For approximately 20 years, McGuire Real Estate agent Sharon Castle has been showing Marina properties to prospective homeowners, and hearing the same thing as they survey the neighborhood.
“People have always said, ‘I want that house,’” she said.
Now “that house” is up for sale: 3299 Baker St., a $6 million landmark property built in 1930 for the winemaking Giusti family. It is directly across from the Palace of Fine Arts, with an Italian-imported upright brick façade, arched windows, wrought-iron balconies and plaques depicting scenes from Roman mythology.
“As with all fine things, the price tag is a little more than one might expect … it really is the crown jewel of the Marina. It has a commanding presence,” Castle said. “It’s as if you’re in Rome looking at … Roman buildings. It’s very serene; the fountain is going off in the lagoon.”
Since 1947, the house has been owned by the Moss family, known as the proprietors of Moss Lighting. The company manufactured and later retailed lamps from 1937 to 1998. Three generations of the family lived in the home, after it was purchased for around $48,000 by Gerry and Thelma Moss. Mrs. Moss died this year at age 98.
“They were manufacturers of lamps … until 1960. They’re probably from the 1950s the most famous lamp manufacturer in the country, because they manufactured lamps out of a new material called Plexiglass,” family member Jay Benjamin said. “They are a very sought-after collector’s item on eBay, even now. At one point, they were the largest consumer in the western United States of Plexiglass.”
He added that they were taking a chance at the time, buying the house, because the Palace of Fine Arts was crumbling after World War II and wasn’t restored until 1960.
The original details of the home haven’t been “messed with,” Castle said, beyond a 1980s kitchen renovation that creates good flow and space while allowing for an appliance and countertop exchange if the homeowner wishes. She also said the homeowners would likely “update the bathrooms to today’s tastes.” Benjamin said the home’s brick-on-wood structure makes it very quiet inside.
Where: San Francisco
Asking price: $6 million
Property tax: $78,000*
What: 5 bedrooms, 4 baths, 2 half-baths, 6,553 square feet
Amenities: High ceilings, detailed millwork, view of the Palace of Fine Arts, library, French doors, fireplaces, chef’s kitchen with wet bar, parking for four, partially enclosed patio, strolling garden, parquet floors, cedar-lined closets
Agent: Sharon Castle, McGuire Real Estate, (415) 351-4628
*Estimate based on 1.3% of asking price.