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“The Face of Presidio Terrace”

Driving west through Presidio Heights on Washington Street, as it peaks at Cherry Street, the first glimpse of this magnificent home, designed  in 1909 by Frederick Nickerson, comes into view.  The grand Colonial Revival residence is situated on an expansive lot of almost 8,000 square feet and has been referred to as “The Face of Presidio Terrace”, occupying a vaulted position opposite the fabulous entrance gates of this wonderful and private gated community.  The views from its front entry are of mature landscaped gardens with palm trees and glimpses of the world outside the Terrace.

Double French doors open into a large and formal reception hall with inset paneled walls, accented by brass wall sconces and serviced by a central main front staircase plus elevator. Located on either side of the entrance hall are the dramatically expansive and open public rooms which can be made more private by closing the original tall matching pocket doors.

On the right is a lovely front music room adjacent the grand salon which measures 16 x 40 feet. This room features a large fireplace with carved wooden mantle, marble surround and hearth, a gold leaf accented mirror above and many tall windows filling the tremendous space with light.  French doors lead to a tiled family room that in turn opens to the oversized rear deck and garden, creating a special indoor-outdoor living area with southwestern exposure. There is also entry to the attached garage, with half bath, from the family room or rear deck.

To the left of the entry is a cozy library which includes custom floor-to-ceiling bookcases with dentil molding. A banquet-sized, formal dining room with coved ceiling completes the entertaining areas on the first level. The scale of the rooms and volume created by the ceiling height takes great advantage of natural light on all sides. A powder room is located off the central hallway.

A beautifully efficient, remodeled eat-in kitchen features newer white oak floors in a chevron pattern, reflecting the century-old hardwood floors in the formal rooms. The spacious room has custom cabinetry with braided scroll detail, granite countertops with Lapis accent and also accesses the rear family room. Amenities include professional grade gas stove with custom hood, newer appliances, a built-in breakfast table, pantries and a computer/TV workstation. A rear stair off the kitchen connects to both the upper and lower levels.

Upstairs on the second level are six bedrooms and five baths, and this includes a double suite for the master bedroom featuring separate baths. The southwest bedroom suite has its own sunporch while the northwest suite currently serves as a family sitting room and opens to the large wind-screened deck, perfect for dining al fresco and afternoon soirees.

The main central stairway is open to the top level, overlit by a stained glass skylight and wall mirror, leading directly into a great ballroom with high, sloped ceilings, twin mirrors and windows on all sides flooding the room with sun from the east and south. Off the ballroom is a service area for caterers, plus a full bath with steam shower. Additionally there is an office or staff bedroom, and an immense cedar-lined storage room.

The lowest level features a media room with adjoining games room, bar and wine cellar.  There is also a half bath on this level, a ping pong room, extra storage for seasonal decorations and utility rooms as well as an exterior stair to the rear deck, garden and garage.

Outstanding Features

  • Four Levels
  • Central Reception Hall with Elevator to Top Three Levels
  • Music Room and Library
  • Banquet Dining Room
  • Grand Salon with Fireplace
  • Family Room opening to the Rear Garden
  • Fully Equipped Remodeled Eat-In Kitchen with Pantry and Computer/TV Workstation
  • Upper Level Sun Porch &  Enclosed Second Story Deck
  • Master Suite with Sitting Room/Office and Two Baths
  • Additional Four Bedrooms and Three Baths on the Same Level
  • Six Full and Three Half Baths
  • Top Level Ballroom with Event Staging Room, Office/Staff Bedroom, Immense Cedar Closet,  Full Bath with Steam Shower
  • Lower Level Home Theatre, Playrooms, Workroom and Utilities
  • Custom Recessed Lighting and In-Room Speakers
  • Wine Cellar
  • Expansive Storage
  • Rear Garden and Deck
  • Attached Garage and Parking Pad

Special Considerations

  • Quiet, Secure and Serene Location in Gated Community
  • Updated with Historical Details Preserved
  • Grand Scale Rooms for Entertaining
  • Excellent, Versatile Floor Plan
  • Adjacent National Park with Trails, Golf Course and Playground
  • Premium Family Neighborhood
  • Nearby Shopping

Approximate Living Area:       9,000+ sq ft

Lot Size:                            7,933   sq ft

HOA dues:                         $1,705

per quarter- common services include grounds maintenance and security services

Walkscore 82

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Presidio Terrace History

San Francisco’s own Presidio Terrace is truly a historical showcase of notable San Francisco architects of the highest significance, and the homes, primarily built from 1889-1911, exhibit some of the earliest and most thoughtful suburban development in the country. The cul-de-sac layout in an oval formation with oversized lots follows a residential planning concept that was new around the turn of the century and resulted in this neighborhood, within a garden setting in a gated community, on the southern slope of Presidio Heights. Presidio Terrace is also adjacent to the Presidio Reservation, itself a 1200 acre national park, with hiking and biking trails, the Presidio Golf Course and Julius Kahn Playground nearby, and vistas of the Golden Gate.

