CFAH

176 Palo Alto Avenue Living
The website and listing for 176 Palo Alto Avenue have been updated to include the full photography we’ve been anxiously awaiting. And yes, the house is a stunner.
∙ Listing: 176 Palo Alto Avenue (3/2) – $2,280,000 [176paloaltoave.com] [MLS]
176 Palo Alto Avenue: A Meditative Charles Warren Callister Design [SocketSite]

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Jim

    Great to see the professionally taken photos are up. This is indeed a magnificent house, and appears not to be a fixer at all.
    I had the privilege to have Charles Warren Callister as a studio master in architecture school, and have always enjoyed following his work.
    He clearly understood both the spatial imperative of the modern movement and the romantic imperative of Maybeck and Wright. Plus he understood wood like no architect since the Greene brothers.
    This so far surpasses the other houses for sale in this mid-century enclave it’s a joke. 100 Palo Alto is a tacky builder-built many times remuddled mess…that only has going for it a view that looks to be like an airplane.
    Incidentally, there are two other Callister houses on Palo Alto – the house at the far most eastern end, which I believe from Google earth is 34 Palo Alto (which I have not been in) and 230 Palo Alto the second house from the western end, which was in great original shape until the last flip which tore out the meticulously detailed kitchen and baths and replaced them with tacky plumber designed 2000’s remuddles.

  2. Posted by Salarywoman

    I’m in love.
    This is the best house I have ever seen on SS, bar none. Beautifully proportioned volumes, meticulous and consistent detail, flooded with light. Can’t tell about the layout. I wish they had posted a floor plan. But I suspect it is consistent with the logic and clarity I see in the photographs.
    I just hope whoever buys it doesn’t try to fix it up!

  3. Posted by bgelldawg

    It’s OK if you want to live in an airplane hanger.
    Anyone trying to sleep in that bedroom is going to be at the mercy of anyone in the living room. It may be a great artistic design, but it isn’t practical for a family or anyone wanting privacy in their bedroom.
    The agent used a telephoto lens for the view pictures. The view is not nearly that close.
    Makes me wonder what else the agent exaggerated.

  4. Posted by been there

    cool looking house, but how practical. Agreed with other poster…who wants to live in a loft bedroom with no doors to keep out the living room noise, and vice versa…
    I also only see one public sitting room, so no den or office for 2.2?
    dont forget the house two doors down sold less than a year ago for 1.6 that was not as cool but had equal views, a deck, and an interior courtyard. that was a good family house for 600k less

  5. Posted by Kurt Brown

    The 66 Everson site is still up:
    http://www.openhomesphotography.com/66Everson/
    And another one in Los Altos still has a web site
    http://tours.tourfactory.com/tours/tour.asp?t=558514

  6. Posted by justme

    I can see how it’s not bound to be for everyone, but it’s pretty darn nice. There are a few things I’d want to touch up. Fixer is not the word I’d use, though.
    166 is some 1300 sqft smaller, and went for $1.7M. ~$900/ft compared to the ~$700 asking for 176, which also has a bigger lot. I see both a deck and an office in the new pics, too. I don’t think it compares poorly at all.
    The loft thing is sort of odd, but you have to admit that it wouldn’t be an awful view to wake up to.
    I’ll stick with my first opinion. It won’t be waiting too long for a buyer.

  7. Posted by jlasf

    Yes, beautiful house.
    But also a reminder that no matter how “modern” a kitchen may be when it’s built, it will look dated at some point in the future.
    Does the kitchen need a total remodel?

  8. Posted by ex SF-er

    I also think it’s of the most beautiful homes ever placed on SS, and one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen.
    the lofted bedroom is somewhat unfortunate but it appears that the other bedrooms are not lofted. It may be worth it to simply use the lofted bedroom as an office or TV room or something and use an accessory bedroom as the primary bedroom.
    some people would want to redo the baths, but I think they’re fine. the kitchen can be remodeled but will cost 2 arms and 3 legs. You’ll need a woodworking expert to go in there and match the current stain/style for the new kitchen. Difficult to do but I’ve seen it done well before.
    I’ve seen some architects/designers remodel places like this with euromodern or other very different styled kitchens with the idea that it is better to not try to match to a period but instead contrast with the original feel for the house. I think that’s inadvisable.
    I would love to see this place in person, and agree that a floorplan would be nice.

