Fate Brings San Francisco Couple to Midcentury Gem

From Margaret Everton on November 11, 2010 in San Francisco

san francisco gem

It was a chance encounter in a lumberyard followed by a conversation about mid-century homes that led Joanne Koch to encourage her friend, Pacific Union International agent Norah Brower, to check out 89 Southampton Ave. in Berkeley Hills. Strangely enough, that particular home was exactly what Brower’s clients, Jonathan Rubenstein and Karin Swann, were looking for. Coincidence? More like fate.

san francisco gem dining room

Designed by former Harvard architecture professor Gerald McCue, the 1959 gem has four bedrooms, 3.5 baths, and killer views of the city. The home had exactly what the couple was looking for and the potential for greatness—after they tackled a few renovations, of course. In an interesting turn of events, they ended up hiring Joanne Koch to handle the job.

Hoping to bring a touch of the outdoors inside, the couple redesigned the family room to include a massive skylight, and finished the master bedroom with new windows overlooking Mount Tam. They also added new landscaping to the front yard and a water feature to bring it all together.

san francisco fireplaceDesigner Shannon Torrey from Koch Architects lounges in the master bedroom

Energy efficiency was of paramount importance to the couple, who insisted on expanding the existing home solar system, adding energy efficient appliances, and new ductwork as well.

Today, the home looks more like a vacation retreat than a city dwelling—and that’s exactly how they like it.

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