From the street, the narrow gray building on Green Street in San Francisco doesn't command attention. Walk inside, and there's no opulent entryway or fancy foyer. But make no mistake, this William Wurster -- designed home is truly one of a kind. And it's now available for just a shade under $4 million.
"His work never really drew attention to itself. It was so simple. He did things in an understated way," co-listing agent Jeffrey Brown says of the local legend. "That simplicity is very hard to achieve."
The noted architect, who died in 1973, was dean of the UC Berkeley Architecture School. He was renowned for creating modern spaces with locally sourced materials.
The home was built in 1940, and nothing was left to chance. Even the pet received special attention. "Wurster did design a doghouse that goes with the house," Brown says. "We have the plans. He didn't want someone to put an ugly doghouse out there. He wanted it to look good."
Doghouse or no, the four-bedroom, 2,442-square-foot home has held up well over the decades. Wurster's creative use of space in the relatively small four-story Pacific Heights home still shines through. The key? The house was designed "with sunlight in mind," Brown notes. The architect oriented the home in a way where "the light warms the room. In the afternoon, it glows."
Each floor features wood paneling and floors that create warmth. There are multiple decks and a garden for an indoor-outdoor living experience. Picture windows and high ceilings create light-filled rooms. A fireplace, built-in bookshelves, and an office with a built-in desk are just a few of the period details found throughout the home.
The kitchen, separate from the family space, has been renovated with Viking appliances, but it looks dated compared to the rest of the house. The cupboards and pantry are original.
The other rooms are timeless works of art. Take a jaw-dropping gander at the pristine living room.
Outdoors, the parklike garden features a winding brick path, benches, and a giant eucalyptus tree.
The lower level includes storage, a garbage chute, laundry, and a one-car garage.
Homeowner John Kirkwood says his aunt and uncle originally purchased the land and commissioned their friends Wurster and landscape architect Thomas Church to "create a house and garden as they would have it." Although he inherited the home years ago, Kirkwood moved in only recently. Now, a change of plans has led him to sell it.
The house combines "formality and warmth," he says. "When people enter the living room for the first time, they invariably comment about the 'park' outside. You would never guess from the street what a treasure awaits inside."