Tasty Views, Cool Beers, And Designer Living, 600 Feet Above Ground At One Rincon Hill

Sometimes you just need a little real estate photo porn to get you through your day. Below are some images from One Rincon Hill (for those wondering, One Rincon Hill is the gigantic tower…some would say phallic symbol… that kisses the west end of the Bay Bridge off/on ramps), which were recently provided to us from the Design Above All Event (something we HIGHLY…no pun intended…recommend you go experience) that is currently taking place on top of the San Francisco skyline (~600 feet up to be more precise).

The views are incredible and the two & three-bedroom condominium homes (ranging in size from 1880-1957 square feet, and price of $3.1 and $3.6 million), which were designed by Carver+Schicketanz, of Carmel; Eugene Anthony and Associates, Ltd., of San Francisco; Labexperiment, also of San Francisco; and Donald Joseph Inc., of Sacramento, are quite nice, to say the least.

To see what the building looked like before, have a look at our photos from the topping off ceremony, but don’t forget to have a look at the photos below.

Living Room Design by Carver+Schicketanz or Carmel, California:

Unit 5301 Living Room Design by Labexperiment of San Francisco:

Unit 5302 Family Room by Eugene Anthony and Associates, Ltd., San Francisco:

Unit 5304 Living Room by Donald Joseph Inc., Sacramento, California:

Unit 5904 Living Room by theFrontSteps red tape ducking photog dawg prior to completion of the building (notice the Bay Bridge in the background), and post sucking back a tasty lager:

Unit 5904 Views captured by the photog dawg and his cohort that night! (That’s Millennium Tower in the foreground, not yet topped off.)

Beers on the balcony too…the balcony that didn’t have a railing (blurry image suggests shaking in fear of falling 600 feet to our death like idiots!):

And the elevator we took back down…duh! Obviously not that night!

“Design Above All,” inspiration for luxury high-rise living 2009, is open to the public Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., and Saturdays 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. through Nov. 1, at One Rincon Hill, 425 First St., San Francisco. Tickets are available at the door or online at www.sfdesigncenter.com. Admission is $20 (includes valet parking) and benefits three local charities: PAWS (www.pawssf.org), Food Runners (www.foodrunners.org) and At the Crossroads (www.atthecrossroads.org). Group rates available and must be arranged in advance. For more information, call (415) 490-5820 or visit www.sfdesigncenter.com

Father Of tFS Client Saved Michael Jackson From Flames During Pepsi Commercial Shoot

Click to hear audio of interview

How ’bout a little celebrity (postmortem) juice to take you to the weekend. As it turns out, my client’s Dad actually saved Michael Jackson during the hair catching on fire incident, when filming the Pepsi commercial. Certainly, many of you remember that. My client has been contacted by Access Hollywood and the list of (gossip) media sharks contacting his father goes on and on.

Rest assured, my client bought a modest house in a modest neighborhood and all fire code safety regulations have been met. I’ve also advised him not to stand too close to the BBQ on the patio when cooking with flames!

Have a good weekend. Here’s the dirt from TMZ:
Fire Capt. Blames Director For Jackson’s Burns

…and “the harrowing, never-before-seen footage of the singer’s 1984 Pepsi commercial accident” from US Weekly:
Click to be taken to video

In Real Estate, Size Does Matter

We have been a bit M.I.A, but our readers certainly haven’t lost their need to send us tips. Please keep them coming! (thefrontsteps@gmail.com):

I think the size of a dwelling is an important matter, especially in San Francisco. Would you start a thread? [We can try.]

‘I know my home is too small when ….’
and the twin post
‘I know my home is too big when …’


Okay, we’ll indulge first…I know my home is too small when I walk into a port-o-potty and think…”Wow! This is HUGE!”


On the other hand, I know my home is too large when I yell at my kids to “go to your room”, and they ask me where it is, and I can’t answer.

Your turn….

