2523 Steiner: 4/5/11 (

No, it’s not an underground Fresh & Easy that’s popped up in Pacific Heights, but rather the re-finished façade of 2523 Steiner which plugged-in people saw coming and well before.

Once again, the property which was foreclosed upon in 2009 with no bidders at $2,408,718 cash on nearly $3 million owed is back on the market in 2011 listed for $1,450,000 with possession at close of escrow (i.e., no tenants over which to fret).

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Those colors seem so Fresh and Easy.

  2. Posted by anon

    Go Packers!

  3. Posted by Denis

    Heinous… Hideous… Horrific…
    Was there an open house on Sun? Did anyone go?

  4. Posted by curmudgeon

    does this answer any questions about the proper maintenance of Ipe wood? lol.

  5. Posted by [anon.ed]

    Pretty confusing for the new buyer. It’s like … red light … green light. .. caution. Which one is it? I just wanna pull into the garage!

  6. Posted by noearch

    Yup! I like the color. Fresh, interesting, and not so boring.
    Don’t forget people; for all of you worked up over the color, it’s only PAINT.

  7. Posted by loudnclear

    Still don’t know where the front door is.

  8. Posted by developer

    why god, why?

  9. Posted by observer

    Pac Heights doesn’t do “fresh and interesting” — it isn’t a live/work loft.
    Maybe it is a sales psychology trick — in other words, someone will WANT to buy it so they can re-paint it.

  10. Posted by tony

    Bet I can guess which paint colors were on sale…

  11. Posted by tipster

    Oooh, that reminds me, I’m overdue for my dog’s bile check.

  12. Posted by Jimmy (No Longer Bitter)

    My eyes!
    How do you get into this place? I keep looking for a door to the right of the garage …

  13. Posted by anon

    Appears to be new scaffolding on the building to the R. Perhaps the 2500 block of Steiner is getting it’s own version of the painted ladies? Let’s hope the neighbors are using a different color consultant…

  14. Posted by [anon.ed]

    Hopefully next door is orange and black tiger stripes.

  15. Posted by justme

    Yeah. That’ll sell the place.

  16. Posted by anon

    Ok, this is not intended as a flame…rather a genuine criticism of someone who frequently presents himself as a highly qualified expert:
    Noearch your comment sounds like you sincerely like this color scheme. You write, “Yup! I like the color. Fresh, interesting, and not so boring.”
    If you’re serious, then you have just blown-up a whole bunch of your previous arguments that your architect training bestows some sort of special credibility or expertise upon you. This color scheme is just plain terrible, doesn’t fit the house, neighborhood or just about anything else. Simply read the other comments posted above…
    Seriiiioooouuussssllllly (huge eye roll)

  17. Posted by Marten

    Yuck! Why not refinish the wood? Would have been classier.

  18. Posted by tipster

    I suspect a lot of answers to the questions posed here can be reasoned by the fact that this is a foreclosure. The agent probably saw the comments in the prior posts and got approval for some minimal quickie paint job.
    They probably told the contractor to estimate the job as cheaply as possible, so the contractor allowed zero for paint costs. The city gives away paint they get from the recycling drop offs. My understanding is that they mix similar colors from different cans into a batch and you can take whatever they have available. So you get these sort of odd colors, but they are free. The contractor probably estimated the amount of paint he needed, and then selected two colors of whatever they had in that quantity.
    Refinishing the wood would likely have cost more or taken more time, and the wood might have been so far gone that refinishing wasn’t possible with any sort of uniform results without lots and lots of hand work. Paint is easy and painters are cheap.
    All of the above is conjecture of course.
    As to the doorway, it’s behind the righmost bush.,+San+Francisco,+California+94115&gl=us&ll=37.792829,-122.436318&spn=0.014515,0.033023&t=h&z=16&layer=c&cbll=37.792917,-122.436338&panoid=0Eq4ssbYhv6AQIO7bap1bg&cbp=12,224.78,,1,10.81

  19. Posted by tipster

    ^Can’t tell, the doorway might be behind the leftmost bush. Anyways, there are two doors, one is the garage door and the other is the front door.

  20. Posted by lol

    And here is why a lot of boxy mid-century places got dilapidated in the 80s and 90s. The design choices were poor. Inappropriate materials. They assumed people would cherish the place so much that they’d go on accepting forever the high maintenance some of these places have. And then they slap a quick coat of paint that totally goes against the original design and voila: an ugly duckling. Until the next redo.

  21. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    “Why not refinish the wood? Would have been classier.”
    Yes and the original installation looked fabulous like most tropical hardwoods look for their first few years. But here the owners neglected to maintain the wood and weathering set in. It could have been fixed though that would have been labor intensive. And after it is refinished the next owner is back on the hook for frequent expensive maintenance.
    Paint is the most practical way out of this eternal cycle of rebirth.

