(415) 730-3030 [email protected]

920 Powell St, San Francisco

Exterior (before): The home and its architectural features were hidden behind overgrown trees. Views from inside were blocked and tree branches came in when a window was opened.

Exterior (after): An arborist found the right balance between restoring views, inviting in more natural light and maintaining privacy in the front. The home was now recognizable and present from the street, as was intended.

Front entry (after): We’re missing a before shot, but here’s the sparkly front entry after it was power washed, painted and we polished the brass. Original bricks are handsome against the freshly painted ornate ironwork and large lamp, a hint to the grandeur waiting inside.

Powder room (before): Not sure of the original intent of this remodel gone wild, but I’d call it an overpowering combination of bamboo, copper, chrome, marble and gold finishes.

Powder room (after): Our designer called for a clean, contemporary finish while maintaining the deep, rich marble flooring and shower surround. Removing wallpaper and installing new finishes went a long way.

Living room bar (before): This gold and brown bar space brought down the overall impression of the room. Let’s just say the designer had some unique taste. Not only that, the sink bottom and drain were entirely rusted through.

Living room bar (after): Our designer again chose a clean, bright, classic look in brushed nickel with undermount sink.

Dining room (before): Not a fan of the pink/salmon colors, with heavy window shutters and an overgrown, light-obstructing tree outside. The chandelier was also too dated, heavy and ornate—extra visual calories with no benefit.

Dining room (after): Elegant, clean and contemporary, while still taking advantage of the lovely crown moldings, mirrored wall and hardwood floors.

Eat-in nook (before): This corner of the kitchen had potential that wasn’t being used.

Eat-in nook (after): With no budget to replace the bench cushion, we made do. Letting in more light and view made all the difference.

Kitchen (before): The counters seemed a bit cold, almost commercial bathroom-like in appearance.

Kitchen (after): Our designer chose a richer color for the walls that accentuated the counter tops and brought them to life in a more pleasing contemporary coloration.

Master bedroom (before): Nothing to get excited about.

Master bedroom (after): That’s better—staged for relaxation and to highlight the beautiful city view.

Master bathroom (before): Showing its age and need for a cleaner, brighter look.

Master bath counter (after): Fresh, crisp and clean with new mirror, faucets and counter

Family room (before): Tenant had used the room as an office with electrical and communication wires crisscrossing the floor, creating a commercial feel.

Family room (after): Now a gracious space with beautiful garden outside the French doors.

Stair landing on 4th level (before): A pleasant space in need of brightening and staging.

Stair landing on 4th level (after): New lights and decor made the landing a showplace.

Hallway (before): A bit of a nothingness, insignificant space.

Hallway (after): We increased the lighting, removed the window covering and trimmed trees. Now we’re talking.

Spiral staircase: A stunning feature of this 1913 Nob Hill home.

Site Conditions

  • Rented for many years at $12K/mo., now unable to get $10K
  • Previous property manager attempted to sell with no success
  • Craig signed listing, then home fell into litigation, no funds available 
for improvements
  • Small, 80-year-old elevator could fit only people under 6 feet tall
  • Estate’s attorney went to probate court many times for conflicts between heirs, 
outcome was very uncertain

Results of Our Work

  • After a year of delays from litigation, we finally marketed the home
  • Got creative on upgrading only the most unattractive components, leaving nearly all counters and floors, remediating surrounding materials and elements
  • Repaired multiple leaks, damaged hardwood floors and more, involving every imaginable tradesperson and discipline

The Numbers

  • Listed $ 3.199M
  • Sold $ 3.6M
  • Offers – 2
  • Days on market – 21

In It for the Long Haul

Nearly 18 months from when we were introduced, longtime litigation was resolved and the home sold.

To secure a great return for the estate, we presented the property as well maintained, contemporary and livable. 

The unique spiral staircase was the centerpiece and pleased many visitors. On the downside, it took up an extraordinary amount of space, causing a choke point in the very narrow hallway. The wall of mirrors on every floor was not just for esthetics, they kept the imposing space from tipping into claustrophobic.

Ultimately, the home was snapped up because of the great location, unique architecture and its high-society flavor.

Craig’s favorite aspect of this project was how hard the probate attorney fought for her client. She didn’t take any guff, period. She appeared before the court, battled with opposing counsel and vehemently protected her client. Craig said, “I admire and am just a little afraid of her fierceness. I’ve never seen anyone so confident in her own abilities, yet eager to leave the details to the experts and seek my input. The family was very happy with the result.”

920 Powell Street Resurfacing Plan

TaskCostDescription
Exterior Work$2,900Arborists trim tree obstructing view. Wash exterior. Paint lower portion of home front and entry gate. Wash front stairs and light fixture. Polish brass components. Clean glass. Apply anti-slip grip to front stairs.
Interior Painting$8,400Patch and sand, paint select walls. Some just handwashed and touched-up. Clean and paint throughout all 4 floors of the home, including garage floor, laundry room and more. Designer-chosen colors.
Hardwood Flooring$3,200Remove water-damaged boards from entry level. Surgical replacement throughout home in marked areas. Replace damaged wood at two staircase landings.
Plumbing Repairs$3,200Investigate leaks along front hall causing floor damage. Replace and repair as needed.
New Interior Lights$2,920Install LED recessed cans and track lighting with brushed nickel finish.
Master Bathroom$2,900Install new base cabinet, stone counter, undermount sinks and new faucets. Install wall-mounted mirror and LED brushed nickel light fixture (mounted over glass). Remove existing glass enclosure at shower. Paint room.
Elevator Repairs and Servicing$1,880During court proceedings, kept service contract for 18 months for initial repairs and ongoing maintenance.
All Bathrooms$3,900Replace old caulking. Install new vinyl flooring over existing. Replace baseboards as necessary. Polish all finishes, hardware and glass surfaces. Professionally clean. Check for leaks.
Professional Cleaning, Power Washing$1,300Interior cleaning of all appliances, surfaces, bathroom, filters and lights. Wash windows inside and out. Power wash exterior brick staircase, etc.
Total$30,600All work completed in 21 business days. Advanced planning of 2 weeks to line-up all work, secure dates.
* Professional staging $11,800

See how we presented the property

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About Craig Ackerman