Once upon a time, the neighborhoods west of Van Ness were full of Italianate Victorians with boxy frames but classy facades.
Then 1906 came along, and most of those Gold Rush and post Gold Rush-era homes went the way of so much rubble and kindling. Another sacrifice to the gods of tectonic upheaval.
But the prize home at 467 Oak, aka the Russell Warren House, endured; in fact, it has lasted through almost everything the city can throw at it since its original construction in 1875. (Or so; dating the place more precisely is tricky business.)
That makes it legitimately one of the oldest intact homes in San Francisco. Its latest challenge: Finding a buyer for the $1.95 million it listed for today.
Actually, the historic Oak Street home is a duplex, and if you’re a bit shy of a bit shy of $2 million, each individual unit is up for $979,000. The entire building last sold in 2004 for just over $1.1 million.
Russell Warren is the name of a noted New England architect most famous for his Greek revival homes in his native Rhode Island and surrounding states.
But, according to the paperwork filed in 1983, when the Russell Warren house made it onto the National Registry of Historic Places, we’re not talking about the same Russell Warren here.
Turns out an architect with the exact same name was working on the West Coast at the exact same time, responsible for three dozen San Francisco homes, mostly in this style
In fact, this was Warren’s own home at time. The ‘83 assessment called it “one of the best examples in scale and detail” of its style, and “recalling the glory of modified Renaissance and Mannerist Italian palaces.”
A more contemporary assessment—via the upstairs unit’s Airbnb ad for $125/night—notes its trendy Hayes Valley location and the old school charm of its chandeliers, crown moldings, and marble fireplace.
(Although someone did away with the lower flat’s marble hearth in the ‘40s. But since one generation’s practicality is another’s retro charm, the brick one they built in its place doesn’t look so bad either.)
And if potential buyers are looking for one additional plum, the listing notes that city law allows unique leeway for condo conversion of two-unit buildings.
Of course, the historic status of the old place would make that job order a bit harder to fill. But where there’s a will, there’s often a plausible route to entitlements.