JUST LISTED I Idyllic Ross Opportunity

45 Poplar Avenue, Ross

First Time on the Market in 100 Years!
Offered at $1,395,000

A unique opportunity to build your dream home steps from downtown Ross. The property is coming to market for the first time in over 100 years.  Situated on a large flat lot, the current residence offers the chance to enlist a design/build team to create the ideal central Ross home.  Ross Park and the town’s biking/walking path and tennis courts can be directly accessed from a private gate at the rear of the property. Create a slice of Marin just for you! 

Appointment only.

  • Large flat lot: 9300 Square Feet along tree lined street
  • Private gate access to bike path and tennis courts
  • Steps to the award winning Ross K-8 School District 
  • Downtown Ross features a general store, coffee shop, restaurants, bike shop and more. Locals gather for a quick chat at the Post Office
  • Seasonal Farmers Market
  • Easy access to some of the best hiking/biking trails in Marin and Phoenix Lake

Lot size: 9,300 per Realist-Corelogic (not verified by agent or seller)
Please note: I have not verified any information contained within documents that were prepared by others. Buyer to independently verify.

 

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VIEW FROM THE TOP: RICHARD BEARD ARCHITECTS

 

"Every site tells you something different, and siting and locating a new house is a real art.  After many years, I’m happy with my record."

When meeting Richard Beard for the first time one perceives a sense of calm and good humor.  Recently visiting his new Dogpatch offices, it is clear why, as we peruse high-caliber past projects and current visions underway that cast light on a creative talent at the top of his game.  With his substantial body of work, Beard shows his understanding of the ability of truly listening, deftly assessing a site, and creating an interactive approach with his discerning clientele which engages and always inspires.  After working at BAR Architects and heading up their residential design department, Beard decided to open up his own shop, Richard Beard Architects, in 2014 to create a smaller studio environment specifically focused on residential design.  We found him in good spirits over lunch as he shared some personal insights on architecture and beyond.

CaenLucier: When did you first realize that you wanted to dedicate your career to architecture?

Richard Beard: That’s easy:  I was a teenager, working for a bricklayer in Houston, under the hot Texas summer sun.  It was a very Ayn Rand / Fountainhead moment.  Think about when Gary Cooper is looking up out of the stone quarry at Patricia Neal, and you’ve pretty much got it.

CL: After working at BAR Architects as a senior partner for many years and heading up the custom home residential design group, how are you now enjoying having your own firm?

RB: I’m enjoying it a lot.  I’m happy to have been a part of BAR’s growth and success over the years—they’re up to about 85 people now I believe—but it was time for me to take a new tack and move on to a smaller studio of architects primarily focused on residential design.  The size is great, as is my staff, and I’m most happy that we have a roster of great clients and projects. 

Soda Canyon, napa valley  collaboration with paul wiseman

Soda Canyon, napa valley collaboration with paul wiseman

Burwell House  Sonoma County

Burwell House Sonoma County

CL: What architecture around the world inspires you?

RB: Wow.  That’s a big one.  I’ve been fortunate to have traveled quite a bit for work and pleasure.  It’s not always just the architecture, but how the community of design and culture develops with it.  From my own home state, Texas, there is Marfa, and all of Donald Judd’s work.  Completely amazing.   Visit his former studio in New York (soho) sometime, too.  And Renzo Piano’s Menil collection—one of the most beautiful yet understated museums in the world.  The Kimball in Fort Worth.  These were all early inspirations. Houston when I was growing up was a big boom town and still is to a degree.  Gerald Hines was bringing in great architects for commercial projects—it was inspiring.

The Menil  Collection

The Menil Collection

But further afield, have you been to the Amalfi Coast and Naples?  While it’s full of tourists much of the time, there are amazing places there that really impress on quite human scales and emotions:  in Naples, the Certosa for instance.  Sublime.  And on the coast, the San Pietro Hotel, sitting on an unbelievably steep bluff, not entirely “designed” but more accrued over the years, is really great.  And then there’s Ravello, the Villa Cimbrone and gardens.  No wonder Gore Vidal lived nearby for so long.

Villa Cimbrone  and Gardens

Villa Cimbrone and Gardens

I’m also a big fan of Japan.  In particular there’s a wonderful island, Naoshima, in the Seto Sea, that is magical in many ways.  Art installations and Tadao Ando’s architecture really amaze you, and the juxtaposition with the little fishing village’s indigenous architecture makes for quite a place.  I’m glad it’s so hard to get to, otherwise it’d be over-run.

CL: That’s interesting that you mentioned Japan.  I notice that you’ve had some multi-family projects over a long time in Japan.  How is working over there, versus here, for instance?

RB: Well, there’s quite a difference.  My client in Japan values quality, design and operations to an amazingly high degree.  For over twenty years I’ve been working for them, with the exact same team of interior and landscape designers.  They’re an inspirational group, challenging and rewarding.  Japanese contractors are amazing.  I was visiting a recent project under construction—I couldn’t believe how clean everything was.  On each floor are two rolling carts that contain fire extinguishers and five or six brooms.  That should tell you something.  The workers practice group supporting drills every day.

