Home of the Week: 175 Chestnut – A Stunning Yacht of a House on Telegraph Hill

September 23, 2019

Working in the real estate industry is always exciting and there are many facets that keep it interesting. One of our favorite aspects is the weekly Broker’s tour held every Tuesday; a whirlwind of activity where we endeavor to view as much of the best inventory as we can. Mostly we choose properties to view with specific clients in mind, but we always try and include 1 or 2 compelling homes that have captured our interest, whether or not we currently have a client for it.

175 Chestnut Street is such a home. One of a kind, designed by one of the Bay Areas leaders in Midcentury Architecture, with views you could only find in San Francisco.

William Wurster, the buildings architect, helped define what has been called the Bay Region style. His homes are known for displaying a sense of space and openness, and this home is no exception. This house, in particular is reminiscent of a ship, with Teak kitchen counters, round porthole windows and might be considered late Art Deco merged with early Mid-Century. It’s views, in combination with the nautical styling, give you a sense of being on the water and in this home you could never forget you are in San Francisco.

Originally built for the Wrigley chewing gum heiress, this home has been painstakingly restored by its current owners. The staircase connecting the four floors curves gracefully with art deco style and is bathed by the skylight above. Each floor is also accessible by the home’s elevator, from the 2-car garage, to the penthouse level. The home also displays a playful but understated nautical theme, with porthole style windows making several appearances on different levels.

The home’s 3 levels of living space are all flooded with light, and each level also offers outdoor spaces as well as a fireplace. Wurster’s preference for natural materials is evident in the beautiful mahogany counter tops in the buildings 2 kitchens and 1 of the bathrooms.

The second floor feels to me like an atelier: you could imagine Wurster himself working on his architectural drawings in this space. It currently serves as a well-appointed guest apartment with living area, bedroom/office combination, kitchen and full bath. Here, you access the ground level patio and garden from the living area. The garden itself has a pedigree; it was designed by Thomas Church, a renowned pioneer of modernist landscape architecture.

The third floor houses the family’s sleeping quarters, with a generous master suite, 2 additional bedrooms and a half bath. The uniqueness of the site allows that, even though each bedroom has abundant windows with stunning views (even the master bath!), there is no lack of privacy. The balcony on this level is accessible from the master and 1 of the other bedrooms and overlooks the garden below.

The penthouse level offers spectacular living and entertaining spaces, with bay and golden gate views, a stunning sunny deck off of the kitchen, and a terrace that spans the width of the building. The perspective here evokes the nautical again, as if this home were a streamlined ocean liner, anchored at port in the gleaming bay.

This unique home was something to behold, and we appreciated the opportunity to experience it ourselves. If you are interested in viewing the home, Jennifer and I would love to arrange a showing for prospective buyers. Let us know here.

By: Michael Bilger BRE# 02083632

Listing and photos courtesy of Louis James Silcox, Jr. of Compass