Luxury Outlook 2022
An ambitious exploration into high-end residential markets across the globe.
In 1848, New York phrenologist Orson S. Fowler published a book titled “The Octagon House, A Home for All,” in which he argued that compared to their four-sided cousins, eight-sided homes were healthier—with plentiful windows and a cupola to let in more natural light and fresh air—and more economical—the octagonal shape maximizing interior space and creating a more efficient floor plan. Fowler’s book inspired the construction of thousands of structures across the country, including this enduring home—one of two remaining octagonal dwellings in San Francisco. Built by George Kenny in the 1850s, it now functions as two sophisticated residences with versatile modern floor plans and could easily be reinstated as one magnificent home. As a reminder of its historic provenance, the Feusier Octagon House anchors the city’s Russian Hill–Paris Block Architectural District and is steps from North Beach and the shops, cafes, and restaurants of Hyde and Polk Streets.
San Francisco, California | Janet Feinberg Schindler, Sotheby’s International Realty – San Francisco Brokerage
The main floor offers four flexible “salons”: a living room with a marble fireplace, a library or music room with built-in bookshelves, a family room featuring a marble-faced fireplace and an adjoining bar or office, and a dining room with a marble fireplace and French doors opening to a south-facing terrace that spirals to a patio amid the property’s spectacular gardens.
The bright south-facing kitchen is located on the level above and features granite countertops and appliances from GE, Sub-Zero, Wolf, Bosch, and Maytag. Private quarters are also secluded on the upper level and consist of a spacious guest bedroom with a bay window and a primary suite with two closets, sunny south- and west-facing windows, and a delightful bath with classical tilework and appointments. A flight of stairs leads to the home’s charming cupola which provides a unique perspective out across the city toward the bay.
An interior staircase off the central hallway accesses the lower floor. This level enjoys a private entrance and offers two bedrooms with verdant garden outlooks; an open kitchen with a large pantry; an office; and a great room with French doors to an inviting garden patio.
Time-honored details endure throughout the building, from a wrought-iron gate at the sidewalk’s edge and the front porch’s stately columns to carved newel posts, classical balustrades, ornate crown moldings and ceiling medallions, and dazzling crystal chandeliers. The property’s glorious mature gardens are a truly perennial oasis amid the bustling city. A path threads the lush green lawn and leads to the carriage house—now a two-car garage accessible from Leavenworth Street and accompanied by a covered open-air “room” that would make an ideal art studio; fitness, gardening, or play area; or other space that accommodates the varied needs of today’s unique lifestyle.