Pacific Heights  Paul Weisman  and  Richard Beard  Collaboration

Pacific Heights Paul Weisman and Richard Beard Collaboration

To view the before and after photos of this amazing residence- Click Here

CL: This all sounds pretty great; what would you like to do if you were not an architect? 

RB: Hah!  Concert pianist, but I’m a terrible player.  Ditto tennis.  Rock star?  But then Paul said I’d look like Keith Richards.  Writer was and is always an attraction, both fiction and non-fiction.

CL: What are your reading now?

RB: Apart from keeping up with the ever challenging stack of New Yorkers, I’m currently re-reading some of Truman Capote’s early essays, profiles and observations.   He was a great writer back then.  Also Haruki Murakami, “After Dark.”   And “Rendez-vous with Art” by Philippe de Montebello.

CL: What is your favorite project that you have completed recently?

RB: I think the Cole House project in Calistoga is a favorite.  It’s a historic farmhouse (late 19th century) complex we’ve completely re-done, while keeping all the historic exterior historic pieces in tact.  Great clients.  And the project includes a historic, commercial chicken coop.  Try that one.!

Cole House  Calistoga

Cole House Calistoga

Abalone Cove  Big Sur

Abalone Cove Big Sur

Santa Lucia Preserve  California

Santa Lucia Preserve California

ICAA Julia Morgan Award Winning Residence 2014  Dolores Heights, San Francisco

ICAA Julia Morgan Award Winning Residence 2014 Dolores Heights, San Francisco

INSPIRED DESIGN: ERIC FRIEDMAN - RYAN ASSOCIATES

For over three decades Ryan Associates have built exceptional homes in San Francisco, the Napa Valley and beyond.  Having had the pleasure of representing a number of these properties for sale, CaenLucier reconnects with Eric Friedman of the San Francisco based firm to discuss highlights of past and current residential projects, a look behind the scenes at the art of fine building and the ins and outs of working with architects, designers and his noteworthy clientele. 

CaenLucier: You have worked with Ryan Associates for over two decades.  How has the profession of high end renovations grown/changed over the years?

Eric Friedman: I don’t think we’re able to print houses yet, but there’s plenty of amazing modeling software out there that really helps to communicate design intent as well as solve the possibility of certain construction problems. We commonly use software to program the CNC router that make perfect parts every time, but for the most part we still make things by hand.

CL: What sets Ryan apart from other builders in the Bay Area?

EF: I think if you talk to our subcontractors they will tell you that there are many fine builders in our community, but Ryan is a league apart.  They’ll tell you that we do all of the things required to help them be successful enabling them to do their best work.  We’ve worked really hard to forge these mutually beneficial subcontractor relationships, but ultimately our design partners and clients are the winners.

CL: What are the most common mistakes clients make when interviewing a general construction firm to build their home?

EF: The danger clients face is not understanding the consequences of hiring their team piecemeal.  They have to understand their motives and goals for the project and then need as much coaching as possible in unifying those interests in building their team. The traditional point of view of the owner is that you hire the architect first. The traditional approach works just fine if the architect believes, as we believe, that collaboration is a fundamental part of a successful project. One of the keys to our success has been our ability to team build on the client’s behalf.  It’s really a question of drawing out from the client what their top priorities are, what their design instincts are, and then start to match the correct design partners and resources.

CL: San Francisco has many talented designers and architects.  Who are a few of your favorites to work with?

EF: Our interest is in working with architects and designers who are invested in the collaborative process and who value the services we provide. We’re not attached to working with starchitects.

CL: How would you describe the perfect Ryan Associates client?

EF: The perfect Ryan client is clear around their goals, is invested in everybody being successful and wants to have fun along the way. It helps if they don’t think of themselves as a builder, designer or tradesperson.  Clients who understand they’re in a rarefied territory and rely on our expertise really get the best performance from us. 

CL: What is the most fun part of your job?

EF: I get to work with a range of incredibly talented and gifted people who inspire me on a daily basis.  Architects, engineers, all the makers and builders, but especially my co-workers for whom I have unlimited respect. It’s a really good feeling that comes when putting in an honest day working with our crew.

CL: Tell us something we don’t know about Ryan.

EF: We’re known for doing the big house on the hill, but our core business is the $1m to $5m remodel.  We are in the service business and are set up to do small projects and service work.  We want to take care of our clients’ homes forever regardless of the need.

CL: What is your most favorite project that you are working on right now?

We’re doing a modest but lovely 2,500 square foot bridge-to-bridge apartment on Russian Hill in a somewhat disintegrating 90 year old building.  The clients are so happy and excited that the good feeling has permeated the dozens of people that have contributed to the effort. It may or may not get published, however we’re very proud of what we’ve built.

