Ahhh….neighbors. You love ‘em. You hate ‘em. You can’t live in San Francisco without ‘em, and you certainly can’t easily remodel a home to today’s standards without opposition from them. Check out what just hit our inbox:
If, for some reason, you can’t see the letter, which we uploaded as an image, we’ll go ahead and tell ya what it says:
Dear Mr. [deleted]:
We are neighbors on Telegraph Hill who will oppose any changes to the building envelope at [deleted] owned by [deleted] in this historic district of Telegraph Hill. While the Hill has suffered through renovations in the past, projects such as yours have occurred with extreme environmental changes. Water drainage issues on Telegraph Hill regarding a nearby project created unfavorable slope instability–buildings have been lost and a large boulder ended up on Sansome Street. Additionally, neighbors on [deleted] and surrounds are tired of construction noise and delays in completion caused by projects such as yours. A recent project took 10 years and is still incomplete.
Telegraph Hill is a historic district whose character depends upon building ownership which understands the value of building enhancement not as building expansion, but building enhancement as careful care in keeping up properties in their historic dimension. We find your application to be sadly ignorant of the need to abide by the common elements vital to the neighborhood and its character.
Your proposal to enhance the property needs to be cognizant of the historic preservation without additional elevation or facade changes in all directions. Projects like yours have been attempted in the past and have turned out badly.
While we many of us may be away during your pre-application meeting time, please understand that our opposition is unconditional.
Your neighbors and friends on Telegraph Hill
[Thirteen names deleted]
Just another bump in the road for a developer out there trying to bring a home that has sat vacant since WWII (yes, that long) into our housing stock…before it falls off the hill or gets consumed by the pests and rodents feasting on its rotting self. But Hey! It’s “historic”.
[Update: We're told none of the authors of this letter took the time to actually visit the property at the open house outreach, and none have contacted the developer, or the architect (aside from this letter) to begin a dialogue of constructive or courteous negotiations.]
You gotta love San Francisco and all the righteousness it preserves…
-Telegraph Hill Landslide forces 120 from homes… [SFGate]
-San Francisco Neighborhoods prone to liquefaction…[theFrontSteps]
Is this your style?
Been searching for the perfect Noe Valley Single Family Home that is LEED certified?
Dreamt about having a say in the final touches of your down to the studs remodeled dream home?
If so, I have the home for you. You, meaning unrepresented buyer.
The home pictured is not what is available, but it will be along those lines, and it is in an A++ Noe Valley location. Feldman Architecture and Scott Lewis landscaping, five bedrooms, three and one half baths, two car garage, 3000 plus square feet, and LEED Platinum Certified baby!
You, lucky buyer, would have the oppportunity to customize the paint colors and tile choices (to some extent- within the allowed budgetary guidelines). You can put the finishing touches on your dream home – all as a part of the sale. Seller is NOT selling an incomplete project, he will stay until the end, working with you, lucky buyer, to choose the finishes.
Price around $3,000,000, and as stated…Principals only.
How nice that luck is on your side, simply because you read theFrontSteps today. If only everything in life was that easy.
-Email email@example.com or call 415-254-5351 for more information. Don’t delay.
1. Find the most unwanted wreck of a home (crack house) in a great neighborhood (Cole Valley) and buy it:
2. Document any 1964 Datsuns with a blown motor trapped in the garage for 40+ years:
3. Rip up disgusting kitchens and baths:
4. Go to Haight Street, buy a magic wand, tap it three times, and poof! Datsun gone and property remodeled!
[Notice the marketing remarks? "Two enormous storage areas which can easily accommodate surf boards..." So hip! Don't forget spell check. ;-) ]
5. Slap a new price tag on it…orginally $1,200,000, and now only $1,158,000, throw it on the market as a single family home, or maybe a two unit building, or even two separate TICs, give it a personalized property website, cross your fingers, and hope you can soon see some return on your investment (of time, money, sweat, and sleepless nights.)
It’s that simple…
-43-43 1/2 Downey, $1,158,000, Cole Valley [Single Family Home, Two Unit Building, Tenancies In Common]
Do you ever stand in your shower, let the water cascade down your naked body, and think about how you’d change it (your shower that is) if you could?
Here are a few interesting shower ideas I’ve run across recently in my speccing adventures. Porcelanosa has a bunch of elegant looking shower pans if you want to go the prefabricated route. They start at around $1200, more than twice the cost of something more generic, but so much nicer.
RAS shower pan from Porcelanosa
If you’re going the mortar & tile rout, there’s nothing cooler than a linear drain. Not only because the drain itself is so attractive; it allows for a much cleaner tile installation. It doesn’t have to be cut up into 4 triangles like with a common round drain. Just a clean, unbroken tile floor slanting toward one wall.
A linear drain from Quick Drain:
There are some other good options out there as well, like the “invisible” slot drain. I really like some of these solutions, because they can really add some interest, and make for a very clean installation. Sure these products are a little more expensive on their own, but in many cases are cheaper to install than a conventional round drain tile & mortar shower pan, and they look a helluva lot cooler.
So the next time you find yourself “standing in the shower thinkin’” about all the things you’d change in life, just think about how you could change your shower instead. And if you’re someone that prefers a nice hot bath and a cup o’ tea, lemme know and I’ll give you some options for that too.
-Sven Lavine, San Francisco architect.