  22. Posted by SF Irish

    Wow, they made it worse.

  23. Posted by nanon

    I think the paint job is brilliant. In this uncertain market, someone will feel that– whatever price they pay– they can instantly add value just by repainting the front. Someone can throw a dart at a Pantone color chart and no matter where that dart lands, they will be adding value. Instant equity!

  24. Posted by eddy

    The strategy is fairly brilliant. I’m thinking they probably are storing some old oil rags and turpentine in the garage in case one of the neighbors decides to throw a lit cigarette near the garage door.
    Honestly, even the facade looks like its jaw is hitting the sidewalk! This is perhaps the biggest disaster I’ve seen in PH. It really is one of the funniest tragedies here in quite sometime.

  25. Posted by snider

    henceforth, this home will be know as the “Hotdog House.”
    There’s a little mustard, a little pickle relish, and a little ketchup.

  26. Posted by Ryan

    All the brokers couldn’t stop laughing this morning. We all had to drive by, point and laugh. What are they thinking? Really?

  27. Posted by lol

    Now that the result has been laughed at – again – on SS, I expect the painters to come back and do a “gray-over”, making it look like a B&W photo. You read it here first! Even the bricks will be painted over in “taupe”.

  28. Posted by anon

    ^ you may well be correct on the repainting. Driving-by today, there seemed to be an “intense” conversation taking place on the driveway by broker-looking folks.

  29. Posted by Lori

    Seriously, that is just hideous. Who approved those colors? Were they color blind?

  30. Posted by kathleen

    This home requires uneven parallel bars to enter.
    You set them up in the driveway and land inside the window.
    Suitable for flexible people who enjoy vertical living and many landings.
    Not or people who are prone to be bilious with changes in altitude.

  31. Posted by Gigi

    I should’ve known – another Betty Sun Wong special! I’ve seen some of the “renovations” she’s done on other foreclosed properties and they are absolutely heinous (often making the property look worse than if it had just been left in disrepair).

  32. Posted by sanfrantim

    Rarely have I witnessed such enthusiastic agreement on the pages of socketsite.

  33. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Count me as ambivalent despite my redundant snarky remark earlier on (I didn’t read the editor’s reference to F&E). While not wowed, I do believe that it is an improvement over the weathered wood.

  34. Posted by sfrenegade

    Sufferin’ succotash!

  35. Posted by Ryan

    Haha at Gigi: “Betty Sun Wong Special” love that… Lolz.

  36. Posted by halpern

    love the sleazy, gaudy, gauche look of the remodel. I hope they are planning a massage parlor there.

  37. Posted by eddy

    I assume Adam snapped this pic and did not Photoshop the blue sky. 🙂

  38. Posted by consumer

    I went to the open house on Sunday and will shed whatever light I can.
    The front door is to the right of the garage. From street level you go down two or three steps to the front door, then up a flight into the front of the house. There is another door to the left of the garage that goes into the garage. I think you could also get into the downstairs “bedroom” through the garage.
    My overall take: this house can be salvaged, but at the cost of two bedrooms and two bathrooms. This isn’t such a great loss, however, since those rooms are already completely unacceptable. Those bedrooms are both extremely small and have very poor window situations. The bathrooms are almost certainly illegal. There is a sideways sink blocking half of the door of the lowest level bathroom and the main level full bath has two stairs in the middle of it. The rear stairs are also illegal, I think (too narrow). I honestly have no idea how this construction got permitted.
    If you eliminated both bedrooms you could get a 2 car tandem garage with lots of storage and eliminate the need for an elevated kitchen. You could then have a large flat main level with a large kitchen, living, and dining area with only a powder bath. The master bedroom level is already flat and is quite large, and it could even accommodate a small child’s bedroom if a second bedroom were needed. I’m not sure what to do with the top level, but it is nice and could be a sweet office or additional bedroom even without a full bathroom.
    Finally, as to the dungeon level, while the current surfaces have terrible accoustics, the room could easily and cheaply be made into a sweet home theater or music practice room.
    I don’t know how much all of those changes would cost, and it might just make more sense to tear it down and start over, because even after doing what I described, it won’t be a stunner and will still have the weird front door situation.
    In any case, I think this place will sell quickly. Even as is it is better than most 1 or 2 bedroom condos in the area and the price is right.

  39. Posted by Mole Man

    There was a house sale I followed some time ago where the exterior paint was a mess and had to go. The agent and seller wanted a conservative look, so the new color would be tan with a hint of green. Samples and patches were tested, but when the paint when on the building in that setting it looked green with a bit of mud instead. The color was striking and went over well, but it was not what was intended at all and not what anyone who looked at the samples or patches expected.
    Possibly something similar happened. The decision was for a dull green with yellowed cream accents to go with the brick and the setting in a subdued way. The result: unforeseen consequences.