VIEW FROM THE TOP: ANDY SKURMAN ARCHITECTS

Launching our monthly series featuring San Franciscans of note, CaenLucier sits down with the city's leading classical architect, Andrew Skurman, to discuss his reinterpretation of one of Pacific Heights' last existing duplex apartments.  2000 Washington Street, originally designed by Conrad Alfred Meussdorffer in 1922, is one of the city's landmark residential buildings. It grandly sits adjacent to Lafeyette Park and the Spreckels Mansion where Danielle Steele resides when in town. 

CaenLucier: You have had many projects at both 2000 Washington Street and its elegant neighbor 2006 Washington.  What is it about these buildings that inspire the classical traditions your firm embraces?

Andrew Skurman:  2000 and 2006 Washington were built in the 1920s, with no expense spared, and with the most elegant classical interiors. One of the the apartments was designed by Julia Morgan. They all have high ceilings, large column free spaces and orientations that allow for an effortless reconfiguration that takes advantage of the glamour of classical design. 

It is by the way possible to recreate a classical home in a very modern building, but it takes a lot more effort. In order to do that, a client of ours built a second set of classical French windows in front of the building's standard modern windows. It does work really well and one cannot imagine the bare sheet rock walls behind the paneling, moldings and details.

2006 Washington

CL:  As I remember, your clients purchased the full floor apartment completely gutted. Did this offer any advantages?

AS:  When an apartment is old and in bad condition, it might be less expensive and one can achieve better results by gutting it rather than changing just part of it. You are then completely free to redo all the electricity, heating, and plumbing to modern standards, and to conceive a completely different floor plan that takes advantage of every square inch of available space.

Gutting allows for a complete re-creation and the imagination of the client can really flow. But in buildings of quality, there usually are elements that should not be eliminated but reworked. I love to find charming elements to retain and build upon. It saves expense as well as maintaining the original historical beauty. In one of these apartments, we reconfigured everything except for a delicate and beautiful dining room. Which we restored with care.

One of the apartments at 2000 Washington Street is morphing into something different for the third time. When we first created it, it had dark wood, a colorful palette, and traditional furniture. Then, under the magic wand of Fisher-Weisman, it had a kind of a facelift, it was entirely painted white and became one of my favorite things: a classical background with modern furniture. We are now completing a third remodel on the same apartment! But our black and white marble floor in the entrance and many other features have remained through all the changes.

Andy Skurman

CL:  How do you feel your interior architecture decisions held up when the visual palette changed from traditional to contemporary after we sold it to our clients?

AS:  As an architect, it is wonderful to see a space you created evolve under the impetus of the new owner’s taste. There isn't just one kind of beauty, one esthetic or one architectural truth. I look forward to a diverse future, full of classical homes and homes that whisper their classicism.

CL:  What were your favorite aspects of the renovation when it was completed?

AS:  There is a gallery of arches, long and wide, which allows for the display of art better than a mere corridor. As one walks about 50’ through this 8’ wide space from the entrance hall to the living room, the view that pulls you forward is of the bay in it's full glory. The gallery has a quality of light that reminds me of one of my favorite places: the Vasari corridor, in Florence, that jumps from the Uffizi Gallery over the Arno river to the Palazzo Pitti.  This is where the museum exhibits self portraits of artists collected since the 16th century.

CL:  Were there any specific historical design elements that you incorporated into this project?

AS:  The language of classicism is so rich. The paneling details are from the Wren Period in England, a voluptuous raised panel. The pilasters are in a fancy Doric style from the baths of Caracalla in ancient Rome.The back and white patterned paving in the entrance hall was inspired by Robert Adam (an 18th century Scottish architect). The muntins on the French doors and windows reference the fretwork on Chippendale furniture. 

CL:  You and Paul Wiseman worked on this project together originally (prior to working with Fisher-Weisman seen in these images).  What was the experience like working with designers of your caliber?

AS:  Paul Wiseman has a huge palette of talents, from pure classical to modern. He can create the most detailed interior or a luxurious modern home with great art on the walls. He excels at everything he touches. We speak the same design language and share many references. We recently had dinner together and I enjoyed every minute.

Dining Room

CL:  You regularly visit your residence in Paris.  How does your exposure to the city's timeless elegance enhance your design vocabulary?

AS:  In my constant research of classical beauty, I love to roam around the Europe, scrutinizing and analyzing the details: in the cathedral of Reims, the integration of restored medieval stained glass windows, cohabiting with others made in 2011 by Imi Knooebel; in London the saucer domes of St. Paul, with their lacy edges, Wren’s simple yet sculptural solution to the ceiling of the nave. I can visit the same building many times, and there is always something new that catches my eye. 

Paris is a stopover from which I go to all the other countries, Italy, my most beloved, where I go every year, but also to Spain and England, Germany and Greece. I was in Greece this summer. The Parthenon was covered with cranes. What a beautiful image of the constant efforts, even in a country with considerable economic problems, to maintain our common patrimony. I mentally took in once more the proportions of the majestic columns and their orders.

CL:  What are your favorite projects that you are working on now?

AS:  We are currently working on an addition to building that is a national monument at a major East Coast university. More next time we talk…