Now the most expensive mansion in San Francisco, this 1905 Italianate-style Cow Hollow mansion, between Broadway and Union Street, is filled with a vibrant history as well as accessorized by Tiffany. Formerly known as the Pink Palace, it was decked out in pink paint by its original owners and remained that color through other owners until 2004 when it was purchased and underwent extensive structure, system and exterior/interior renovation before it was chosen as the 2008 San Francisco Decorator Showcase. A massive 16,000 square feet, it is quite large in comparison to other local mansions of the era and has seven bedrooms and ten baths, along with seven fireplaces, a reception hall with Tiffany fountain, au pair quarters, gym, five marble terraces, six cast bronze balconies and an elevator. Its most precious feature is the long-domed Tiffany skylight above the marble stairs.
In 1914, the most ornate features were added in anticipation of the arrival of an important house guest, Queen Marie of Romania, who would be attending the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition. The owner even installed bronze work with the Romanian ruling family’s crest. But the Queen canceled her trip because World War I had broken out in Europe. When she didn’t arrive, it was guessed by the locals that the story may have been made up when the owner later was observed to dress in ornate costumes and refer to herself as “princess.”
In 1951, the house was sold to a couple who carved out 23 guest rooms for rent to the wealthy, much like today’s Airbnb. The weekly parties held there became well-known throughout the city, spawning much gossip. One of the tenants, destined to be a California governor, was Jerry Brown who resided there in his early hippie days. These parties were so enjoyed by the residents that they funded them and frolicked weekly for 15 years until the neighbors finally complained and the threat of a city inspection had the house up for sale once again.
Renovations include new plumbing, heating, wiring, foundation and seismic outfitting with steel beams. The elevator was extended to one of the largest private rooftop terraces in San Francisco with an elaborate outdoor kitchen, full bar and plenty of seating to enjoy the views extending from the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and Sausalito to the buildings of Russian Hill, Telegraph Hill and Nob Hill.
Olivia Hsu Decker of San Francisco Fine Homes is the listing agent. Now on the market at $28.5 million.
Photos provided by Olivia Hsu Decker
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