830 El Camino Del Mar: Front Gate

While 300 Sea Cliff is withdrawn, 830 El Camino Del Mar is listed around the bend. And if you’ve always wondered what’s behind that great wooden gate, here’s a chance to peek inside (and if you’ve actually been inside, here’s a chance to tell your tale).

830 El Camino Del Mar

Sure, $18,000,000 might seem a bit pricey for only two bedrooms (and under 4,000 square feet), but “approved plans” for a 3,500 square foot “penthouse level” are included. Our estimated cost to actually affect said addition on this particular home? Priceless…

UPDATE: By way of a plugged-in sleepiguy, a bit more background (“for sale in 2002 for 9 million”) and the story.

UPDATE (6/26): From another plugged-in reader: “I know this house and [had] spoken with this owner decades ago. Since 1998 he has put it on the market 11 times, each time with a [high-end/profile] realtor at an inprobable price.”

36 thoughts on “Behind The Great <strike>Wrought Iron</strike> Wooden Gate At 830 El Camino Del Mar”
  1. Wow, really F’in cool. Now *that* is what I’m talkin about!!
    And I’m not going to let the outrageously inflated price tag worry me since, let’s be real, I couldn’t afford it at 1/9th the price!

  2. “18 mill for THAT?! The only thing good about it is the site. They can keep their 70’s box.”
    For a change, I couldn’t agree with you more. Although I am a very long way from being in the market for this, the house looks way outdated even though the location is amazing. Moreover, what’s with that cheezy carpet in the living room? The $18m must be a joke!

  3. “Tipster,
    For a change, I couldn’t agree with you more.”
    Too bad it wasn’t me.
    Could whoever posted that recognize that we try to keep each other straight here by using unique names, and know that that one is taken. Thanks.

  4. why does the agent claim frank lloyd wright designed the building? wasn’t that old bustard dead by then?

  5. John Saar is a pretty renowned agent in Carmel and Monterey high end real estate. Sort of like Barbara Callan here. I am surprised to see this listing here in SF though.

  6. Apparently, 6% of an $18 million listing does not buy you decent home photography or non-obvious fish-eye usage.

  7. It is still nicer than the Sea Cliff property that was listed for more. I like it and find it stylish and pleasant, but no way do I have $18 million on hand–especially not for mere housing.

  8. Good question, paco. Misuse of Frank Lloyd Wright’s name is rampant. In this case there is a link, but it is stretched thin to the point of “inspiration”, and yet the overal design and proportions do seem to have retained some of Frank Lloyd Wright’s characteristic signature. From the SFGate article in the update link:
    Frank Lloyd Wright did a preliminary house sketch for this site that’s shown in “Frank Lloyd Wright’s Drawings” by Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer.
    Though the actual house is not as futuristic as Wright’s design, it still takes advantage of the site.

  9. As far as this being a Frank Lloyd Wright style home I can say as a former IL resident having toured many Wright homes that this sucker doesn’t even come close. You can argue that there are some Wright inspired elements but it definitely feels more like a high end take on an Eichler then Wright.
    But the real question is, who the hell puts down white carpet in an ‘Atrium’ with a retractable roof (or is the flooring something else that just looks carpetish from the virtual tour)?

  10. hey, check out this line from the listing agent’s webpage:
    “John works closely with his full-time gifted graphics designer, meticulously manipulating and modifying each picture, each element of an ad before it is finally approved.”
    photoshop expert? maybe some of the other SF local agents could subcontract their dirty work to him.
    but seriously, does any pro-agent blogger on this site want to guess how much the independent seller’s agent stands to take home on the sale of this property? And is there any way in the world you can justify this level of income for what he’s doing?

  11. Resp,
    I wish someone would Photoshop out your comments. The whole anti-realtor shtick is tired and old. Give it a rest!

  12. Although a bit oudated, this house is nicer than the Sea Cliff house – at least it has some character. The views are absolutely beautiful. Removing the carpeting would have helped considerably, especially the off white carpet in the Atrium – off white carpet never makes sense!

  13. 94114 – No, I’m the anti-rent control guy. You must have me mixed up with someone else who’s always anti-agent. I’m only anti-overpaid agent (in cases like this). But an educated response to what I think is a valid question would be more useful to everyone here.

