Friday, August 3, 2012

Mark Pincus Picks Up Posh Pacific Heights Pad

BUYER: Mark Pincus
LOCATION: San Francisco, CA
PRICE: $11,500,000
SIZE: 11,500 square feet (approx.),

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: The stock price of social media game developer Zynga (CityVille, FarmVille, CastleVille, and etc.) may be plummeting at an alarming rate but its iconoclast tech-tycoon founder Mark Pincus is clearly rolling in financial clover as evidenced by his recent, $16,000,000 purchase of a rather massive mansion in San Francisco's ultra-posh Pacific Heights 'hood.

The essentially symmetrical, red brick and grey shingled Dutch Colonial Revival residence sits down a long, private and gated driveway on an elevated 14,000 (or so) square foot lot in an area of Pacific Heights known as the Gold Coast, so called because it's extra fancy even for fancy pants Pac Heights. The front of the house, with a suburban 7-11 parking lot-sized motor court, is all but hidden from the street while the back of the house sits high and proud with commanding bridge, bay and city views.

Marketing materials Your Mama teased up out of the internets indicates the four-floor mansion was designed and built in 1907 by noted Bay Area architect Albert Farr and originally owned by entrepreneurial businessman Edwin W. Newhall whose family has owned it for more than a century. Mister Newhall had a debilitating stroke in 1914, at which time the awkwardly located elevator was installed, and went to meet his maker in 1915. The property passed to his widow Virginia who eventually bequeathed the behemoth house to their son Edwin Newhall Jr. (and his wife) who in turn turned the house over to their only daughter Jane who occupied the premises until her death in summer 2011 at the ripe old age of 97.

The impressive (if woody) interiors spaces retain much of their original architectural details such as wood paneled walls, herringbone pattern wood floors, exposed beam ceilings, six red brick fireplaces, period light fixtures, and diamond-paned windows.

The mansion also adheres largely to its original floor plan which, while spacious and grand, has a few uncomfortable moments not conducive to modern living. The children will note, as did our eagle-eyed house gurl Svetlana, the fairly compact, galley style main floor kitchen that Your Mama imagines may (or may not) have originally been a service pantry.

The larger, original (and adjacent pantry and "Food Prep Room") is located on the lower level and connected to the upper level kitchen via a switchback service stair that continues to climb all the way up to the (unfinished) attic. A kitchen on the lower, service level was probably a fairly standard set up in the homes of the wealthy in 1907 when residents would have maintained a small army of domestic staff to attend to their cooking and cleaning needs but it's not exactly how most young (and very rich) people live nowadays.

Listing information we peeped shows Mister Pincus's new pad in Pac Heights has 7 bedrooms and 6 full and 4 half bathrooms. However, our perusal of the floor plan(s) turned up 7 bedrooms (plus two more rooms that could, if desired, be pressed into use as sleeping chambers), five full and four half bathrooms plus two additional staff areas—one in the basement the other on the third floor, each with three cell-sized bedrooms and one shared bathroom.

A wide stairway and raised front porch with six Doric columns leads to the main floor living areas that include an impressive front hall with charming, arched inglenook, a living room big enough to be a ballroom with drop dead views, a smaller library with fireplace and built-in book cases, and a banquet hall-sized dining room, also with electrifying view and massive fireplace.

The lower level service areas include the aforementioned original kitchen and trio of cell-sized staff rooms plus a wine vault, exercise room, commodious storage rooms, a big ol' boiler room, and a laundry room large enough to make Luwanda the Laundress weep with envy. A dumb waiter in the central hall on the lower level conveniently lifts groceries and other small items to the upper levels and a narrow carport at the side of the mansion shades one or maybe two, tandem-parked cars.

The monumental master suite stretches across the entire rear of the second floor and encompasses a vast bedroom (with fireplace and spine tingling view); a sizable, separate but connected sitting room/office (also with fireplace); two walk-in closets; and direct access to—depending on how you count—1.5 or 2.5 bathrooms. Three other guest/family bedrooms on the second floor each have direct (if not entirely private) access to a bathroom.

An unusually grand staircase in a sky lit central atrium connects the second to the third floors where two more large guest/family bedrooms share a divided bathroom and a third, smaller guest/family bedroom has no direct or even convenient access to a lavatory.

