Hot Property: Clarendon Heights has great views from the hills

During the period between San Francisco’s original buildout and the construction boom of the past 20 years, it was rare for homes to arrive in the form of large developments. Instead, single buildings dropped into The City seemingly at random.

Since most of the “desirable” neighborhoods were already full, post-war builders had to find new places to build. Usually, they found space that came equipped with built-in challenges. Most often, these challenges involved hills.

Like Twin Peaks, Clarendon Heights was developed after World War II. Perhaps that’s how long it took architects and builders to figure out that with the challenges of hills came opportunities for great views. Having overcome that obstacle, they began to build, mostly individually, until the mid-1960s, when someone decided that the best use of Twin Peaks would be multi-unit buildings apparently built out of cardboard.

Clarendon remained a landing spot for single-family homes. Since the 1950s, many of the original homes have been renovated or razed. Enough of them remain, though, to give the neighborhood an eclectic feel.

One of the most original homes in Clarendon Heights sits at 140 St. Germain Ave. It is on the market, offered at $1.795 million by agent Joske Thompson of Pacific Union.

It was built in 1960 for the family that now put it up for sale. The original owner, who recently passed away, kept the mid-century home in completely original condition.

Even the enormous light dimmers are original, as are the stainless steel appliances in the kitchen. (The pull-down stove top was compared to DJ turntables on the real estate Web site Socketsite.) Cabinets, fixtures, a thin divider separating the living and dining areas, are all original.

Also original is the home’s mid-century design. It looks not unlike a souped-up Eichler and brings the outdoors in more than most homes. Two atria flank the home’s central living space. Interior walls are identical to exterior walls.

And then there’s the view.

With the entire back wall of the house done in glass, the panoramic view of San Francisco and the Bay is overwhelming. It is also visible from the downstairs recreation room and the kitchen.

This unique home will require plenty of updates. Let’s hope that the new owners don’t mess with its basic style, however. It will be open Sunday from 2-4 p.m.

140 St. Germain Ave.

Where: San Francisco

Asking price: $1,795,000

Property tax: $23,335*

The property: Original condition mid-century modern home in San Francisco’s Clarendon Heights.

Notable: Drop-dead San Francisco and Bay views; three atriums.

Agent: Joske Thompson, Pacific Union/GMAC Real Estate, (415) 345-3100.

Open house: Sunday 2-4 p.m.

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