  14. The sales commission is usually between 5 and 6 percent of the selling price. The 5 or 6 percent is split between the selling and listing agents and then a percentage of that goes to the respective real estate offices. So if the agent is on a 70% split, he or she will get 70% of 2.5 or 3 percent of the selling price. I have no idea what kind of split the agent is on.

  15. yes. i was figuring worst-case 4.5% commission on a $14m sales price is $315K for the selling agent since he owns his own brokerage firm and only has to share the spoils with the buyers agent. crazy.

  16. It is crazy but this place may not even sell so he or she gets nothing. You also have to figure that this is a highly unusual price point. How many places sell in this price range in one year?

  17. Well, did or didn’t Wright design this?
    “Frank Llyod [sic] Wright was commissioned to design an estate on this 25,526 sq. ft. ocean view site. A private driveway leads to this remodeled contemporary home.”
    I’m curious about those deco fixtures and the stone fireplace — could be original, though clearly that’s an Eichler era remodel. I wasn’t aware of anything other than the Marin Civic Center that Wright designed here. Curious.
    And for $18 mil, the agent could have hired a proofreader and a stager.

  18. Michiko, Wright also designed the Xanadu gallery at 140 Maiden Lane. If you have ever been inside, it has a curved ramp that leads to the second floor. This was the inspiration for the Guggenheim design.
    As for the Wright connection to this house, it’s tenuous at best.
    Wright was commissioned to design a house on this site. The drawings for it are remarkable. But this house is not Wright-designed or Wright-inspired. It’s not Wright – it’s just wrong.
    Isn’t there some architecturally-obsessed billionaire who will tear down this pile and build the Wright design in its place?
    Please. I’ll even chip in $100 of my own money.

  19. Examiner reported that this sold for ~$3 million in 1997, and that it sold pre-auction in 2004 (http://www.30daysandgone.com/homeauctions.com), but there’s no record of the 2004 sale. Owners then (and maybe still, if the 2004 sale didn’t happen) said they owed too much – perhaps they will be real ‘motivated sellers!’ this time around?

  20. jlasf,
    thanks for reminding me about Maiden Lane. From a quick search, I found 6 other Wright residence designs in the Bay Area that I hadn’t known about.
    Any source for the drawings relating to this house?

  21. Frank Lloyd Wright did NOT design this house. He did two complete designs for two completely different houses for this site for Mr. and Mrs. V. C. Morris, his clients for the shop on Maiden Lane. Both designs were quite extravagant and too expensive for Mr. and Mrs. Morris to build – one at the bottom of the cliff, and one at the top of the cliff. The plans are well published in various books on Wright. Later, he did a design for a house for the widowed Mrs. Morris in Marin, but when Wright died in 1959, the scheme was abandoned.
    Actually, this house which did get built is a fine modern house, one of the few houses along the San Francisco Pacific waterfront that actually takes advantage of its site. However, the square foot price is outrageous.
    As a realtor once said to me, “Don’t forget, there is the ‘greater fool’ theory.”
    I seem to remember that when this was on the market a few years ago, they said it came with plans for a substantial vertical expansion.

  22. I know this house and have spoken with this owner decades ago.
    Since 1998 he has put it on the market 11 times, each time with a profile high end realtor at an inprobable price.
    It is an unbelieve location and it is a classic 1965 built home, with art deco fixtures inside.
    Nice house. I always think of it as the candy mans house.

  23. I think the overall design is rather charming, but the light fixtures and carpet are quite fugly. But I’m totally ignoring the price in making both those observations. The FLW design for the house above is stunning. But ffs, I can’t imagine what the property would go for had it been built.
    I guess I’m the only one who’s totally offended by the music that goes along with the virtual tour on this listing.

  24. So that’s what a Wright plan on the site would have looked liked.
    I’ve never been inside but the existing 1965 design has good bones. Looks like the deco light fixtures were added to pump up the Wright connection. A tragic mismatch.
    Kaya, I’m offended by not only the music but the agent’s whole listing. If only.

  25. I’ve been in it and its amazing. It is on the market for 11.5 million now. You might think that thats crazy but have you really been it. I agree with the article this house is priceless…

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