2950 Pacific Avenue Facade

As we wrote when we first reported the listing of Mark Pincus’ Pacific Heights pad for $18 million last week, while the Albert Farr-designed Gold Coast home currently remains in its original condition and is rather well-kept, with period woodwork and detailing throughout, plans to renovate the entire home were quietly filed a few weeks ago.

And according to the application for the permit, a “demolition of all interior finishes” is proposed.

2950 Pacific Avenue Living

With an estimated cost of nearly $5 million, the proposed renovation plan includes new finishes, partitions, bathrooms and kitchen(s) throughout, along with a little expansion to the east and west, and an excavation and addition below.

The plans are likely an evolution of the very plans a plugged-in reader reported having been in the works soon after the Zynga co-founder and his wife, the co-founder of One Kings Lane, purchased the property for $16 million two years ago.

2950 Pacific Avenue: Top Floor Captain's Room

Of course, a buyer might choose to keep the home in its current condition, as commissioned for the Newhall family in 1907, with its top floor “Captain’s room” and period kitchens.  But we wouldn’t bet on it.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by soccermom


    Seriously though, are those shingles or tiles on the walls pictured? What kinda parties were they throwing?

    • Posted by shza

      Plus one. It would be a “shame” and a “travesty” to allow the interiors of someone else’s house to be anything other than dark, cavernous and oppressive.

    • Posted by toady

      Soccermom FTW!

  2. Posted by Snark17

    Why simultaneously list the house for sale and file plans to gut the house? I guess I’m missing something.

    It’s a shame to wreck all that beautiful original wood, especially with such a traditional exterior. The usual new white box interior, if that’s what’s proposed, will look extra stupid here.

    [Editor’s Note: To increase the pool of potential buyers and value if the plans are approved.]

    • Posted by Noslen

      I’m guessing that if there is now a choice for a buyer to either keep it the same or gut it, the place will be easier to sell. The paperwork and permit stuff is now already bought and paid for.

  3. Posted by mark

    It’s either tech money or Asian investors ending up with the place so there you go

    • Posted by Daniel

      Yep, whether Tech money or Soulless Chinese investors with absolutely the WORST TASTE ON THE PLANET, they’re all destroying San Francisco and the character of this once great city.

  4. Posted by jamesjr

    That house sits on a weird lot. The “back”, facing Broadway, has no yard and the “front” is a glorified drive-way squeezed between the neighbors. Can’t believe the uber-smart Pincus couple got sucked into that vortex of renovation complication.

  5. Posted by Serge

    Tearing out that interior would be an atrocity. Unfortunately it will likely end up with IKEA-style interiors and finishes.

    • Posted by shza

      Yes, I’m sure someone buying an $18M place is looking to furnish and finish with IKEA.

      • Posted by Serge

        “IKEA-style” — “style” is the operative word there. The majority of modern interior “upgrades” are akin to an IKEA catalog.

        • Posted by shza

          I figured that would be the response. Milan Design Week = IKEA exhibition. The DWR catalog = the IKEA catalog. That’s a very nuanced view. Thanks for contributing.

          • Posted by Serge

            In the context of the home and its original details (that are to be destroyed)? Yes, those styles of furnishings are about as good as IKEA designs. If you want contemporary interiors and furnishings, buy a contemporary home? There is no shortage of them. Why remove all historical and architectural context of a property knowing full well that it can never be recovered?

  6. Posted by Marten

    Is there any discussion as to why they sold so quickly? Zynga is in the dumps. And didn’t they move here to get away from a stalker at their other residence in Cole Valley?

  7. Posted by Liver Smarter

    Don’t touch Noah’s Ark.

  8. Posted by Xman

    This is one of the ugliest houses I have ever seen, inside and out.

    • Posted by Shroudwoman

      What are you 20? This is a masterpiece.

  9. Posted by joe

    Hey crybabies – go make him an offer for the interior trim and do your own house up with it.

    Or buy the house – oh yeah, you’re all too broke to do either.

    STFU already with your empty dreams.

  10. Posted by unlivable city

    Joe, are your real initials MP?

    • Posted by joe

      nah, just some other bastard.

  11. Posted by minka

    This site has gotten repulsive. Please stop with the bad news. Or, not. I suppose I’ll have to stop reading.

    Really, what a disgusting world we live in.

  12. Posted by JR "Bob" Dobbs

    If I bought it, I’d gut it. Currently it resembles a dark but very ornate (and slightly creepy) cave. That would just be depressing to live in. And there are lots of extremely nice (and light) options out there beyond “IKEA.” This place was a mistake. I’m quite certain the new buyers will fix that.

    • Posted by soccermom

      If I was all-in to do an 18mm fixer, I would choose the hot mess at 3800 Washington over Pincus’ Royal Tenenbaum house. There’s the spare lot, a lot split potential, and truly grandiose proportions in the main home.

      • Posted by eddy

        Yeah, but at least here you get a view. And the potential to buy out the two homes that front pacific sometime over the next 20 years. 3800 is the next Bourn Mansion.

  13. Posted by Gur

    If you actually look at the listing photos, most of the rooms are spacious and full of light, with light to medium toned woods, plaster walls/ceilings and some meticulous and beautiful work on the cabinetry, trim and other details all in a mostly good state of repair. While I don’t like the shingles/tiles on the walls in those certain areas (e.g. Captain’s Room) featured, with proper care this home could have its mechanicals and certain finishes modernized/restored into a great home.

    • Posted by soccermom

      Unless there have been great leaps forward in laparoscopic HVAC, electrical, and plumbing installation techniques, it’s going to be hugely expensive to upgrade any systems and keep the house in similar form.

