140 Clarendon Avenue
Perched atop Twin Peaks in Clarendon Heights, this contemporary residence is surrounded by eucalyptus and redwood trees, creating a private and peaceful zen enclave on the slope of Mount Sutro. The house is cut into the hillside, allowing for spectacular views of the valley below, and out to the water, Alcatraz, Angel Island, Bay Bridge and the downtown skyline. The unobtrusive view from the street of a low structure encircled by trees belies the feat of modern architecture within. At its core, it embodies the harmonious placement of a naturalist’s retreat in a modern metropolis.
Entering through a translucent glass door, you find yourself on a landing looking out at the San Francisco Bay over the trees. To the left is the garage, and a walkway made of sustainably harvested ipe (a tropical hardwood) creating a bridge between the entrance and main house, bordered by custom-designed and built stainless steel railings. Designed by Regan Bice Architects, the main home offers warm beechwood flooring throughout and stylish fixtures and finishes. Through the front door to the main home, the foyer has recessed lighting overhead, a large coat closet, and a chic powder room around the corner. To the left, past the dining room, the space opens to a dramatic great room, with soaring ceilings and a striking 20-feet stainless steel center kitchen island that stretches across the length of the space. The living room is flooded with light by a large clerestory window to the north and windows on the back wall, and glass door open onto a balcony, with views of the downtown skyline and the Bay. Minimalist touches are throughout, including floating vanities and cabinetry, sliding pocket doors, floating walls without baseboards, trimless window frames, and a Lutron lighting and heating system that can be controlled remotely. Much of the detailing is stainless steel, and the overall layout conveys a sense of seamlessness – creating spaces you can walk into and feel a certain level of comfort.
The kitchen is delineated by the center island, which is constructed of custom beech cabinetry and stainless steel countertops. Appliances include a 4-burner Gaggenau cooktop with griddle, double ovens, Subzero refrigerator, Miele dishwasher, stainless sink and oversized stainless hood. On one end of the island is a built-in breakfast table, seating six and facing the expansive glass opening to the view of Angel Island and the water. Adjoining the kitchen is a side area with appliance storage, shelving, a wall of custom cabinetry, and a corner pantry. The entertainment space and kitchen seamlessly flow into a fabulous formal dining room, with a vertical window facing foliage, an open cutout overlooking the main stairwell, with recessed lighting overhead. At the other end of the floor is a gorgeous office, with a wall of custom-built-in shelving and a wood-burning fireplace.
Downstairs are three bedrooms and two bathrooms, including the thoughtfully-designed master suite. Every window facing west overlooks the forest of eucalyptus trees that surround the property, creating an indoor/outdoor feel. The master suite faces north to the view and is separated from the rest of the floor by a pocket door. At the entrance is a large dressing area, including double closets, banks of built-in drawers, and floor-to-ceiling cabinets. The master bathroom is adorned with Bizassa glass mosaic tiles, for a spa-like feel, and has a separate toilet compartment and an airy steam rain shower that’s enclosed with acid-etched Bendheim glass, as well as a double custom granite sink, floating oak vanity, and a Soaking tub by Kohler framed by a bay window, looking over the trees to the Bay. This is the ultimate place to relax and unwind, surrounded by nature and serene outlooks.
Stepping down to the master bedroom, the large picture window comes into view, offering those same Bay outlooks as well the full downtown skyline. There are two additional large bedrooms, one with a beautiful view to the north, as well as a laundry room with side-by-side Whirlpool Duet washer dryer, countertop, and shelving. From the laundry room is an entrance to a custom built ipe deck, which leads to the ultimate in spa-like luxury – a private sauna hidden amongst the trees!
Down the main stairs, a mezzanine room can serve as a lovely music room, sitting room or den, and leads to a landing overlooking the rec/media room. This large space has high ceilings, in-wall speakers, and an attached utility and storage room. Glass doors lead out to a deck with magnificent views, and stairs down to the garden. The garden is separated into two halves: one side is landscaped with Japanese-style greenery, and the other is decked around a hot tub. The backyard is surrounded by a wall of tall bamboo landscaping, allowing for additional privacy, and is equipped with irrigation, exterior lighting, and five exterior cameras. Across the walkway is a separate guest suite recently designed by Building Lab, which adds an additional bedroom and bathroom to the residence. Making efficient use of the space, the suite features custom built-in beech cabinetry, beechwood flooring, a Murphy bed, and a moving wall that can hide the kitchenette or disappear into the walk-in closet. The kitchenette includes a stainless undercounter refrigerator, 2-burner cooktop, and sink, as well as wall-hung cabinets and floating shelving. The bedroom is situated so that the occupant can lie in bed and look out at the forest, and the bathroom is in the northeast corner opposite the walk-in closet, with gray tile, a glass-partitioned shower, and stylish fixtures.
A two-car garage completes the picture, with two additional spaces on the parking pad, a rubber floor and built-in storage. This highly sophisticated home is a sanctuary nestled amongst the trees in peaceful Clarendon Heights. The combination of incredible architecture, modern amenities, and elegant urban design, plus an expansive layout and sweeping views, makes this architecture award winning residence truly one of a kind.
In the central part of San Francisco, north of Twin Peaks and east of Mount Sutro, lies Clarendon Heights. Boasting incredible views of both the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges, Clarendon Heights is also home to a wide spectrum of architecture. Tudors and villas blend comfortably with sleek modern homes in a neighborhood that's very well kept. Some of San Francisco's famous hills also reside here; no need for a health club membership. Just take a brisk walk around the neighborhood, use some of the convenient hillside stairs, and enjoy the views. Primarily a residential community, its hills presented a challenge to builders, but the opportunities for views inspired them to persevere. Many of the original dwellings still remain, giving the area an eclectic feel.