1001 California Street

One of two multi-level condos which replaced the perennially plagued restaurant space at the base of the iconic Beaux-Arts Building at 1001 California Street, the building from which Vincent Friia once ruled over real estate in San Francisco, “Townhouse No. 2” has been on the market, but unlisted, seeking $4,750,000.

1001 California Townhouse No. 2 Interior

Last week, the 4,318 square foot space, which was designed by Lewis Butler of Butler Armsden Architects, was officially listed, but with a list price of $3,950,000.  And while contemporary in feeling, a number of original Beaux-Arts features remain.

1001 California #TH2 Bedroom

14 thoughts on “A Contemporary Home Within An Iconic Beaux-Arts Building”
  1. Whatever happened to Vincent Friia? In the 80’s, he seemed to have his sign on every high end property in Pacific Heights and Russian Hill that was for sale. Constantly in Herb Caen’s column, including one item that noted he had booked Maxim’s in Paris for a party on every New Year’s Eve through 2001 (which seemed such a long way off back then). He just sort of disappeared at one point. I don’t recall ever seeing an obituary.

    1. I tried to answer my own question and for the 2% of you who might remember the name Vincent Friia, here is what I found: The most recent mentions of him in the Chronicle were all from Pat Steger’s column:

      1995: Noted that Friia was leaving his Sacramento Street office and there was no word yet on a new location.

      1996: Mentioned in passing as being in Florence, studying Italian “in case you were wondering what happened to him.” Described as “ex-local” so he had left San Francisco by that point.

      1999: Two months before Steger’s death, she reported on an auction preview in San Francisco of Marilyn Monroe’s belongings. Friia was listed as being at the preview, along with a note that he was living in Philadelphia. Unlikely that he spent NYE at Maxim’s that year.

      A 2001 Pennsylvania court case revealed that a Vincent Friia, jr. transferred four million dollars worth of Philly real estate (Rittenhouse Square) to an irrevocable trust in 1991. His mother, sister, and brother were the beneficiaries of the trust, with his brother named as trustee. In 1996, he filed for bankruptcy, seeking “discharge of his substantial personal debts.” He claimed he had no personal assets and his debts were discharged. A year later, he tried to “recover the properties” from the trust, claiming he owned them.

      This resulted in what the court describes as “lengthy and bitter litigation” between Vincent and his family, including an argument over who would get possession of the umbrella stand in one of the properties. The properties were eventually sold and Vincent received 20% of the proceeds, but sued his family over $27,000 in legal fees, which seems like squabbling over couch change after the size and number of real estate deals he brokered in SF. The court found that claim to be “obdurate” and labeled Vincent Friia “vexatious,” noting that but for his family’s agreement to give him 20% he would have received nothing under the terms of the trust had the case gone to trial.

      He is apparently deceased. Although I could not find an obituary online, a 2009 Philadelphia obituary for Mary Friia (identified as his mother in the lawsuits) notes that she was predeceased by her son Vincent. Also, a search for his name shows an auction for 18th century Chinese dishes “from the estate of Vincent Friia.”

      [Editor’s Note: See When Friia Ruled San Francisco Real Estate (A Reader’s Recollection) which includes a couple of comments from his family.]

  2. A lovely home really overall. If someone held a gun to my head and asked me to say what I really think I might be tempted to ask if I’m the only one that dislikes the negative space on either side of the high-end kitchen exhaust fans? What’s with the dollop of unused space on either side of the flue? i see this negative-space-flanking-flue issue over and over again. And by the way this is an expensive dollop. The range hood probably costs more than my monthly expenses. Why not fill it in with some matching wood or at least insert shelves? At least they brought down the soffit over the cupboards so I can’t complain there (and please no one mention baskets-atop-cupboards: not on a rainy day). I wouldn’t personally want the bar stools anywhere but in a barn but beauty’s in the eye eh? And I’m not going to mention the uninspired planters by the stairway either. I notice the interior architecture seems to sport a proud “just a dash of real wood” motif that grates on my nerves as well. It’s just not that cute. I don’t like my eye being drawn there: why? It’s not enough. It’s more of an all white interior. So leave out the wood trim. Or paint it white: fast. I take it the decorating’s basically staging done in a hurry.

  3. What a lovely museum!

    As white boxes go, this one is OK. However, it’s inconsistent with the feel of the exterior. From the street, this is a warm and inviting building. The renovated interior is cold and stark. Very little of the period detailing was retained. Notwithstanding all of that, the space could be warmed-up considerably with appropriate furniture and artwork.

    I haven ‘t seen the “before” but I really do not understand the appeal of removing so much of the “old world” features. Yes, I understand that this is “what the market is demanding” [at the moment]. I just don’t get it and I will be surprised if this look is still popular in 25-30 years. In particular, egg-shaped soaking tubs are ridiculous (IMO).

    1. Also, this home would look a lot better with some area rugs! Perhaps today’s buyers consider rugs to be distracting to the eye. As displayed, I think the apartment is bland and lacks anything of visual interest.

  4. If this home occupies former restaurant space, at least partly, there may not have been much period detail to work with before the renovation.

  5. I would wonder about the noise being right by the cable cars. I’m sure those are top of the line windows, but still…

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