Yesterday’s tomorrow house

“The interrelationship of outside and inside living areas has been developed without a loss of simplicity,” said Sunset magazine of its 1943 “House of Tomorrow,” a small modern structure built into a Twin Peaks hillside.

Designed by architects John C. Campbell and Worley Wong, the simple space incorporated living room, kitchen and bedroom into one flexible space that seems larger due to its floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking San Francisco.

One year later, Better Homes & Gardens called Mr. and Mrs. Robert Watts’ home “completely natural and free of unnecessary clutter.” The San Francisco couple had hoped to also build a country home outside the city, but wartime restrictions made this impossible.

They were left with what, 65 years later, remains “the quintessential San Francisco hideaway,” according to Pacific Union agent Peggy Economos.

Economos is the listing agent for the home, which is on the open market for the first time. When the home was built, it featured a large storage area downstairs. The Watts converted that area into an in-law apartment (also with great views), which they rented to the same tenant until 1969, at which point they sold the home to him in a private sale.

Over the years, 1599 Shrader St. has been expanded. A second bedroom, which opens to the living room deck, was added, as well as a glassed-in dining area. But it is essentially the same house — a building with 1942 bones, with bits and pieces of the succeeding decades (like a very groovy redwood deck and hot tub, and a sleek wine cellar) added over the years.

It still perches on a heavily-wooded hillside, and is still accessible by a long, curved flight of brick stairs, with just enough trees and stairs to wash away whatever stresses you might have before you reach the front door.

And of course, there is the view. Whatever changes or upgrades its new owners decide on, 1599 Shrader will remain a singular, one-of-a-kind property, someone’s idea of the ideal San Francisco.

lrosen@sfexaminer.com

Where: San Francisco

Asking Price: $1,695,000

Property Tax: $22,035*

The Property: Two bedrooms, two bathrooms, drop-dead views, forest-like setting, in-law unit.

Notable: Sunset magazine’s “House of Tomorrow” in 1943.

Agent: Peggy Economos, Pacific Union, (415) 345-3107.

*Estimate based on 1.3% of asking price

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