The architectural styles include Beaux-Arts, Colonial and Mission Revival, Prairie School, French Rural, Italian Renaissance, Elizabethan and Mediterranean.  An amazing collection made more significant by the importance of the architects who designed the structures in combination with city leaders who lived in them. Some of the earliest residents included Hartland and Herbert Law, Marshall Hale, Elizabeth Watt, Fernando Nelson, and Francis Keesling, the more recent former occupants were US Senator Dianne Feinstein, US Representative Nancy Pelosi and Mayor Joseph Alioto.

The Terrace developers were banker and Swiss native Antoine Borel together with realtors A.S. Baldwin and J.R.Howell whose successes also included Rancho San Miguel (Twin Peaks), St. Francis Wood and many others. Contractor Moses Fisher built ten of the homes in this enclave, having purchased seven of the lots himself.

Address Architect Style Year Built
1 Presidio Terrace Newsom & Newsom Jacobean Revival 1929
2 Presidio Terrace Frank Van Tees Anglo Italianate 1905
3 Presidio Terrace McDonald & Applegarth Elizabethan Revival 1908
4 Presidio Terrace McDonald & Applegarth Prairie School 1911
5 Presidio Terrace McDonald & Applegarth Craftsman 1908
6 Presidio Terrace Henry C. Smith Mission Revival 1911
9 Presidio Terrace Albert Farr Mediterranean 1927
10 Presidio Terrace Charles Whittlesey Prairie School 1909
11 Presidio Terrace Charles Whittlesey Prairie School 1909
12 Presidio Terrace A. Lacy Worswick Craftsman 1909
13 Presidio Terrace Samuel Lightner Hyman Mediterranean 1922
14 Presidio Terrace Samuel Heiman Mediterranean 1921
15 Presidio Terrace Havens & Toepke Colonial Revival 1905
16 Presidio Terrace Bakewell & Brown Colonial Revival 1910
17 Presidio Terrace Ward & Bolles CA Contemporary 1951
  Andrew Skurman   rebuilt 2010
18 Presidio Terrace Bliss & Faville Colonial Revival 1909
19 Presidio Terrace Charles Whittlesey Pueblo Revival 1909
20 Presidio Terrace Lewis Hobart French Rural 1909
21 Presidio Terrace T. Patterson Ross Mission Revival 1910
22 Presidio Terrace Edward Young Beaux-Arts 1907
23 Presidio Terrace Julius Krafft Colonial Revival 1910
24 Presidio Terrace Charles Whittlesey Prairie School 1909
25 Presidio Terrace Charles Whittlesey Prairie School 1909
26 Presidio Terrace Reid Brothers Colonial Revival 1909
27 Presidio Terrace McDonald & Applegarth Prairie School 1909
28 Presidio Terrace Charles Whittlesey Prairie School 1909
30 Presidio Terrace McDonald & Applegarth Elizabethan Revival 1909
31 Presidio Terrace Frederick Nickerson Colonial Revival 1909
32 Presidio Terrace Charles Whittlesey Prairie School 1909
34 Presidio Terrace McDonald & Applegarth Beaux-Arts 1909
35 Presidio Terrace Eugene Martin Beaux-Arts 1916
36 Presidio Terrace Julia Morgan Beaux-Arts 1911
37 Presidio Terrace Ward & Farr Beaux-Arts 1927
38 Presidio Terrace George Schasty Beaux-Arts 1911
40 Presidio Terrace Lewis Hobart Mediterranean 1919

31 Presidio Terrace – the Face of Presidio Terrace

As mentioned in the “Historic Houses of Presidio Terrace” by Patrick McGrew, A.I.A., this lovely Colonial Revival design, an American favorite, was built for San Francisco entrpreneur E.C. Horst and his wife Daisy and remained in their family until 1955.  Designed by Frederick Nickerson, the front exterior is a three-story solid rectangular home with  textured plaster exterior accented with ornamental shield medallions, set off by the large formal entry porch, featuring twin Doric columns that support a pediment above, surrounded by wrought iron railing. The porch opens to the interior through a pair of striking double French doors. The hip roof, with deeply projecting eaves decorated by closely spaced wooden brackets, features an enlarged dormer, now with five matched double hung windows. The symmetrical pair of casement windows on the upper and lower levels are trimless except for planter boxes under the upper windows. The rear elevation also features the porch element with twin Doric colums and ornate shield medallion. The style of this grand traditional residence was very popular in suburban developments across the country in the 1920-30’s and it continues to be an most attractive anchor to the entrance of Presidio Terrace.