Also on the third floor is a downright dee-voon  family room labeled on the floor plan as "The Ship Room" due to its exposed wood architecture very closely resembling the rib-like interior hull of a wood-built ship as well as an office/sitting room (with adjoining wet bar/storage area) and three more itty-bitty staff bedrooms that share a lone bathroom.

Exterior space is somewhat limited to the over-sized motor court in the front and a slender, landscaped terrace along the back of the lower level that provides (mostly) unobstructed city, bay and bridge views. The back yard slopes precipitously to a towering brick rampart that Your Mama would be quite surprised if Mister Pincus didn't build up for privacy and/or otherwise equip with a state of the art security system that may or may not include an armed guard or two with a nervous eye tick and a hair trigger.

The Gold Coast location of Mister Pincus's palatial new pad does not get better when it comes to San Francisco real estate with bigwig and muckety-muck neighbors like Oracle bajillionaire Larry Ellison, social world staples Gordon and Ann Getty, University of Phoenix's billionaire owner Peter Sperling, social networking nabob Michael Birch, Oracle heiress Nicola Miner and her novelist husband Robert Mailer Anderson, and eco-socialite author Sloan Barnett and her nutritional supplement pusher husband Roger Barnett who dropped some big bucks last year on the lavish manse of (deceased and) deliciously eccentric international social figure Dodie Rosekrans.

Mister Pincus and his wife have been on a real estate merry go round recently having just sold not just one but two separate San Francisco residences. He took a knee-knocking $960,000 loss (not counting carrying costs, improvements and real estate fees) when he sold a highly stylized bungalow in the Cole Valley neighborhood for $1,890,000 in January (2012). In March (2012) he unloaded a far more grand, four-floor mansion with six bedrooms in the exclusive Presidio Heights 'hood for $8,200,000. He paid $8,100,000 for the towering mansion just about 2.5 years earlier.

listing photos and floor plan: Pacific Union International


FalseProfit said...

This story is a month old. Pathetic.

Your Mama said...

Oh simmer down Phillip. This is a stupid story about the real estate activities of a rich dude. It's nothing to get so worked up about. We hadn't seen the Socketsite report but thank you. We've now linked over to it.

Anonymous said...

Why, what is that there new-fangled

A "horseless" carriage, you say?
Why, that dang thing won't even get up and down these hills!

Well, got to go crank the butter churn and fan the bellows...

Anonymous said...

good grief. those truck ads are so f**king irritating.

the Newshen said...

What the heck is the DW or D/W on each floor?

stolidog said...

This guy seems like a dick (like Phillip)...I would imagine he has plans to tear down this house and build something grander (in his mind). The house does stand out from it's neighbors, and kinda not in a good way. Shame about some of that woodwork.

Anonymous said...

DW= DumbWaiter

Anonymous said...

The first time i saw the ad, i thought a truck was sitting in someone's living room.

Anonymous said...

DW is for dumbwaiter. The dumbwaiter runs from the basement near the original kitchen to the second and third floors. Sweet!

Petra's said...

Someone just got told! Looks like phillip's buns and Mama's wooden spoon are gonna have a lengthy meeting tonight!

I do like some of the interior spaces of this place, like the rooms with all the woodwork. But the exterior is horrific. I don't care how old or how 'architecturally pedigreed' a place is, an ugly house is an ugly house.

Anonymous said...

You enter the front of this house from a very narrow single driveway between two houses on Pacific Avenue. You can't even see the house from Pacific Avenue because it is literally behind three other homes, and all you can see from Broadway is the back of the house up on a hill. Sure, the views are nice from the back of the house, but from the front you are looking at the back of three houses.

Anonymous said...

Ha, I often thought DW was Dryer/Washer.

Anonymous said...


Cut Mama some slack! For one thing there's the pesky Olympics with Michael Phelps in Speedos distracting Mama. Second, Mama ain't really up on things (can you believe that Mama had never heard of Jensen Ackles???).

Then, there's the whole "tech" thing. Mama prepares all of her stories on an abuse IBM Selectric typewriter and then attaches the written prose to carrier pigeons who wing to some off-shore sweat shop where some over-worked, under-paid furners get everything ready for the interwebs. A longer story like this can involve an unbelievable number of pigeons making countless round-trips. This all takes time!

Now that you understand, I hope you will forgive Mama. God knows she does the best she can.

Anonymous said...

Your Mamma - good reply. Wish you would say more to idiots on this site.