      Soccermom recently wanted to put a beautiful craftsman stained glass door in a house. Soccermom located a wonderful barn find door in the sierra foothills with a lovely minimal craftsman glass pattern. Turned out the wood was too decrepit to use, but the glass could be saved. Then it turned out that the glass was loose and flimsy, so it would need to be re-soldered. Then it turned out that the glass was originally soldered with a gauge of metal sticking that was no longer available. Then it turned out the glass wouldn’t seat properly and several pieces were cracked. Then it turned out it would make more sense to buy new glass that was easier to work.

      Now the door is being re-constructed, which is to say, now a new door identical only in concept to the original door is being constructed, with perhaps 5% of the original materials from the barn find concept. New custom slab etc. Beautiful? Yes. Durable? Yes. 4X the cost of simply buying a nice new craftsman door from the Simpson catalog? Yes.

      • Posted by NC

        Please explain to me why a house in SF with unfettered access to the winds from the bay would need air conditioning?

        • Posted by Brian M

          If one is used to the generally chilly climate, then even a warm weekend like the just past one might merit air conditoning. If one can buy an 18 million house, one need never be uncomfortable in the slightest!

  14. Posted by John

    Further adventures in the questionable tastes of the fabulously wealthy.

    Why would you choose this house, in order to gut and modernize it with sleek interiors? Surely, there are plenty of new-built places closer to the design idea you prefer? Surely, you’re wealthy enough to have one fresh built to your tastes? So, why pick this one to gut to the studs, unless perhaps you have some vendetta against historical buildings?

    No, I’m not saying this buyer must be forced to toe an arbitrary preservationist line. The buyer can do what he wants with his property, within building code limits. I just question the taste of this choice. It seems childish.

    • Posted by shza

      You would choose this house despite disliking the interiors for precisely the reasons Eddy mentions (not in response to this question) below. There absolutely are NOT “plenty of other new-built places closer to the design idea you prefer” on a lot this size, with these massive views, in the most exclusive neighborhood in SF.

  15. Posted by eddy

    These lots and homes are few and far between. Considering NYC Townhomes and Penthouses are selling for record prices, the fact that you can still secure a mansion, on the goal coast, with views, approved plans and a massive lot for only $18m is really quite a bargain, and $16m was a steal in my opinion. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – the wealth being created is unprecedented and the # of people that will want and who can afford these homes is only going up up up. And the people buying them aren’t going to have a need to sell them anytime soon. We may very well see a day in the next 15-20 years where these homes could trade for $50-75mm.

    • Posted by soccermom

      This is a difficult concept to swallow as an ‘investment oriented’ buyer, but market seems to prove again and again, that the greatest gains (in % terms as well as absolute dollares) are made at the top of the market providing ultra-luxe product to the .001%.

    • Posted by Conifer

      I have been as guilty as anyone, but NYC, London, and even Paris are not comparable to San Francisco in any meaningful way.

      We were in Paris and London for the second time this year, in September. My wife and I deliberately took the metro/underground and buses on several occasions. Every comparison to Muni is silly, as both cities have fast, reliable, easy to use and cheap systems (if you use the Navigo/Oyster cards.) They are complex, regulated, monitored, and predicable. We will never see such a system in SF.

      As for price comparison of property, London is in a league of its own, unrelated to anything in the western world, and Paris is still more expensive than SF after a year of rises here and stability there.

      • Posted by soccermom

        We have Silicon Valley. And Stanford.

      • Posted by eddy

        You’re correct. Neither Paris, London, or NYC is considered the epicenter of the technology universe. If you’re basing your city comps on solely on public transit then certainly San Francisco isn’t going to contend anytime in the near future. But I’d argue that San Francisco (and the Bay Area at large) is experiencing the type of growth, investment and development, and in a more sustainable and thoughtful way, than ever before; and is exactly the type of fuel that could result in SF competing for top ranking cities. Sure the government here isn’t setup to speed things along, but we’re seeing the free market push SF forward despite its self inflicted resistance to grow. Personally, I think its inevitable that SF / Bay Area will continue to grow. Although we sure seem prone to bubbles and the current one is looming large.

        • Posted by Conifer

          We do not disagree, Eddy. I am not predicting the future. But for now, we are a very different metropolis, much smaller, less developed, less rich, and less sophisticated, than NY, London, Paris. Things may be different in decades to come, when the politics and money are more sophisticated.

          You are especially right about our government: where else would an Agnos have a veto over development projects?

          I am afraid that you may also be right about the bubble, but in this area I hope you are wrong.

          • Posted by AnonArch

            Let’s not forget the economic giant 400 miles to the south that long ago became the west coast capitol. I am not sure who posted the Wikipedia list of urban regions ranked by economic size but I was shocked that the Bay Area was so far down the list, and that Los Angeles and Chicago (?) were so far up the list. (click on my name for link) . Still we have moved up a lot in the last 15 years.

  16. Posted by mark

    I just love how banter turns into hostile attacks all because of personal interior design tastes. Wow.

  17. Posted by Demetrius

    pearls before swine. Sure it’s “private property,” but usually persons who appreciate the history of San Francisco homes purchase them BECAUSE of their significance. There’s a trend toward facade_ism– keep the appearance of history, but gut them on the inside. Hm. Kind of telling in general, isn’t it?

  18. Posted by OcelotC

    All the people here who think this interior is dark and ugly should take a tour of the Gamble House in Pasadena, if you get a chance. When you see a period house like this in person, you will probably appreciate all the wood finishes and handmade work much better.

  19. Posted by Shroudwoman

    The “new tech people” have absolutely NO taste.

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