A copy of the original specifications for labor and materials for construction of the home are still available, giving some insight into the quality and craftsmanship used in its erection.  Reportedly born in Bristol, Massachusetts in 1884 and apparently attending MIT in 1904, Frederick Nickerson was in residence in 1907 at  2510 Green Street. His offices were listed as 613 Postal Telegraph Building 460 Market Street in 1910, also with offices formerly in Alameda. He applied for membership in the local chapter of A.I.A. at the quarterly meeting on January 12, 1911.  Nickerson had previously designed two houses in Sea Cliff in 1909, specifically, One and Three 25th Avenue, and according to an article in the SF Examiner in 1987, the houses stood alone “where there was only sand, lupine and rabbits” prior to the development of the Residential Park by Harry B. Allen in 1922.  Three 25th Avenue was promoted as the  San Francisco Showcase  in 1993.  

The 31 Presidio Terrace parcel was originally sold by the developer to Emil Clemons and Daisy Horst in 1909 with the residence constructed soon afterwards.  E. C. Horst, 1867-1940, was born in Germany, in Tuttlngen near the source of the Danube, and prospered in California, using rich flood plains adjacent to its rivers to develop his hop farms.  He had owned the biggest cultivation of hops in the world at one time, with ranches in the Sacramento area on the Cosumnes and American River, in Hopland and also in Oregon. Some recent images from the Elk Grove Historical Society picture the barns, water tank and old flat bed truck still carrying the Horst & Co. Hop Ranch trademark. He revolutionized the processing of hops using his patented mechanical separator which harvested the hops while eliminating the leaves and vines. His article “Hop Growing in California” , published in Caifornia’s Magazine 1915, was one of his several expert treatises on hop production.  The Horsts had previously owned a vacant lot at 2830 Pacific Avenue, but sold that land in 1910 to George L. Payne of Paynes’s Bolt Works who then chose Nathaniel Blaisdell to build his Georgian Mansion, featured as the Decorator Showcase in 2009. The Horst family instead determined to build in Presidio Terrace commissioning Frederick Nickerson as their architect of choice.

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The Heights

Situated on the east-west ridge that rises steeply to almost 400 feet above sea level from the Marina district and stretches to the Presidio on the north and west, Pacific Heights and Presidio Heights are truly the crown jewels of San Francisco.  These neighborhoods were first developed in the mid 1800’s and further improved around the turn of the century, after the 1906 earthquake. Located in a temperate micro-climate, The Heights enjoy more sunshine and less fog than many other neighborhoods in the misty city.

This is the cream of the crop for SF residential neighborhoods; good for singles or families, young or old. They represent the priciest neighborhoods in the bay area. With a mix of large vintage architecturally significant homes, condos and co-ops, some of the most interesting San Francisco residents call this neighborhood home.  Old money, start up founders, financiers, city leaders, philanthropists and everything in between.

The most scenic streets, Washington, Jackson, Pacific and Broadway along the crest, boast spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Marin Headlands, Angel, Alcatraz and Treasure Islands. Lafayette Park and Alta Plaza are the two main open areas in Pacific Heights, with Presidio National Park is the western boundary. The Heights boasts many of the major residences in the city. The hill is populated by lovely multicolored painted Victorians, Mansions and Châteaux. Many countries locate their consulates in the Heights including England, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Russia, Korea, France, Indonesia and Egypt.

There are several nice neighborhood commercial streets:

  • Union Street, with higher end shops and boutiques such as Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs and Armani
  • Upper Fillmore Street has great neighborhood services and shops
  • Outer Sacramento Street which is less commercial, but has many physicians plus some designers and lovely restaurants.
  • California Street and Laurel Village shopping center.

There are also exquisite parks, Alta Plaza and the newly rebuilt Lafayette Park as well as Presidio National Park & Golf Course plus many playgrounds such as Julius Kahn with its tennis courts.  With these kinds of outdoor facilities as well as a significant café crowd, the buzz is lively and stimulating.

This affluent neighborhood has several private schools including SF University High School, Drew, Hamlin, Sacred Heart, Town, Convent and Stuart Hall Schools.

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Showings by Appointment:

Broker Tour Tuesday 10/15 10:30-noon

Contact Dona Crowder - 415.229.1399 -
or Jennet Nazzal - 415.229.1325 -

Dona Crowder
Assistant Manager
TRI Coldwell Banker
BRE# 00570185
415.310-5933 direct
415.771.1264 fax
Jennet Nazzal
Previews Property Specialist
TRI Coldwell Banker
BRE# 01371061
415.229.1325 direct
415.771.1264 fax

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Dona Crowder & Jennet Nazzal Present:

31 Presidio Terrace