Walkabout: Los Altos Edition, and a $7M price reduction [theFrontSteps]

Battle Royale: San Francisco’s Infinity Towers Versus Some Peninsula Townhouse

We haven’t done a Battle Royale in a while, but we thought this recent email could not only shed some light on the steals and deals being thrown out by The Infinity to get their Towers sold, but also a bit of debate as to whether it’s better to put your money in San Francisco, or Peninsula real estate.
From the reader (edited slightly for syntax):


Love your blog!

I would like your opinion…

I’m looking to purchase either a new 2 bedroom townhouse in the peninsula or else a 1-2 bedroom condo at The Infinity. I will be purchasing with 4-6 other people for The Infinity (volume discount, we each get our own place, 3 people will be in the $800K -1.4mil range so i think we will have a lot of bargaining power), or trying to find a good discount for a new townhouse in the peninsula. Which would be the better investment?

I’m [f*cking young!], make $110K a year, first time home buyer, would probably rent out a room at either the condo or the townhouse, and prefer not to do any remodeling.


Go Giants or go home! San Francisco all the way. Way better investment in our eyes (we are biased), way better location, and at your age, you’ll likely have a helluva lot more fun. Just make sure we get an invite to the housewarming party (have you heard about our fresh lime margaritas), and there is no lifeguard on duty when we cause a ruckus in the pool! Marco…Polo…Fish Outta Water!.

Thanks for the email, glad you like the blog. We like you.

The Fun Continues: “It Need Renovated”


REO. Price Reduce from $399,900 Contractor special. It need renovated. Nice and Quite, one bedroom one bath on the ground floor,installed security system [as opposed to….?]. SOLD AS IS condition. Pre-qaulify loan letter from Wells Fargo Bank. HOA including the earthquake insurance.

Sometimes it’s just fun to poke fun isn’t it?

There is a story here though. Last sale January 2006 for $410,000, in contract today around $299,900.

1348 Scott #B [MLS]

Vote Now! San Francisco’s Sexiest Realtor Contest 2008 Is ON!

[Update: It is is 5:48pm PST, and we’ve received a few emails regarding the polling. Yes, the provider (PollDaddy) was down for maintenance today, and yes the voting appears to not be working (performs differently than what you might be used to), but votes are tallying. Thena Luu DiNapoli has a commanding lead at the moment, and to reiterate, votes ARE tallying.]

It has arrived! The moment we have been waiting an entire year to experience again…voting for San Francisco’s Sexiest Realtor 2008. Thank you to those that submitted your nominations, and thank you, in advance, to our participants for having a little fun with us. Voting will be open all week (until Saturday 12/20 at 11:59pm), and the winner will be announced Monday 12/22, so contestants have plenty of time to gather crucial votes.

What’s at stake? The title of San Francisco’s Sexiest Realtor, and this year…the grand prize Real Estate Sucks” t-shirt (for the losers a “Real Estate Sucks” t-shirt ;-) .)

One big change this year is we’re using Poll Daddy for voting. You can check back to see how the competition is unfolding by clicking on the “view results” link within the poll, and your voting privacy is totally, 100% guaranteed. However, we’re going to disable the “view results” feature on Thursday (you know, build a little suspense).

So…without further adieu, we present the nominees for theFrontSteps’ Sexiest Realtor Contest 2008.

[See daily updates at the bottom of this post.]

Women first (of course):

San Francisco's Sexiest Realtor 2008 (Women)

Please vote for your favorite (sexiest) female Realtor using this poll:

…and of course, the men:

San Francisco's Sexiest Realtor Men 2008

Please vote for your favorite (sexiest) male Realtor using this poll:

Are we going to see another battle of brokerages like we saw last year, or simply a battle of individuals? Time will tell. Thanks for participating, and thanks for hanging out on theFrontSteps.

