CFAH

201 Buchanan (www.SocketSite.com)
As we wrote about the Nightingale House in October 2007 when listed for $1,895,000 (a month after being purchased for $1,605,000):

It is thought that the Nightingale House at 201 Buchanan (corner of Waller) was built for a former president of the California Pioneers (John Nightingale) in 1882. It is known that it is now San Francisco Landmark Number 47; that it is protected by a preservation easement; and that it was recently home to San Francisco Arts Commissioner and local artist Jo Hanson.

“Hanson came to prominence early in the 1970’s, soon after she moved into a deteriorated but stately Victorian on Buchanan Street. Once she had resuscitated the house into a landmark, she tackled its windy litter-strewn sidewalk. Her personal act of sweeping one sidewalk grew into a celebrated public art practice and citywide anti-litter campaign. Her compiled volumes of urban detritus are recognized as an artistic political tour de force that raised community awareness as it chronicled rapidly changing demographics.”

And while we haven’t been inside [Editor’s Note: we have since] – and the “fixer” designation and lack of interior pictures leads us to believe that it might be in need of some good old fashioned TLC [Editor’s Note: It does] – we’re sure a reader or two has (and might be willing to wax poetic on its potential).

As a reader added in February 2008 after the listing was withdrawn from the market:

For a short time, about two month ago, this house was on the market for rent ($5000). I did call to find out more, but was told that the current owner seemed to have changed his/her mind.

Back on the market in 2010 and asking $1,575,000. As an aside, the sale in September 2007 was marked as “confidential” on the MLS and as such its asking price of $1,749,000 was used for all reporting purposes.
∙ Listing: 201 Buchanan (4/3) – $1,575,000 [MLS]
The Landmarked Nightingale House (201 Buchanan) Hits The Market [SocketSite]
San Francisco Landmark 47: Nightingale House [noehill.com]

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Kathleen

    This has is so odd that only
    the very odd should live here.
    See it.
    I ask all of socketsite to help with
    the power of visualization
    Bad poetry needs its own home.
    And it should be on Waller.
    Lets think Kathleen into this home.

  2. Posted by EH

    does the landmark status mean it will always have to be white?

  3. Posted by Denis

    Doesn’t this basically back up to a lot of section 8 housing? The house is cool, but the location makes a significant investment in restoring this place somewhat questionable.

  4. Posted by LMS

    I am a neighbor. My partner and I are always fantasizing about buying the place (if the price were reduced by $1,000,000) so some jerk doesn’t come in and renovate all the charm out of the place and put a garage and granite countertops in it.
    It’s hard to imagine who will buy this place. It’s grand and elegant on the first floor but there aren’t real bedrooms. The upstairs is a mess and no amount of money would make it really functional. Add to that the location and lack of real yard or garage and proximity to the projects. Somebody might put up with all of those issues for less, but at this price, I don’t see it happening.

  5. Posted by CP

    I am also a neighbor and saw it during an open house when it was previously listed. It was very grand and had quite a bit of potential. It gets a beautiful light, nice views and has nice open spaces. That being said, it needs a significant amount of work. As LMS says, the upstairs would need a major remodel. It also appeared as if the electrical and other major functions need significant investment (it didn’t even seem as if it had central heat). There is also a potential in-law unit too. So…I think this could be attractive for a family but would need to have the price reduced further to warrant the investment it would require to upgrade.
    It is about a block away from some low income city housing. I think once (if) the development at the old UC Berkeley extension school gets going, the corner will be a little more appealing

  6. Posted by Samantha

    This house is a beautiful landmark! That being said at the price that they are asking and with all of the historic preservation easement restrictions (we looked into it the last time it was up for sale) and it is mind boggling to put 1.6 mil into a house that needs completely new electric, has no heat, no kitchen and virtually bathrooms from the 60’s or 70’s filling station. Then add that you have to ask someone else before you do any work including painting on the outside of the house. The upstairs is so restricted with all of the corners and eves that to make it a liveable second floor you would have to raise the roof line which is one of the biggest parts of the historic easement and they can legally take the house away. So I guess in the end if you want to spend about 2 to 2.5 mil especially if you want parking and then have public housing a half block away and then the only views you do have blocked off by a huge new complex that offers no additional parking you have just found your dream house with no real bedrooms. I wandered by the other day and noticed parts of the eve coming down, graffiti on the walls and a sidewalk that will certainly need to be repaired or replaced and the new owner will have to take care of it (you got it the owner doesn’t own it but you are responsible for repairing it in San Francisco and that is a lot of sidewalk). But God I love the way the outside of that house looks!

  7. Posted by StinkyDingo

    I lived around the corner from this house (on Laussat) for quite some time. Every time I walked by I imagined how beautiful it must be on the inside.. and now wish I hadn’t clicked on the images of the interior.

  8. Posted by DrTebi

    Well, somebody must have found his dream house, it sold for $1,536,000 according to Zillow.
    It’s certainly not for everyone, but if you appreciate historic buildings, this is certainly a gem. I have seen the inside when it was for sale, and it was really stunning–spacious, very high ceilings, beautiful woodwork, three fireplaces, a sun room etc. The upstairs however was not developed at all. Yet I don’t think you would have to raise the roof line to make it work–a creative mind can certainly turn that level into a comfortable living/sleeping area as well. After all, this house was at some point a brothel according to historic data, so someone once felt comfortable, ahh, sleeping there…

  9. Posted by P6

    What is this “Historic Data” you speak of? I have thoroughly researched this house and never came across anything to prove that urban legend correct.
    It seems that any crazy Victorian I come across seems to have a story about being a “brothel” during it’s history. How many brothels do you know of?

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