SELLERS: Mark and Alison Pincus
LOCATION: San Francisco, CA
SIZE: 2,875 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Just in case any of the children somehow missed the many discussions in all the other property gossip blogs and websites that previously discussed the following matters…
It was already a week ago now that the ever-industrious kids at Curbed in San Francisco revealed Zynga founder and CEO Mark Pincus and his design maven lady-mate Ali(son) Pincus had not just one but two multi-million dollar properties in San Francisco listed on the open market.
The fast-moving, sometimes controversial, and much-hyped–some might say over-hyped–Zynga makes (annoyingly addictive) digital games for smart phones and social networking sites like Facebook. Just about anyone over the age of two and under the age of 50 has probably been sucked in by a Zynga-made game such as CityVille, Mafia Wars, and the Scrabble-like Words With Friends, the very game that recently got actor Alec Baldwin in a ridiculous brouhaha with American Airlines. Anyone who reads the newspaper (and/or receives the news and “news” from any other media outlet) surely knows by now that last week Mister Pincus lucratively (but not, arguably, entirely successfully) took his four-year old Zynga public with a stratospheric 8.5 billion dollar market capitalization that has more than a few people wondering if Dot Com Bubble Number Two (or Three) might have already and somewhat quietly crept up on its zenith.
Ali(son) Pincus, a foodie and “digital media veteran” according to her corporate bio, is the co-founder and Chief Partnership Officer of One Kings Lane, a curated and by-invitation-only online retailer of home day-core that sells colorful decorative doo-dads and hoo-has that look pretty much like just about everything pictured in listing photographs of both the Pincus’s San Francisco properties.
The larger of the two Pincus properties, which we’ll address later, is a five-story mansion with a tech tycoon-sized asking price of $8,900,000. The other, a (too) highly-stylized and completely-contemporized spin on a classic 1940s San Francisco bungalow, was first listed in late September 2011 at $2,189,000 and endured a price chop in early November to $1,970,000. According to listing information on the real estate juggernaut Redfin, a purchase is “pending.”
Property records indicate Mister and Missus Pincus will likely, depending on the final sale price, take a substantial loss on the property. They bought the attached house in the quiet and upscale Cole Valley ‘hood in August 2005 for $2,850,000. A couple quick flicks of the busy beads on Your Mama’s bejeweled abacus shows that’s $880,000 more than the current $1,970,000 price tag not counting carrying costs, renovation expenses and real estate fees.
The three-story Cole Valley crib, situated on a fairly steep street in a quiet and frequently foggy enclave in the shadows of Mt. Sutro and Twin Peaks, was originally built in 1940 and totally modernized in more recent years. Current listing information shows there are a total of 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms in 2,875 square feet however a closer inspection of the floor plan provided with online marketing materials (above) shows in its current configurations there are, really, only two practical bedrooms, a smallish one awkwardly situated just off the kitchen and the penthouse level master suite.
At the street/entry level an actual driveway that will park one car stretches past a tiny front yard of precisely clipped boxwood bushes to a single car garage with smoked glass and aluminum doors, direct entry to the house, a small bay perfect for refuse and recycling bins, and an exercise wall, whatever that is. We don’t probably care to exercise in the garage–or anywhere else for that matter–but we certainly understand the highly desired and rare urban luxury of both a private driveway and an enclosed garage space. That’s two off-street parking spaces, puppies, in a city where just about anyone, even a well dressed woman, a shaggy bearded Burner, or a naked queen in the Castro, will shank a sumbitch over a long-term parking spot in one of the tightly packed residential neighborhoods that make up the center of The City.
Anyhoo, a long corridor links the foyer to the garage and to the rear end of the lowest level of the house that includes a laundry room large enough to garner the approval of our not-easy-to-please house gurl Svetlana, full but windowless bathroom (above lower left with horizontal chartreuse-striped walls and disharmonious white marble tile work), and a sizable, unconventionally-shaped room that opens through wide banks of windows and French doors to a small deck with sunken spa. Listing photos show the room (above lower right) inexplicably doing double duty as both a guest bedroom and a family room outfitted with built-in entertainment niche and ceiling-mounted projection television system with wide screen that magically drops from the ceiling at the touch of a button. To each their own–and even though we think this house is totally and completely staged from the One Kings Road warehouse–it seems counter-intuitive to put a bedroom set in with the family room stuff and it seems unrealistic that most homeowners/occupiers of a near-two million dollar home in San Francisco would devote this much prime interior real estate to a guest room in a large but hardly huge house.