Our apologies to Tiffany Combs. Your nominators failed to send a link to a picture and we couldn’t find you anywhere! (Time for a lesson in SEO.) Apologies also to the contestants that didn’t get nominated in time. We’ll see you same time, same place next year.

[Update 1: Voting is reaching a furious pace, with over 3000 votes tallied so far (men and women), Miyuki Takami holds a commanding lead, although she lost it in a late day strike yesterday from Lee Bender. Thena Luu DiNapoli a close third and Jennifer Martin right behind. For the men, Brendon Kearney is hitting it out of the park, followed by Ron Whitney in second, and defending champ Mark Choey in third. Brother Kevin Kearney not fairing so well in last place…you gonna take that sh*t!
Voting multiple times for the same person is not necessary and one would argue an enormous waste of your time. ;-) Check back for more updates. ]

[Update 2: The number of votes continues to surprise (even though we know some of you are voting over and over again). So far the women have received 4116 Votes, the men 2946. Miyuki Takami still out front for the women with 1350, Lee Bender close behind in second with 942, Thena Luu DiNapoli closing in with 792, and Stasi Martin bringing up the rear in last place with 7 votes. For the men Brendon Kearney in front of his brother (guess he isn’t going to take that sh*t after all) with 883 votes, Kevin Kearney with 439, Ron Whitney in third with 419, and defending Champ Mark Choey slipping into 5th! Bringing up the rear for the men is Kevin McLeod with 11 votes. Voting open all week, so lots of time for things to change.]

[Update 3: Wow! What a turn of events yesterday. The women continue to outpace the men in regards to number of votes cast (5921), but the men are gaining (5522), and Brendon Kearney got clobbered off the top spot first by Milko Encinas (who we’re informed works for Herth Real Estate), and now Rob La Eace is crushing all of them. (He must have a good campaign manager.) Defending champ Mark Choey slipping, slipping, slipping off the charts, where last year he dominated. As we said to Kevin Kearney, “you going to take that sh*t?!”

For the women, Lee Bender has unfortunately slipped from strong second place position, down to third despite her email comment leaked to us saying, “Dontcha think it would be cool if an old bag like me actually won?” Thena Luu DiNapoli is clawing her way to the top (currently in second), and Miyuki Takami hanging on for dear life in first place.

We were going to disable the “view results” feature today, but have decided not to. Instead, we have allowed you to see the number of votes cast, not just percentages. And in response to many inquiries regarding the ability to vote multiple times, see our Editor’s Note in this comment. Basically, in order to allow more than one person to vote from the same computer (think offices where multiple people share the same computer with the same IP) we had to enable this function. Maybe next year we’ll kill it, but the playing field is even regardless, and some people just have more fanatic fans than others. Nothing we can do about that. That’s all for today, polls close Saturday night at 11:59pm. Good luck to all!]

[Update 4: This will be the last update before going quiet on y’all and watching the votes ourselves. Yup, very soon we’re disabling the “view results” and will keep a close eye on them without letting you in on the action. At this moment, both races (men and women) are coming down to just two. Mia Takami in first by only 20 votes…actually, we take that back, it’s back up to a 400 vote lead, wow! For the men, Rob La Eace in a commanding lead over Milko Encinas, but if Mia can get 400 votes within the hour, anything is possible for Milko, and even Brendon who is only slightly behind Milko in third. There have been more than 24,000 votes cast, which is truly remarkable and we can only pray there aren’t a handful of people just voting over and over again. Our website traffic would indicate the contrary. Thanks for all of the participation, we’ll announce the winner on Monday. Voting stops 11:59pm tomorrow (Saturday 12/20). Good luck! Don’t forget to get a T-shirt on your way out.]

[FINAL UPDATE: Milko Encinas wins for the guys, Mia Takami for the girls. Thanks for participating and having a little fun!]

