Heading to a Sea Cliff home on the market for $15,375,000 involves a trip to the northwest edge of San Francisco. The quiet neighborhood boasts stately homes that sit over the water, offering some of the best views of the city.
Confused tourists sometimes wander through the streets of the posh neighborhood in an attempt to find the beach access they can see peeking from the back side of the many mansions. (It is possible to go in on foot, but entry is hard to find.)
It’s an exclusive enclave where notable neighbors have included Robin Williams, Sharon Stone, and Metallica’s Kirk Hammett. Cheech Marin is said to have lived in this very house while filming “Nash Bridges.”
Entering from the front gate, the mansion’s allure is immediately evident. A picture window allows views straight through the house to the ocean. The day I arrived to tour the home, the gloomy gray weather had lifted, and the afternoon light shone through just enough to showcase the jaw-dropping vistas of the Golden Gate Bridge, Marin Headlands, and Baker Beach, some of the most iconic city vistas imaginable.
The dramatic views aren’t the only drama surrounding the home, which had once reportedly been owned by Luke Brugnara, a real estate investor who faced legal troubles and served prison time.
The property debuted on the market in 2016 for $19.7 million, but its price has steadily dropped over the years. Last year, the 7,170-square-foot home surfaced for $17.5 million. And now, it’s come back with over $2 million chopped from the price.
Although it will require some work, the property might be considered a bargain, given the comparables. A home next door, which was totally renovated and featured such modern amenities as a home theater and a glassed-in basketball court, sold last year for $24 million.
But this home from 1926 will need quite a face-lift before it can command that type of price. Still, as fixer uppers go, this one has a lot going for it.
“It’s a trophy house,” says the Compass listing agent, Mark Levinson. “When we were kids, we would call these homes ‘movie star homes.’”
The vacant abode, which had once faced foreclosure, is currently owned by a bank.
“It’s a good value,” Levinson says of the newly lowered price.
But the ask acknowledges that extensive work will be needed to bring this aging beauty back to its former glory.
Levinson estimates that a minimum of $3 million would be required to bring the home up to date. A true gut renovation would cost millions more. But with a complete makeover, a buyer could reap a great reward.
In the agent’s eyes, “This is a $25 million house when done,” he says.
One of the most striking features of the property is the private walled path down to the beach, which takes about a minute on foot to descend, either to lapping waves or a sandy beach, depending on the tide. For those who have ever walked along Baker Beach, the distinct copper color of the walls and the house perched on the cliff stand out.
The outdoor space includes multiple terraces and even a lookout to take in the pelicans overhead and views of the water below.
As for the interior, the home has been refreshed for its close-up with potential buyers. It’s been cleaned, painted, the floors have been finished, cracked windows replaced, and the kitchen has been updated with stainless-steel appliances and granite counters.
Levinson told us that the next owner will probably replace everything in the place, from top to bottom. The four-level floor plan with an elevator includes what Levinson calls a “pentroom” on the top floor. It features beamed and vaulted ceilings and opens out to a terrace.
The main living area includes a wood-burning fireplace and those awe-inspiring views of the Pacific. A formal dining room is adjacent to the wet bar and kitchen, which includes a butler’s pantry and breakfast nook. The master suite with ocean views comes with a marble bathroom and custom closet.
On the lower level are a game room and wine cellar, as well as a bedroom suite. Other features include a two-car garage, as well as an elevator that connects to all levels.
Despite the recent update to spiff up the place a bit, the listing details call the space a “blank canvas” and “a rare opportunity to create your dream home on one of the few oceanfront sites” of Sea Cliff.
And that one-of-a-kind oceanfront spot will be what finally clinches a deal.
“You are on the best location,” Levinson says. “You have the ocean. It’s like being on vacation.”