3218 Buchanan

Purchased as a vacant two-unit building for $1,700,000 in May of 2013, the Cow Hollow property at 3218 Buchanan Street was “completely renovated in 2014” under the direction of designer Jean-Pierre Berthy and has returned to the market configured as a single-family home for $2,995,000.

The kitchen before and after:

3218 Buchanan Kitchen Before

3218 Buchanan Kitchen After

The new master bath with Porcelanosa tile on the walls, Grohe fixtures, and a resin soaking tub:

3218 Buchanan Bath

And the remodeled lower level which had been a separate one-bedroom unit:

3218 Buchanan Lower Level

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by DCR

    Hey – no fair Monsieur Berthy. No dwelling merger application from a 2 unit 🙁

  2. Posted by Anna

    Wowza. I like it! I used to live around the corner and the property…let’s just say it didn’t have very good curb appeal.

    • Posted by AlphabetSoup

      And it doesn’t today?

  3. Posted by soccermom

    Good work! Pretty backyard layout.

    Is it hardieplank on the back or real wood? The roof deck siding looks lapped like fiberboard. Good choice for weather.

    How many square feet? At least give us a ballpark. Not knowing that variable, I would guess $3.2mm? Close to Lombard, I suppose.

    Good luck to the developers!

  4. Posted by anon94123

    I’m curious, this is so close to Lombard what is the traffic noise like? A beautiful home, but too bad it is not a block or two further south. I guess the bike boosters on this site would call Lombard a “traffic sewer” and they would be right. I wish the city would “fix” Lombard with better landscaping, sidewalks, greater building heights but wider setbacks. Lombard is a true “wall” between Cow Hollow and the Marina. They may want to fill in the Geary Underpass, but I wish Lombard was completely put underground with a landscaped transit corridor on the roof deck instead. One can dream.

  5. Posted by Michael

    Nice job with the remodel but how did this get approved? Permit is for “remodel of existing single family dwelling”.

  6. Posted by seriously

    that step up into the front door looks really dangerous. also- i thought the picture at the top of the page was the “before” picture. in general – the interiors are really nice. i just would like to see a little more effort applied to the exterior.

  7. Posted by nancydrew99

    No dwelling-merger application. What?!?!? Not fair!

  8. Posted by tahoejoe

    The second unit in the building was probably not legal so it could be removed without a merger.

  9. Posted by noemom

    I don’t know about the unit merger thingy….a lot of those are slipping through the cracks if they get to the right planner….I think it should have raised some red flags as it does on a lot of buildings. Maybe they fudged it to look like a second unit on the plans, when it really is not. Who knows, the system is so incredibly arbitrary. It is like that scene in Casablanca where Claude Rains is given his winnings as he closes down Rick’s for gambling.

    Where is Scott Weiner when you need him, to save all the illegal (or legal) in-law units in San Francisco, never mind saving Ingrid Bergman. However it would be very interesting to know how many rental units are going away each year under similar circumstances of avoiding the unit merger thingy.

  10. Posted by Bochef

    j’aime bien les couleurs de la salle de bain et le tableau mural ets TOP
    c’est une création de toi ?

  11. Posted by Sally

    Cow hollow and Marina homes near Lombard are super prime. Not noisy at all as people are discovering. Great location! I like marina side a little better as it’s more open airy.

    • Posted by Conifer

      If so, then Cow Hollow and Marina homes NOT near Lombard are super super super prime.

  12. Posted by Conifer

    Are the people commenting really opposed to merger of dwelling units? Or am I missing implied humor?

    • Posted by soccermom

      I think people expect fair play (following of the rules). If it was a legal unit, then the ‘loss’ of that unit should have been vetted. It’s unclear from information provided whether the ground floor unit was permitted/legal.

      But clearly, if an upermitted unit disappears in the forest and there is no one there to hear it… did it ever really exist?

      • Posted by SFCitizen

        If you look at and put in the 3218 Buchanan address you will get lots of great information. In October 2006, a building permit was issued to replace all the windows. The property was classified as “2 Family Dwelling”. The next permit in October 2013 was for remodel of existing single family dwelling. This permit also has a CEQA exemption. The property is now classified as “1 Family Dwelling”.

        • Posted by CH

          Also zoned RH-2. Don’t see any mention of an approved merger. Looks like they claimed it was a single family and Planning didn’t bother to check or correct.

          • Posted by Conifer

            The more the better. The city has deliberately made family-size houses and apartments hard to find. There are a lot of city policies, often discussed on socketsite, that are the irrational exuberance of so-called “progressive” (or what Willie calls extremely lefty) politicians. Dwelling unit mergers, a common event in Paris and London and New York, is somehow taboo in SF.

  13. Posted by 4oceans

    tragic kitchen screwup…. where is that O’Keefe and Merritt stove????

  14. Posted by CrockPot

    I think these remodels should just be empty shells. The fixtures, carpentry, appliances, and bathrooms are all designed with a very specific preference in mind, and this could affect the buying pool. Allowing the buyer to hire a contractor that will build what the buyer wants may even increase the value of your sale (considering you don’t have to pay of these items yourself as the seller).

    • Posted by soccermom

      It’s an interesting idea and valid point, but if you consider cars as a similar product, the % sold with owner -customized choices is very small compared to the overall market. It is in fact quite a lot of work to marshall a designer, a contractor, and to complete a house even without a limit on a budget. Much easier for a developer to offer the market a complete ‘turnkey’ product.

    • Posted by SFCitizen

      CrockPot – You are absolutely right. The term is “decorator ready”.

      The term ‘decorator ready’ can actually refer to two types of units, white box and grey box. White box units typically have drywall and some moldings and doors. A grey box unit is ‘bare bones’ with no drywall or fixtures. Both require a licensed general contractor and some local permits.

      I think many of the high-rise condos are sold this way, but amazingly the low-rise buildings seem to come with cheap flooring and builder grade kitchens and baths.

  15. Posted by nancydrew99

    I only joke about the unit merger as being unfair because we want to put in an inlaw in our 2-unit (Inner Richmond) and the City won’t let us. It would truly be for my inlaws, as our current 2-bedroom is now occupied by us and kid, and downstairs is rented out. But whatever. San Francisco sucks.

    • Posted by soccermom

      I had a long bit here once about a market for unit additions and deletions whereby people like you could purchase a ‘unit right’ from someone like this Buchanan owner who wanted to sell.

      They do it with Water rights in Lake Tahoe. It could work transparently.

      Parking remains an issue.

  16. Posted by Conifer

    The absurdity of city policy on “dwelling unit mergers” will be clear tomorrow when the Planning Commission takes up 344 3rd Avenue, a modest house where the Planning Department advises against merging what must be two small units. It is a measure of the power of the city against ordinary people and their ordinary hopes and dreams.

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