The open plan main living and entertaining spaces on the second floor stretch from the front clear through to the back of the house and have the blondest of blond wood floors throughout. A triangular reading nook protrudes from the living area in to the surrounding tree tops and a fireplace anchors the room with inset flat screen mounted above the firebox and a bevy of built-in book shelves, display cases, and storage cabinets on either side.
The “formal” dining area at the center of the living/dining/kitchen space has a built in buffet that also functions as a guard rail for the stair and opens directly into the well-equipped u-plan kitchen complete with built-in breakfast banquette covered in an impractical white leather. Or, at least we think it’s leather. It could be pleather or perhaps some other sort of high-cost/low-maintenance artificial material. We don’t know and listing information isn’t specific. Sleek, steely blue-grey flat-fronted cabinets topped with what looks like marble (but may be another material entirely) ring the sky-lit kitchen that’s finished with a glimmery, high-glam black tile back splash, vintage-style pendant light, and good quality stainless steel appliances that include a four-burner baby Viking-brand range with commercial-style hood.
Just off the kitchen, behind where the refrigerator is situated, a short hall connects to the smallish but adequate if not-optimally located bedroom with street view and smallish but adequate closet. Missus Pincus pulled out all her decorative stops in the separate three-quarter hall/guest bathroom designed and styled with a glass enclosed shower, high-gloss black and frosted glass vanity cabinets, ebony counter tops, and walls sheathed in lurid, lustrous and decidedly decadent jet black faux-crocodile skin wallpaper. It’s not a statement Your Mama would make but we suspect there are untold numbers who pee with glee over this sort of thing.
A glass-railed floating staircase climbs from the living/dining area to the third floor, an light-filled, window-lined space entirely devoted to the master suite (above) and complete with commodious bedroom. A curvaceous, wave-like arched wood ceiling opens the room up to long banks of over-sized windows that provide panoramic northern-plus views that encompasses distant but knee buckling glimpses of the famously vermilion towers of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Unfortunately the master bedroom’s view of the Golden Gate is over the disturbingly eye-level and alarmingly-close roof top terrace and access walkway that clings to the top of the neighbors house. Yes puppies, this means as long as the electronically-controlled shades in the Pincus pad are not drawn, the neighbor and/or any of their guests could, at any time of day or night, climb the steps to their roof terrace and in one direction take in a quintessential San Francisco view of the Golden Gate Bridge and in the opposite look directly and unmistakably into the whites of your damn eyes while you do the usually private things people do in their bedrooms: sleep, dress, fight and fornicate.
This egregious and obvious lack of privacy in the master bedroom, however, did not deter a buyer since, as already mentioned, the property is in escrow. The master suite also includes a walk-in closet and a small but airy and almost all white bathroom with pitched ceiling, separate terlit cubby with window, surprisingly small shower stall, and an entire wall of windows and sliding doors that open to one of the master bedroom’s two private terraces. Anxious privacy seekers may find some relief in that the lower portion of the window in the shower and the sliding glass doors in the main part of the bathroom were frosted, obscuring everything below the shoulders or thereabouts.
Back on the main/middle floor a slim cantilevered deck off the living room/reading nook narrows over to a spiral staircase that curls tightly down to the aforementioned wee deck with sunken spa that extends off the lower level media room/bedroom. The fully fenced and landscaped low-maintenance backyard, undeniably generous for San Francisco or any other urban center, steps down from the spa deck to a meandering dining patio joined by stepping stones to second, cochlear terrace with fire pit ringed with a towering stand of bamboo, a couple of slender white birches and a trio of dignified redwood trees.
Stay tuned chickadoodles, we’ll shortly have more about Mister and Missus Pincus’ much larger and more grand but stylistically similar mansion in Presidio Heights ‘hood currently and since late October 2011 listed at $8,900,000.
listing photos and floor plan: Sotheby’s International Realty