  40. Posted by sfrenegade

    consumer, is your idea really to make this into a 1/1.5 or a 1/1.5 with a baby’s room? At that point, it would definitely be better to tear it down and start with something smarter. It’s a rather large monstrosity just to have one real bedroom. Good luck to whoever tries to fix this place.

  41. Posted by Kathleen

    Any good color consultant will now how the paint will read on location by painting exteriors swatches and watching the light.
    A great color consultant is Courtenany Griffith.

  42. Posted by consumer

    sfrenegage: Go check the place out. I think you will agree that it already is a 1 bedroom house. I was just suggesting a way to make it a nice 1 bedroom house.
    The extra “bedrooms” are just closets with windows and awful, dangerous bathrooms.

  43. Posted by ex SF-er

    The color was striking and went over well, but it was not what was intended at all and not what anyone who looked at the samples or patches expected.
    I agree with this point. I have more colors than I can count throughout my house (interior and exterior). I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been surprised!
    In this case, you can see what they were going for. However it failed miserably because the tonal balance is off and they didn’t take environment into consideration. (a color is affected by surrounding colors).
    most of us see 3 colors here, but there are actually at least 9. White/grey near the top, yellow, green on the house, rust color of brick, cream stucco near the bottom, darker hue of green on the trees, dark brown of garage door, and the blue-grey of the house on the left and grey of the house on the right. (they visually blend with our subject house).
    -the rust colored brick and the green are quite close in tone (If you cover the yellow with your hand you can see they aren’t too bad together). The green was a good choice that complements the rust brick.
    -the cream stucco on the bottom is a nice contrast to the brick adding variation in tone (important).
    -the yellow is way off in tone to the green/red and also the cream. (it is also the wrong hue of yellow).
    -the grey/white at the top of the house is also way off in tone. when you want something that looks “white”, you don’t pick white if your surrounding background is a mid-tonal range, because if you do you get what you see above, a BLISTERINGLY white roofline.
    it is very very difficult to select the correct tone of yellow (many think it’s the hardest color to choose), and that is the primary problem here.
    (although the hue of yellow is also off in this case).
    I THINK this place could be salvaged. three options.
    -Simply paint the roofline and all the yellow a cream-color that is similar in color and tone to the stucco below.
    or better yet:
    -use the same color and tone of the cream stucco on the roof line. Then go 1-2 tones lighter or darker(darker prob better) and use that to paint the yellow stuff. This way the protuberant window section will “pop” without causing an explosion.
    -if you want more visual interest don’t use the cream on the protuberant section, use a different color like brown… but that will be much more difficult to pull off. (as we see here).

  44. Posted by lolcat_94123

    I almost think this is the “immediate equity via re-paint” marketing plan someone mentioned. No way would they use those colors intentionally.

  45. Posted by Gigi

    I agree w/ lolcat. If you’ve ever been in any of Betty Sun Wong’s foreclosed listings this kind of thing is a pattern. Whether it’s an intentional strategy or just bad taste, I can’t say.

  46. Posted by katdip

    On a separate note – would you ever engage an agent who has egregious errors in their online (public) profile? Would that give you any confidence about their ability to manage all the details of an RE transaction? Maybe I’m not her target audience, but still….

  47. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Unless they’re employed as a copy editor or teaching English, I tend to give those who speak English as a second language a little slack.

  48. Posted by jlasf

    I drove by the house today. Horrendous color choice!
    But….people have complained about the front door.
    Yes, it is hidden by a plant right now and hard to see
    and access. But get rid of the plant, put in new stairs,
    change the front door, paint it a bright color (red lacquer)
    and light it at night. That would seem to solve that problem.
    Don’t know about other issues. But anyone who planned
    the front door so badly, probably made a host of other
    bad decisions as well.

  49. Posted by Blake

    Looked at the home this week, it is a complete ill-designed disaster that has not aged well in its relatively short life. We discovered the architect was in fact the owner and designer. If he is still licensed in California, people should know about the horrible quality of his work. I think his name was mentioned on an investor website in reference to the property selling in the 3 mil range a few years ago? That’s a pricey 1 bedroom with a couple of tiny, claustrophobic “bonus rooms”, even for that fancy part of Pacific Heights. Pure location can only do so much for a property, especially a former garage.

  50. Posted by jlasf

    I finally saw this house yesterday and completely agree with the other writers. Absolutely insane and virtually unliveable. But great for a game of hide and seek; there are so many bizarre little rooms all over the place, one would never be found. Other people who were viewing the house were shaking their heads and sort of laughing.

  51. Posted by jesse

    Paint the bay the same color as the crown, call it a day! After failing horribly, how do you continue to Fail so Bad!

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