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This Beaux Arts-era masterpiece from the early 20th Century has been seamlessly transformed into a stunning contemporary residence with beautiful transitional finishes complimenting the dazzling architectural backdrop of Albert Farr, one of San Francisco’s legendary starchitects of the era...
The magnificently-scaled public rooms are wonderful for the grandest of occasions. A large eat-in kitchen with terrace, a family room on the lower level stepping out to the garden, and a spectacular pent-room leading to the 360 degree view roof terrace provide amazing spaces for causal everyday indoor/ outdoor dining, lounging and entertaining while enjoying scenic vistas of the Bay, City and Golden Gate...
Nestled in the heart of Pacific Heights amongst magnificent mansions and stately consulates this spectacular residence sits closely next to the trend-setting boutiques and popular restaurants of Fillmore, Union and Chestnut Streets, as well as to some of the world’s most beautiful parks & beaches, all in close proximity to some of the City’s leading independent schools. This elegant home provides a quintessentially San Francisco lifestyle in one of the City’s most sought-after and vibrant historical neighborhoods- just a short drive to the world-class tech and finance hubs of SoMa & Fidi, and enjoying easy access to Marin & the Wine Country.
-7 bedrooms, 6.5 baths plus formal dining room, library, two family rooms, pent-room, laundry room, eat-in kitchen with terrace and kitchenette on upper level
-8 car concrete garage
-Elevator to all four living levels
-9,190 square feet of living space as per graphic artist; buyer to independently verify
-5,623 square foot corner lot; 52’ X 112’
-Level step-out garden with lawn on the lower level, step-out terrace from the kitchen on the main level, and 360 degree view roof terrace off the upper level
-Views of the Bay, Golden Gate, Alcatraz, Angel Island, Marin Headlands, Palace of Fine Arts, Fort Mason, East Bay Hills & Salesforce Tower
-6 security cameras, can add more up to 9
-AV and other systems powered by Sonos
-Recent upgrades include 17 new double thick laminate windows along Scott and Vallejo Streets, and a steel moment frame added during the kitchen remodel
-Air conditioning on top level
THE MAIN LEVEL
- The bright and airy large-scale entrance foyer provides a warmly welcoming and elegant entrance into the residence. Modern designer touches are seamlessly juxtaposed with herringbone parquet flooring, exquisite acanthus leaf and rosette molding, Neo-classical style pediments above the doors including the decorative carved wood and glass doors to the dining/ family room
- The modern eat-in gourmet chef’s kitchen has been artfully reimagined for a transitional contemporary aesthetic, while paying homage to the rich architectural heritage of the residence. Features including a stainless Wolf oven, convection oven, 5-burner range with restaurant-style hood, paneled Sub-Zero with two freezer drawers, built-in-pantry, and Carrara marble counters backsplash and island make this a chef’s dream, ideal for whipping up an haute cuisine dish or a causal meal. The large eat-in area and step-out deck looking out over the lushly landscaped garden and the sparkling waters of the Bay in the distance are perfect for everyday day dining or lounging over a cup of morning coffee or evening drinks. Off the kitchen is a mudroom off the side door, making a perfect secondary casual entrance into the home
- The elegantly proportioned main living room enjoys picturesque Bay, City and Fort Mason views, and features herringbone patterned flooring, built-in speakers, an exquisite marble surround fireplace, and triple crown molding topped with a super-high coved ceiling punctuated by a stunning 3-dimensional decorative frieze. The fresh and airy colors combined with the extraordinary architectural details provide a stunning backdrop for any design aesthetic- from a classic Park Avenue-style to a transitionally modern or contemporary decor
- Perfect for formal as well as casual entertaining and everyday living, the huge formal dining/ family room is highlighted by soaring ceilings, a beautiful fireplace, and dentelle molding
- A warm and cozy paneled library with embossed walls enjoys a beautiful fireplace, built ins, and a Venetian plaster ceiling- perfect for a TV/ homework room or office on the main level, or for relaxing drinks before or after dinner
- The architecturally glamorous Grand Staircase ascending to the upper levels is punctuated with a double landing and lit up with giant rippled glass and carved windows
- A super-chic powder with marble sink and elevator to all levels completes this level of the residence
- The spacious and elegant primary suite includes a sitting room/ den or 7th bedroom/ nursery with fireplaces in both rooms, plus a white Carrara marble primary bath with basket weave floors, classic porcelain sink and tub, and a glass shower. A large walk-in closet plus a huge dressing room with built-ins and extra sink complete this luxurious space.
