, who wanted to give it to his daughter, Eliza Holt, as a wedding present. It’s had a handful of owners during its long lifetime, including Mel’s Drive-In co-founder, city supervisor and San Francisco mayoral candidate Harold Dobbs.

“Everyone who lived here gave something to the house,” says Jane Poppelreiter of Paragon, the listing agent. The Holt family expanded the home in 1934, making what had been an already sizable home into something just short of a mansion at 5,400 square feet.

In 2003, the home was purchased by a prominent member of the local punk-rock music scene and his record-label-running wife.

The couple spent more than a year renovating it, adding a kitchen by Studio Snaidero, modern light fixtures and studio-quality sound in most rooms.

Most of this house is a museum-quality expression of modern design. There are a few rooms, however, that seem a little more, well, punk rock.

Just off the living room is a “media room.” In reality, it is that most poorly-named of beasts: the man room. Amidst the flurry of redesigning, the owners decided to hang onto some vintage fox-hunt curtains, dark paneling and wet bar. In one corner of the room, part of the wall opens to reveal a narrow staircase.

This staircase leads to another “man room,” with a fireplace and knotty paneling. In Prohibition-era 1924, it is likely to have served as a bar. In 2003, it was the catalyst that sold the present owners on the house.

“He saw this, and that sealed the deal,” Poppelreiter says, laughing.

Downstairs, perhaps nostalgic for the days when gigs paid five bucks and dressing rooms were bathroom stalls, the owners converted a small bathroom into what is surely the cleanest replica of a circa-1980s punk-club restroom in California. It is certainly the only bathroom in St. Francis Wood wallpapered with fliers from bygone punk shows.

Where will 1601 Monterey Blvd. go after a lifetime featuring doctors, moving magnates, mayoral candidates and punk rock royalty? Who can say? It is up to the next owners to put their own stamp on the nicest house in St. Francis Wood.

lrosen@sfexaminer.com

1601 MONTEREY Blvd.

Where: San Francisco

Asking price: $5,400,000

Property tax: $70,200

The property: Landmark St. Francis Wood home with five bedrooms, six bathrooms, office, media room, secret bonus room; half-acre city lot.

Notable: Built for Bekins moving family in 1924; presently owned by local musician and record label owner.

Agent: Jane Poppelreiter, Paragon Real Estate, (415) 737-7011.

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