My first response was - what an odd place. After looking at it, it's quite interesting. Yes, the added elevator is weird but not a deal breaker. The connecting bathrooms is odd though. If both bedrooms have a bathroom, why connect the bathrooms together with a door? not very private. But I do like this place. Thanks for posting - even a month late.

Jesse said...

While not my style, I see how this house would appeal to a lot of people.

One thing I do not get is why all of the beds and baths are connected by pocket doors. I want my privacy!

The last thing I want if I have kids is them coming into my bedroom unannounced through a pocket door that I forgot to lock. Sexy time would take too much prep when it should be spontaneous.

(Yes, I actually chose to describe it as sexy time)

Unknown said...

if i may jump into the pathetic sweepstakes for a (ho)mo, Phillip Themhole's blogger profile indicates it's been viewed--drum roll please--12 times since March.

but really, a dutch colonial? i have been to Nicola Miner Anderson and Robert Mailer Anderson's digs over the years. modern and crisp, but warm. swooping lines in the interior and a lovingly collected and personal feeling art collection.

Anonymous said...

I love the inglenook fireplace, just as much as I enjoy a small breakfast nook with built-in seating in between a kitchen and dining room, such as one might find in some plans for those old Sears homes. I also love how you can navigate the entire second floor without ever actually entering the stair landing. I feel bad for the lower floor servants who had no way to wash their hands after using the lavatory if a different servant was using the bathtub. I think the street location is very bizarre but the views more than make up for it. The home next door seems to have underground parking available which might be a nice option for the new owners to consider.

Anonymous said...

Is it even posible to tear this down? Being in SF and if its historic, my guess would be no? Anyone??

Anonymous said...

Really Phillip- give mama a break! She's got a lot of chickens to take care of and a lot of martinis to make!

Anonymous said...

damn.....nice, a** house.

stolidog said...

it can be torn down. anything in san francisco can be torn down, you just have to pay a huge fine...billionaires don't mind.

bentley said...

I've never been a fan of Dutch Colonial exteriors, and the siting of this one leaves a lot to be desired, but I do like the interiors, especially the stair hall.

The window panes on the front of the house are dizzyingly awful while the windows on the rear of the house look gaping, robotic somehow.

Overall the place leaves me feeling wonky.

FalseProfit said...

"This is a stupid story about the real estate activities of a rich dude. It's nothing to get so worked up about."

I'm sorry. Somehow, I thought this was your profession. My bad.

Unknown Nobody: How many times has your profile been viewed? 4 Dropping Robert M. Anderson's name is only an admission that you're a pathetic troll who wishes he could hang out with a wannabe writer. Seriously, those people have achieved absolutely nothing in life, unless you think being born lucky is an achievement.

FalseProfit said...

The odds of this place being torn down are very slim. Evan Williams (Twitter Billionaire) is currently trying to tear down his home in Parnassus Heights, but his neighbors are putting the kibosh on that idea. It's not like Pincus is the only billionaire with a house on Outer Broadway. All the other billionaires on his block will likely thwart any plans to knock down any of those homes. Anyone who says otherwise, has no business commenting on SF real estate matters.

Petra's said...

Phillip, hunny, you sound like a bitter old queen! Darlin', go get laid! Get that ol' hole filled! And drink something to help you lose weight, while you're at it!

Naughty Nancy said...

It's called a sense of humor, Phillip. Mama has one, maybe you should check the local pooper for yours? She was kind enough to link over to your sad little blog even after you called her pathetic, and still didn't even receive a thank you or an apology from you.

Perhaps you should spend some time at your local shrink. Maybe then people would be more inclined to fill up your "holes".

FalseProfit said...

Wow, look at all of the hater out there! And, even getting at my sexual orientation? Who knew this site attracted so many hateful lowlifes? And for what? Making a few obvious corrections? BTW, nobody thanked me for bringing some much-needed accuracy to this site, so I suppose we should just call it even. Well, not until Momma comes to my office and finished this motion I'm working on.

Bitter is the vocabulary of envy.

Unknown said...

It does look very grand and majestic from the outside with those classy red bricks in frontal view. Hence, it is reasonable enough that the house is able to fetch such a hefty price figure. With its ample square feet of space, I am pretty sure there is bound to be a lot of storage space inside of it that would be perfect for my loads of junk that I have been hoarding all these years under my bed.