  9. Posted by Kurt Brown

    You could just pop in new appliances in the kitchen and leave the rest alone. I think that would be a nice compromise update that would strike the right balance.
    As for the bathrooms, I wouldn’t change them either.

  10. Posted by eddy

    I’d just paint all the wood work white, add some stainless appliances, euro kitchen, wine fridge, white marble baths and chop some pillows and flip this baby.

  11. Posted by Jim

    Why do people with children assume everyone has children and needs a “family” house? According to the latest ABAG/MTC estimates, 17.3% of the households in San Francisco have children under 18. For many of the other 82.7% of the households, the open bedroom will be glorious.

  12. Posted by anon

    and a fine staging by Arthur McLaughlin… Regardless the snarky comment by eddy, some designers actaully try to honor a homes architectural heritage.
    and this is one of the most stunning properties on the market right now – imho

  13. Posted by Catherine

    I generally despise anything built after 1910 but this is just stunning and I love that the kitchen hasn’t been torn out and ruined with something out of sync with the style of the house.
    Love eddy’s comment.

  14. Posted by Been there

    Jim – that is an interesting g stat that Id never heard. Thanks
    I would guess, however, that more than 50% of single family homes are bought by people with children or planning to have children. So a home with an odd floorplan will lose half the potential market.

  15. Posted by ex SF-er

    Why do people with children assume everyone has children and needs a “family” house?
    I personally never assumed anything about children. I’m a DINK and wouldn’t use that space as a bedroom. this setup makes it difficult if one spouse wants to sleep and the other wants to stay up, of if one spouse wants to sleep and the other wnats to entertain guests.
    this setup works best for single people, or for people who have super deep sleeping habits, or for couples who are super in-synch with their schedules. (same bedtime/waketime every day).
    it doesn’t work for people like me (doctors) who are on call or may have to be up and about when our spouses are sleeping. Other people with atypical sleep/wake/entertaining schedules: Googleaires and Facebookers.
    I can just imagine me trying to field pages overnight with the wifey trying to sleep in the loft, or me trying to sleep during wifey’s code-a-thon. ugh.
    there is a reason why sleeping chambers are usually set away from entertaining space. (noise and light). just as there are reasons why we don’t put a toilet in the middle of the kitchen. It’s not just for families.

  16. Posted by Fishchum

    Beautiful, but I question the practicality with the loft bedroom. I’d want to see it in person.
    Is there any outdoor space? I’m always wary of “view” photos such as these that don’t show the deck or the backyard in the photo to get a true sense of what the view is like.
    Anyone know how difficult it would be to switch in a gas range? Isn’t it supposed to be fairly difficult?

  17. Posted by dogboy

    Those interior photos are great! I can actually smell the lemon pledge. I think I lost 10 pounds just looking at the long vertical lines of the living room!
    One beef with “view” photos here (and on many view home listings) How about showing the view as it appears through a window or from a deck. (i.e. window frame or bushes in the foreground.) These view shots could have been taken from the roof with a telephoto.)

  18. Posted by tipster

    Eddy,
    Don’t forget to lower the ceilings to add square footage for your flip.
    This place will be pending by the end of the week. It’s impractical on so many levels, but someone will buy it and deal with it.
    If I wasn’t certain this place would be 20 percent less in two years, i’d buy it myself.

  19. Posted by meep

    great house and i don’t even like modern houses.
    a ferrari is not a good family car but it is more desirable than a toyota minivan.
    this is house is like a ferrari :a work of art.

  20. Posted by john

    “Bandwidth Limit Exceeded”
    Now look what you’ve done.
    [Editor’s Note: Yeah, we’ve been known to have that effect. Try the MLS link instead.]

  21. Posted by sfrenegade

    Pictures no longer available because they hit their bandwidth limit. Did they use high pixel-count photos or was it that popular?

  22. Posted by lyqwyd

    I also think this may be the most spectacular house I’ve ever seen in my life!
    Regarding the loft bedroom, I agree it’s a weird layout for a bedroom, but there are 2 others, at least 1 of which appears to be quite large. I’d use the space for something other than a bedroom.

  23. Posted by Jim T.

    Don’t touch that kitchen! It’s perfect as is.”Modernizing” with god forbid stainless, granite, glass tile, stark white or a hideous restaurant stove will only descecrate the integrity of this magnificent house.