[Editor’s note: As always, comments are currently open, but in order to preserve the integrity of this site and our contestants, we’re keeping a close eye on comments. That means, please keep comments civil (as in you wouldn’t talk like that in front of your mother, grandmother, or children, and you’d be embarrassed as hell if we made your identity public next to what you said, because it is very possible to do so. Thank you for your cooperation.]

The contestants and their sites:
Thena Luu DiNapoli; Linda Ho; Christiane Gigas; Sheldon Rilliet; Jenn Davis; Shawn Case; Casey Fulford; Carrie Buchanan-Goodman; Elle Ghandi; Helen Dias; Par Hanji; Ron Whitney; Erica Elsner; Marika Fishman; Alejandro Quenta; Maximillian Armour; Staci Martin; Miyuki “Mia” Takami; Kevin McLeod; Frank Nolan; Rob La Eace; Milko Encinas; Wendy Vandersteen; Chris Lim; Emily Dunn; Cindy Lynch; Jennifer Martin; Lamisse Droubi; George Limperis; Ron Sebahar; Marla Moresi-Valdes; Mark Choey (defending champ); Lee Bender; Colm Glass; Kenneth Kohlymyer; Marina Gershberg; Herman Chan; Brendon Kearney; Kevin Kearney; Oliver Burgelman.

Best of San Francisco Real Estate

So I finally got off my ass and did another post for my Examiner Column. They asked us to to a “Best of” piece, and naturally I did “Best of San Francisco Real Estate”. Here it is, verbatim:

I’ve been asked to write a little column about the "Best of" San Francisco real estate, and I honestly have to chuckle. Asking me, a person that makes a living off of representing clients and writing about it, to talk about the "best" is a little bit tricky. I’ll try to put my ego aside and not tell you the best source for San Francisco real estate information is sfnewsletter or my blog, and the best agent in the city is yours truly. Instead, I’ll look at this with realistic eyes. So, here goes…my list of the Best of San Francisco Real Estate:

Best Source(s) for real estate information (there isn’t just one): –Public Access to the Multiple Listing Service. Yes, it’s totally available and totally free. Many agents are able to grant you even more detailed access through services like Clean Offer, so ask your agent about that too.
-"San Francisco Business Times" for all the "big" news and developments in the commercial, office, and new development world.
-Your Realtor. This is not a plug, but honestly, there are many sources for information online and in print, and they ALL lean to the negative, even the Examiner. Talk to your Realtor, and if they aren’t an annoying sales person or have ulterior motives, they should be able to give you the most accurate scoop.

Best Real Estate Agent in the city:
-If you look at transaction volume and caliber of sales, my pick would have to be Barbara Callan. She crushes it out of the park and it is quite impressive. Malin Giddings would be a close second.

Best looking agent in the city:
…well, that contest has come and gone, but the next is just around the corner…

Best Broker Website:
Even though I work for Zephyr Real Estate, I look at all of the sites out there and their site is hands down the most thorough and easy to navigate. Give it a look at Zephyrsf.com.

Best source for real time market trends (graphs):
Altos Research (This is a report I get for my sfnewsletter, they have multiple reports available to the public and agents. Free for buyers/sellers if your agent sends them to you.)

Best list of San Francisco Foreclosures:
Property Shark (Through sfnewsletter) They also have a ton of detailed information to help in your property search, so check out their site at PropertyShark.com

Best new technology real estate website:
Shock! It’s not Zillow. My pick is Trulia.com.

Best High Rise New Development Project in San Francisco:
Millennium Tower

Best Neighborhood to purchase in and safe-guard against a failing economy:
Pacific Heights

Best Neighborhood to find an Eichler or any other mid-century gem in San Francisco:
Diamond Heights

Best map to be on the same page as your Realtor and know the districts when searching the MLS:
Reineck and Reineck

Best online real estate voyeur (street view) site:

Best Neighborhood to test your recent seismic retrofit:
The Marina

That’s all I can think of at the moment. If you have any other "bests", feel free to share in the comments.  Or check back as I’ll likely add a few more before all is said and done.