940 Grove in 2010 (

Speaking of San Francisco’s Postcard Row, as the Alamo Square Neighborhood Association noted in December, the buyer of 940 Grove (which sits across the street from 722 Steiner) plans “to restore the house…and replace the existing non-historic addition [along Steiner] with three new single family homes.”

As we wrote last April prior to its sale, “with 940 Grove it’s all about the bones and enviable 125 foot by 137.5 foot lot.”

The plans call for subdividing the existing lot into four smaller lots. The first lot would be a 56’-6” by 125’ lot around the existing home. The remaining three lots would each be 27’ by 125’ lots fronting on Steiner Street….The potential addresses would be 802, 804 & 808 Steiner.

And as a plugged-in tipster actually noted a month ago, “The potential here is simply thrilling (although I’d love to see something wholly modern not a Vic derivative).”

Cheers (and so would we).

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by JimBobJones

    I have trouble believing the NIMBYs would allow this. Not as big a fan of modern as the tipster and the editor, myself, but the idea sounds good in principle no matter what’s done.

  2. Posted by rr

    Okay, I am a fan of modern design and do not believe in preserving every victorian for its own sake, but I’m not sure here is the best place to inject something modern.
    I mean, this place practically borders Alamo Square park, famous everywhere for its painted ladies. If there is anywhere in the city that ought to be frozen in the first decade of the 20th century, it would be here…

  3. Posted by JimBobJones

    “If there is anywhere in the city that ought to be frozen in the first decade of the 20th century, it would be here…”
    That’s actually a good point, rr. There are many times where the historic preservation-types overreach, but this wouldn’t be one of them.

  4. Posted by Anon-eee-mouse

    The developer’s presentation at the neighborhood association called for three rather nondescript, virtually identical, HUGE single-family homes of about 7000 sq/ft each.
    With bay window, of course.
    A lost opportunity, to my mind.

  5. Posted by rubber_chicken

    Hire John Goldman, don’t maximize the envelope, and make 3 exquisite homes.

  6. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Here’s an idea : build 3 houses that are indistinguishable from the century old homes here on the outside. In other words, no “victorianesque” houses, the real thing. Fire up the mills over at Haas Woodworking recreating period detail out of real redwood. No catalog ordered parts.
    The interiors can be as modern as the builder wishes. Let the challenge begin !

  7. Posted by eddy

    This development could greatly enhance this area. I hope it passes.

  8. Posted by kathleen

    Putting modern homes here is equivalent to saying something as pure and noble as Mark McGuires’ home run record was due to injecting illegal drugs.
    Say it ain’t so, permit issuers, say it ain’t so.

  9. Posted by ex SF-er

    I agree with MoD.
    make TRUE victorian exteriors and then modernize it to the hilt on the exterior.

  10. Posted by abc

    The buyer/developer appears to be a real estate agent.
    I think this has a chance in hell of being approved by planning. Not only is it a historic district and a historic property, but it’s one of the most famous skylines in San Francisco. It won’t be hard for the Alamo Square neighborhood association to put up a fight.

  11. Posted by Kathleen

    As much as I hate the idea of modern building being built on this site, that is preferred to Faux Victorian.
    What is a “Faux Victorian” exterior?
    Is Taco Bell Mexican food?
    Are the paintings in the Ritz Carleton lobby lounge, painted by John Singer Sargent?
    Faux is faux.
    Oh no!
    Where art thou fabulous faux Victorian home with low slung sheer glass walled rear ends?
    O brother!
    Period buildings have as much to do with the building materials and trade conventions available at the time a building was built as it exterior look and feel .
    Please ma, no more faux…no no no.
    Join together!
    Hasten the end of the McStinky McMansion era.
    They aught not in the aughts.
    Be keen in the teens!
    Nothing could be worse than modern house with a faux Victorian exterior here.
    The worst of the worst ideas joined together.
    Like Taco Bell.
    Airlift a Chihuahua today.

  12. Posted by formerly%whatever

    For reference, John Goldman was the architect for 926 Grove, a project that sold around 2004.

  13. Posted by radar

    Looks like the new owner was the listing agent on this house. Big spread between list price and sale price. Could that be kosher ???

  14. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Kathleen – If we both have the same idea of a “faux vic” then I totally agree with you. No more Orlando vics please.
    But I’ve seen at least one recently built home that has an exterior stunningly faithful to the old building practices. Built by an owner/builder in his spare time it took forever, but the result was worth it.

  15. Posted by ever12tz

    I thought the city is looking to increase density. Do we really need three more 7,000 square foot homes? Why not build three three flat buildings?

  16. Posted by resp

    Can someone confirm what Radar suggested? Does Edward Barlett (new owner) = Ted Bartlett (listing agent) or are they just close relatives? Either way, this needs to be addressed and this guy needs to be publically skewered if he purchased his own listing. It would be great to hear from the person(s) who came close but didn’t make the highest bid on this property.

  17. Posted by eddy

    Even if that is the case – I don’t see why this is an issue. Free market and owner can do whatever he wants. Maybe he struck a deal with the seller to give some equity on the deal. Would be smart actually.

  18. Posted by resp

    owner can’t accept potentially higher offers that were never presented to him. get it?

  19. Posted by Jim

    The fact that it is located in an Historic District is the very reason it should be the finest modern architecture. Faux Victorian (1) fools no one (2) depreciates the real Victorians in the neighborhood and (3) violates the Secretary of Interior’s Standards. An appropriate modern design would complement the Victorians in terms of scale, rhythm, and materials without aping the details. New additions in Historic Districts should be appropriate to their time and place. Look at most European cities and you can see examples of the layering which makes places vibrant and real, not phony baloney.

  20. Posted by Anon-eee-mouse

    To the best of my knowledge, there wasn’t a “price reduction” notice given.
    Asking: $2,750,000
    Sales price: $2,300,000

  21. Posted by BobN

    An appropriate modern design would complement the Victorians in terms of scale, rhythm, and materials without aping the details.
    I would go one step further and suggest a design appropriate to the location and not a nod to the existing buildings. The Victorian builders built BOLDLY on this park, reflecting the style and technology of the time. This is most apparent on the lower block of Steiner and the eastern block of Hayes. Those were and remain grand homes.

  22. Posted by EBGuy

    Do we really need three more 7,000 square foot homes? Why not build three three flat buildings?
    Totally agree. Highest and best use is not a 7,000 sq.ft. home (during the bubble, maybe, but not now). How about a single garage entrance for all nine units (RH-3 x 3) at the lowest elevation on Steiner. At any rate, its hard to imagine how anything they put there could be worse than that beautiful cement wall.

  23. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Could the posters using the term “Faux Victorian” please clarify what is meant ?
    Is a Faux Victorian :
    1. a poor approximation to the homes built a century ago
    2. anything built today that tries to look like an older vic
    Since I’ve used the term I’ll start. I meant definition #1 above : a fakey cartoonish Victorian looking house made using today’s cheap and quick construction methods.
    However I do believe that a house can be built so it is indistinguishable from the original vics from the outside. It makes no sense to build interiors today that are period-authentic. No-one’s going to walk downstairs in the cold to use the backyard outhouse. They want indoor plumbing which didn’t exist when the original vics were built.
    I’m not saying that constructing faithful neo-vics is a good idea or even economically viable. But it is possible and would be a cool project.

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