  24. Posted by sfrenegade

    The pictures are on MLS too, didn’t realize. It’s not my bag necessarily, but it looks amazing. Is the price so low because this is a 3/2 and not for everyone?
    Btw, how is this a fixer, as our illustrious fluj stated in the other thread? I could see someone wanting to do some work in the kitchen, but don’t most people do a little work on furnishings in this price range?

  25. Posted by sfrenegade

    Jim, the house that shows up as 34 Palo Alto on Google Street view is actually 100 Palo Alto, which was featured on SocketSite:
    https://socketsite.com/archives/2010/06/100_palo_alto_an_exmayors_midcentury_view_manse_returns.html
    Google didn’t go into the culdesac at the end, apparently. The house at the far eastern end is 10 Palo Alto:
    http://www.redfin.com/CA/San-Francisco/10-Palo-Alto-Ave-94114/home/1525831
    And next to that is 20 Palo Alto, aka 314 Twin Peaks, of which you could see pictures here:
    http://www.redfin.com/CA/San-Francisco/314-Twin-Peaks-Blvd-94114/home/1072951

  26. Posted by eddy

    haha, SS Broke the agent website: Bandwidth Exceeded

  27. Posted by kthnxybe

    I agree with Kurt Brown and Jim T. Maybe try to put in a gas cooktop, but I wouldn’t want the kitchen gutted and remodeled.
    And yes, I would think most people would use the loft as a television/sitting room space instead.
    It’s a gorgeous house. *sigh*

  28. Posted by kthnxybe

    I’m thinking the real problem with the kitchen is the lighting, if those are the old fashioned flickering tube fluorescent bulbs. You might have to change the fixture to accommodate the modern, less ugly kind, or come up with something clever to fit into the space where the lamps are.
    Does someone who knows about this stuff want to weigh in with what they’d do?

  29. Posted by Jim T.

    One more reason to *sigh* – current property taxes are $2,600 annually… the benefits of staying put in California if you bought several decades ago. Prop. taxes will be about 10x present after sale.

  30. Posted by curmudgeon

    Wow, this makes the 5 other 3 million $ plus homes in Clarendon Heights look like Sh#%. Maybe that’s why they’re all dropping their prices.

  31. Posted by Salarywoman

    Updating a kitchen like this and not totally ruining it takes a lot of research and thought as well as input from skilled members of the trades. Here are some first thoughts.
    1) I’d prefer to replace the original electric cooktop with an induction unit rather than gas or another conventional electric cooktop.
    2) The lighting can be updated fairly easily by swapping out the old fluorescent fixtures for ones that take the newer tubes with high CRI. This can be done throughout the house.
    3) Swapping out the other appliances (and the cook top) will mean some fiddling around because the cutouts will most likely be different. I’d lean towards replicating the original cabinetry as much as possible.
    4) The existing refrigerator is a bit of a problem as it seems quite small. Perhaps an additional under counter refrigerator or some refrigerator drawers can be incorporated into the original design.
    5) At a minimum the counter tops need new grout. Since I don’t particularly like tile countertops I’d consider replacing them with a sheet material such as caesarstone or maybe even corian as long as I could match the original color. But perhaps it’s best just to match the existing tiles and retile them.
    6) The vent hood will probably need a new fan and a larger intake vent but I certainly wouldn’t change the design. Though I might see if there is a way to uplight from the hood as well as downlight.
    7) I’m not sure if the Delta kitchen faucet is original. It might be. Delta has made that model for a long, long time. But I’d consider replacing it with a Vola, even though the design probably postdates the house by a year or two..
    8) The bathrooms could probably do with a similar kind of re-do, keeping the design and colors as similar as possible. I’d probably opt for Vola faucets here too – and Toto toilets.

  32. Posted by Conifer

    Why does it need to be updated?
    It seems comfortable as is.

  33. Posted by Salarywoman

    Only because old appliances tend to break down a lot. And then you have to wait around for the repair person. Who has to special order parts. Which take a week or so to arrive. Otherwise, I totally agree.

  34. Posted by pacific

    An induction cooktop is a very personal decision. I wouldn’t do that, as it locks you into particular cookware. It’s also a bad decision for resale down the road. Just get a nice Miele.

  35. Posted by kthnxybe

    Pacific, I see what you mean, but I think this house is forever home material – if you feel the need to replace the cooktop anyway, might as well get what you want.
    I agree with the rest of Salarywoman’s ideas. I don’t like tile either but I would probably just leave it unless it was in disrepair. I hadn’t realized it was so simple to swap out the fluorescent tube fixtures, good to know.

