‘Sumptuous’ ask in Clarendon Heights

Stained glass, tons of tile, intricate ceiling art among 1930s-era features listed for $9.5M

33 Mountain Spring Avenue, San Francisco (Steve Gallagher/Coldwell Banker Realty)
33 Mountain Spring Avenue, San Francisco (Steve Gallagher/Coldwell Banker Realty)

The $9.5-million ask for the longtime home of a noted earthquake geologist could shake up the San Francisco high-end home market, where a sleek minimalist look has long taken hold of the most expensive listings.

In contrast, the nearly 6,000-square-foot home at 33 Mountain Spring Avenue has an almost overwhelming assortment of details. With colorful tile, murals, an indoor fountain, painted ceilings and intricate woodwork, even listing agent Steve Gallagher of Coldwell Banker seemed at a loss for exactly how to categorize the “sumptuous” 1932 home.

“The home combines inspiration from the Italian Renaissance, Beaux Arts and Venetian Gothic styles that were popular in the early 30s,” he wrote in the listing notes. “It is dramatic and comfortable at the same time.”

33 Mountain Spring Avenue, San Francisco (Steve Gallagher/Coldwell Banker Realty)

33 Mountain Spring Avenue, San Francisco (Steve Gallagher/Coldwell Banker Realty)

The third-of-an-acre property––with numerous patios and an above-ground pool––sits atop Clarendon Heights. The $9.5-million ask is one of the most expensive ever in the high-altitude neighborhood surrounding Sutro Tower. It is a block down the hill from where the home that claimed to be the city’s highest above sea level sold for $17.5 million last year.

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33 Mountain Spring Avenue, San Francisco (Steve Gallagher/Coldwell Banker Realty)

33 Mountain Spring Avenue, San Francisco (Steve Gallagher/Coldwell Banker Realty)

The property has not been on the market in decades and was the long time home of Nancy and Lloyd Cluff, whose 2019 obituary described the latter as “the ultimate geopolitician” who twice chaired the California Seismic Safety Commission—once during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. For many years he was also the director of the geosciences department for PG&E.

Not surprisingly, a noted geologist in a city known for its earthquakes chose a property built on bedrock. But just how rock-solid is that $9.5-million ask? The decadent style of the home is what realtors would call “taste specific,” though the panoramic views and extra-large lot are certainly more universal selling features. The home came to market on April 29 and is not yet in contract in a city where the average days on market is about 15, according to Compass data, and some homes even at the high end are selling in a week.

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