- The 2nd bedroom on this level also enjoys a fireplace and lovely views of the Bay, Alcatraz, and Angel Island
- A cozy 3rd bedroom also features fireplace and garden out looks
- The 2nd marble bath has a separate shower and tub and views toward the City
- A bright and airy South-facing laundry room is outfitted with side-by-side LG washer/ dryer, marble tiled flooring, abundant cabinet and counter space, and a large sink
- A large landing brightly lit with a large skylight connects all the spaces on this level and makes for a perfect play or work out area
- A few steps up from the landing is a spectacular pent-room with stunning views of the City and Bay- from Salesforce Tower to The Golden Gate Bridge and everything in between- a perfect spot to enjoy an evening drink by the fireplace while enjoying the world-famous vistas.
- The magnificent roof terrace enjoys 360-degree views of the City’s most iconic landmarks- from one of its newest, Salesforce Tower’s iconic evening light show- to some of its most historic- the Golden Gate Bridge and the Palace of Fine Arts. The sweeping world-class vistas also include the Presidio Park, Angel Island, the Mediterranean-style slopes of the Marin Headlands, the St. Francis Yacht Club and the sparkling waters of the San Francisco Bay- truly an incredible spot to enjoy panoramas of evening sunsets, holiday fireworks, the yearly Blue Angels air show and seasonal yacht races.
- The upstairs family room with cathedral ceilings is equipped with a kitchenette featuring paneled Bosch dishwasher and a Profile fridge with ice maker and water dispenser, and granite counters- wonderful for a casual dinner and TV night with friends and family
- A very large 4th bedroom enjoys soaring coved ceilings, charming dormer windows and extensive built-ins, and the cozy 5th bedroom also has a dormer window and built-ins
- The 3rd and 4th marble and tiled baths on this level service the bedrooms and public areas.
- Featuring a large skylight, 2 built-in desks and shelving, the bright office with adjoining Yoga alcove/ storage area completes this level of the home
- The huge family/game/media and gym room is a fabulous flex space for entertainment, games and working out while enjoying serene outlooks to the lushly landscaped garden with the Bay as a glittering background. A wonderful adjoining spa bath with separate water closet and a gym-sized marble steam room with shower and bench is perfect for after an indoor/ outdoor workout door work out, yoga or massage
- The lushly landscaped garden surrounds a level lawn and enjoys scenic vistas of the Bay, Fort Mason and the East Bay Hills as a lovely backdrop. The wonderful patios are perfect for outdoor lounging and dining, as well as enjoying postcard views of the Bay during the day and the twinkling lights of the City at night.
- Just steps down from the garden is the massive 8 car garage- perfect for an automobile collection as well as additional storage, and a gardener’s side entrance also services this outdoor area
- The winery-style wine cellar is a vinophile’s dream with wet-bar and dishwasher, two tasting areas, gorgeous antique French-style marble counter and hardwood floors throughout.
- The 6th tiled bath with walk in shower is en-suite with the 6th bedroom
- The AV and electrical room completes this level of the home
Prominently situated at the corner of Scott and Vallejo Streets, and reminiscent of an Upper East Side Beaux Arts-style townhouse, a Parisian villa in the tony 7th Arrondissement, or a mansion in London’s posh Knightsbridge, the instantly-recognizable façade makes this residence one of more iconic residences in one of the world’s core luxury enclaves- San Francisco’s Pacific Heights. Layered over the modern interior décor are the extraordinary original exterior and interior architectural details- gracefully re-imagining the home for a 21st century lifestyle while paying homage to the incredible historical provenance.
THE ARCHITECT & THE HISTORY
Albert L. Farr was born in Omaha, Nebraska, but spent most of his childhood in Yokohama, Japan, where his father had been assigned by the U.S. Government to assist the Japanese in the installation of a modern postal system. The family returned to the United States and moved to the Bay Area in 1891. Farr received his early training as a draftsman in the office of architect Clinton Day, beginning in 1893. After a brief spell as a furniture designer, he returned to architecture as a draftsman for the Reid Brothers. In 1897 he opened his own practice and he obtained one of the first State architectural licenses issued (A180) in August 1901. Like his contemporary Edgar Mathews, Farr is often associated with the craftsman style of rustic city house, with its exterior typically covered with brown shingles. The work of Ernest Coxhead and Willis Polk was initially influential to Farr, but he was not afraid to experiment and extend the genre.