  36. Posted by JIm

    Thanks Sfrenegade. You reminded me one can go on the Planning Department’s website for parcel information. The 2 other Callister’s on Palo Alto are 70 Palo Alto (not been in)(and definitely not 20 Palo Alto which has no resemblance to a Callister) and 230 Palo Alto (a poster child of how not to remodel kitchens and baths.)For one example how to update a kitchen, the William Wurster house on 21st in Dolores Heights that was on here a month or so ago is one good example. While I thought the Wurster kitchen was fine, if small, the last owner opened it up to the dining room. How? By hiring a great architect, Craig Steely. They tore out a gorgeous but very small 1960s enclosed kitchen and replaced it with a gorgeous very high end today’s kitchen that most people would not know is not original. The architect respected the original architect and did what Bill might have done were he still alive. Not cheap, but the only way to adjust a work of art if you must.

  37. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    “Only because old appliances tend to break down a lot.”
    It depends on the appliance. Dishwashers get cranky by ten years and it is a near miracle for one last twenty without a major repair. A gas stovetop on the other hand can last a century if not mistreated.

  38. Posted by sfrenegade

    “It depends on the appliance. Dishwashers get cranky by ten years and it is a near miracle for one last twenty without a major repair.”
    My parents recently replaced a 20+-year old washing machine, so it’s possible for the machines to last longer, but the efficiency of new appliances compared to cranky appliances is impressive too. I remember that I had an older top-load washing machine with a yellow tag that estimated it would cost $350/year to operate, but my new front-load one had a yellow tag that estimated less than $20/year. It also has a barely perceptible difference on my house’s water usage because it uses so little water. The yellow tag assumes you will do 8 wash cycles/week, which I have no chance of hitting, so it’s likely even less than $20/year. The new washing machine is also a ton quieter and holds more clothes.
    Even so, I was surprised by how quiet even a 10-year old dishwasher is compared to the ones I remember. I probably wouldn’t replace one just to replace it unless I had a reason (e.g. too loud, doesn’t clean plates, etc.).

  39. Posted by A.T.

    To sfrenegade’s point, refrigerators can last forever but the new ones are far more efficient. We replaced our perfectly functioning fridge two years ago because the ice maker (not used) kept loudly “thumping” no matter how it was set. Estimate to repair was $300 and decent new ones are available for under $600. When we replaced it we saw an immediate drop in our monthly electric bill by about $30.

  40. Posted by DeniseB

    To each his own. That living room would feel like sitting at the bottom of an elevator shaft to me.

  41. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    This house would be impractical for us for a number of reasons, most of them already stated.
    Is there an open house this weekend? I will cycle on up there if it does not rain.
    It is interesting to see the same Japanese architectural influences that had an impact on the Arts and Crafts movement reflected again in this house. I really like it.

  42. Posted by Geo

    Stunningly beautiful house. I would replace that cooktop, but leave the oven (assuming it worked ok and should) and leave the rest of the kitchen alone. You can tell from some of the pics the wood needs some TLC, so that can run some money to make it look right and consistent, and I would want to make sure that roof is still water tight. stuff like that could make this more of a fixer than the pics let on. But man what a design. I am jealous.

  43. Posted by Geo

    Showing contingent now…

  44. Posted by tipster

    One of the prettiest homes: Sold. 1.925. $355K under asking.

  45. Posted by [anon.ed]

    1.9+ for a semi-fixer in an area 5 location, and you’re crowing. Too much.

  46. Posted by tipster

    Semi fixer?

  47. Posted by [anon.ed]

    Yeah, saw it, it’s a 2 br 1.75 ba home (and this is a record price for such a home) in need of numerous systemic upgrades and some of the wood needs swapped out. Beautiful structure though. No doubt about that.

  48. Posted by [anon.ed]

    You know what, I think that’s wrong. I think it’s a 2.25 ba actually. Don’t know why they left it like that in the MLS. The point is that all the other ~2M 2 brs up there were ones that the buyers meant to blow out to try to turn into ~4M places. This one, thankfully, is not that. You’d be foolish to mess with it architecturally.

  49. Posted by roger

    Plenty of interesting houses up there, and a nice mix of architectural styles. Here is another recently sold fixer.
    http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/album.php?aid=33746&id=160055790681393

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