Several examples of Farr’s earliest single-family homes remain in Pacific Heights, including 2714 Broadway and 2714 Divisadero (both from 1900), and the subject of this article 2660 Scott, on the corner of Vallejo, which was designed in 1901. That same year he also designed 2858 Vallejo; followed in 1902 by 2419 Vallejo and 2175-81 Pacific (4 flats, now converted to condominiums); 2801 Broadway, 2737 Vallejo, and a remodel of a Victorian house at 2310 Steiner in 1903; the adjoining houses at 2881 and 2891 Vallejo in 1904; and 2400 Vallejo in 1905. Just across the Presidio Avenue dividing line between Pacific Heights and Presidio Heights are two of his most famous shingled Craftsman houses, next to each other at 3333 and 3343 Pacific, dating from 1902.
2660 Scott is characteristic of a classically designed Georgianstyle home with a lot of elaboration. The entrance, which is recessed within the body of the building, is framed by a classical order composed of a segmental arch pediment, a frieze, and an architrave supported by Corinthian columns. To the right of the entrance is an extension of the house displaying a 12 ft. tall window with an arched top and a modillion in the keystone position. Corinthian pilasters frame this window and curved, interlaced muntins hold the individual panes of glass. This window, along with a triptych of similar windows on the south side, illuminates the gracious entry hall and the staircase which connects the first two levels. The main level of the home features a library, a formal living room, and a very impressive formal dining room with a grand terra cotta marble fireplace and a ceiling with a distinctive scroll molding.
The first owners of 2660 Scott were Harry Babcock and his wife, Katharine Roosevelt Babcock. She was a cousin of President Theodore Roosevelt and he was the son of Massachusetts-born William F. Babcock (1820-1885), one of San Francisco’s earliest millionaires and a president of the Spring Valley Water Company. Katharine Babcock died in 1926 and, after Harry died in 1930, the house was left to Helena Stoney Brown and Katharine Duer Stoney, relatives of Harry Babcock. It was sold to the parents of the prior owners in late 1937, so, in essence it has been in the ownership of just three families in its 100+ year history! Some of Albert Farr’s original plans are still in the house.
In 1909 Farr moved his office to 68 Post, where it remained for the rest of his career. He lived with his wife Margaret and daughter Marion at 2528 Union in San Francisco, just down the hill from 2660 Scott, and later in Berkeley, Piedmont and Oakland.
By 1910, Farr’s work owed less to the local precedent of Coxhead and Polk than to the English arts and crafts movement popularized in the Bay Area by Bernard Maybeck. Some of his post-earthquake work in Pacific Heights includes 2950 Pacific (1907), 2659-61 Green (1911) and 2649 Green (1916).
Spacious public rooms and high ceilings are a common element of Farr’s homes. Less obvious is that he made the third level of a house very usable. In many homes of the vintage designed by his contemporaries the third level was generally an undeveloped attic, to be finished off later by subsequent owners, often with limited success.
In addition to San Francisco, Farr’s work can be seen in many Bay Area communities, especially Belvedere and Piedmont. His most famous project was Wolf House - a rustic fantasy (including redwood logs with the bark still intact) for author Jack London and his wife Charmian in Glen Ellen, Sonoma County. Two years of planning and a lot of construction work went into this 15,000 square foot house, but tragically it burned down before completion on a hot August night in 1913. Arson was suspected at the time, although a 1995 forensic examination of the ruins, a study of the plans, and a careful reading of contemporary accounts of the work which had been completed to that point,concluded that the fire more likely resulted from the spontaneous combustion of linseed-oil soaked rags which had been left in the unattended house. Unfortunately, it was under-insured and London could not afford to rebuild it. The ruins can still be seen in Jack London State Historic Park.
In 1922 Farr took on a New Zealander, Joseph Francis Ward, as associate architect, ultimately making him a partner in the firm of Farr & Ward. They designed a number of houses in Russian Hill, Sea Cliff and St. Francis Wood. Some of their significant Pacific Heights work from their long association includes 2570 Jackson (1923, now the residence of the French Consul-General), 2310 Broadway (1927), 2520 Pacific, (a 1930 rebuild of a 1905 Bliss & Faville design and the 1997 University High School Decorator Showcase house), 2574 Broadway (1932), and 2550 Pierce (1941). Farr & Ward were also responsible for other modernizations of older houses, including 2699 Filbert and 2130 Vallejo (both in 1936).
Albert Farr died on July 12, 1947 at his Piedmont home after a long and distinguished career...
© David Parry