This Building Is Poised to Be the Hottest Address in San Francisco

Designer Ken Fulk talks about his latest project and gives T&C an exclusive look at the interior. (by SAM DANGREMOND)


“San Francisco is my adopted home,” says interior decorator Ken Fulk, who’s lived in the city for 20 years. “I care deeply about this mythical, magical place.”

Fulk was just off a plane from Los Angeles, where he’d been up until 5am the night before attending Oscars after-parties. He’s no stranger to a glittering crowd—the well-connected designer has become the go-to style arbiter for clients whose names reportedly include Pincus, Birch, Traina, Tolia, and Parker.

His newest project is the Harrison, a 49-story, 298-unit luxury residential tower in Rincon Hill that will be his first design for a condominium. Fulk has the title of creative director, which means he was involved with everything from “the outfits the valets wear” to “the coasters you put your drink on” in the Sky Lounge, a private rooftop club for the building’s residents. (He also oversaw the design of The Battery, a private members club that opened two years ago, and has partnered with Major Food Group on new projects).

“Inside we tried to thread that needle so it feels interesting and modern but also reflective of San Francisco’s storied past,” Fulk says. “I’m a storyteller. I wanted the spaces to feel as if they had evolved overtime: engaging and fresh, yet also familiar.”

Below, a look at the property, including never-before-seen renderings.

A Living Roomharrison1


A Kitchenharrison2


The Lobbyharrison3


The Exterior Entranceharrison4


A Bedroomharrison5


A Bathroomharrison6




Posted in Bay Area Real Estate, Lifestyle, Luxury Homes, San Francisco | Comments Off on This Building Is Poised to Be the Hottest Address in San Francisco

Top 3 Tuesday: Coffee Shops in Marin

It’s Top 3 Tuesday! Here are my 3 favorite spots to enjoy a latte in Marin!

1. Equator Coffee & Tea



2. Cibo


3. Fairfax Coffee Roastery

ff coffee roastery





Posted in Lifestyle, Top 3 Tuesday | Comments Off on Top 3 Tuesday: Coffee Shops in Marin

Tiburon Home Sets Record with $13M Sale

After just two weeks on the market, a new modern home at 1860 Mountain View Drive in Tiburon set records when it closed at $13 million, according to co-listing agent Scott Woods of Pacific Union (he brokered the deal with Bill Smith). This is the largest reported sale in the last 10 years in this Marin County city. Andre Agassi’s former estate changed hands for $20 million back in 2004, but that was a private transaction. At $2,888 per square foot, the house in question holds the price-per-square-foot record for any Tiburon sale, on market or off (it measures 4,500 square feet). It was originally listed at $13.5 million.

The living room at 1860 Mountain View Drive has large windows providing an incredible view of the San Francisco Bay. 

Vast expanses of glass allow the home to open up to the incredible views.

Woods, who lives in the neighborhood, says the price and the house itself has everyone buzzing. The house (built by Lowell and Jacquie Strauss, owners of Amalfi construction) is very high-end. “They built a custom home that an end user would build,” says Woods. “It’s an entirely higher level of construction, and they picked each and every finish.” Architect David Kotzebue designed the home and John Merton of Studio Green created the outdoor spaces on the half-acre lot.



This is the second time the Strauss family has developed a luxury home in Tiburon. Two years ago, they built a home nearby at 460 Ridge Road and sold it for just under $9 million. They are already planning another custom home in Ross at 9 Woodside Way.

The buyer’s identity has not been revealed, but we’ve been told it’s a single person from the East Coast. The buyer was represented by Deborah Svoboda and Danielle Chavanon of Sotheby’s International Realty.



1860 Mountain View Drive [Official Site]

All photos courtesy Vince Valdes

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Tiburon Home Sets Record with $13M Sale

To Panic or Not to Panic: Think the Bay Area’s Real Estate Market Has the Jitters?

selma hepp

Executive Summary

  • The 2018 Pacific Union Real Estate Economic Forecast called for market “normalization,” with cumulative home price growth of 10 percent over the next three years. The market is still on track for this appreciation.
  • Stock-market volatility is primarily driven by oversupply of oil in the global markets. Volatility will persist a little longer until markets adjust.
  • China is doing just fine — still growing at over 6 percent, with jobs and incomes increasing steadily.
  • U.S. economic fundamentals are still strong, with exceptional job growth.
  • Consumers are happy, but businesses are concerned about the strong dollar.
  • In the San Francisco Bay Area, Pacific Union’s business is off to a good start, with prices 13 percent higher than last January and units sold up 16 percent
  • We are seeing higher activity in lower price ranges helped by low mortgage rates and job growth. Higher price segments may see some impact later this year if the stock market remains at today’s levels.

What Happened Since Pacific Union’s 2018 Real Estate Economic Forecast Last November

  • At the 2018 Pacific Union Real Estate Economic Forecast in November of last year, we talked about what’s to come in the next couple of years for Bay Area housing markets. One main theme that emerged was “normalization” of the technology growth in the Bay Area and its potential impact on home sales and price appreciation. The conclusion suggested that housing markets are expected to normalize, with home prices and sales continuing to grow at a steady but slower pace. Home prices are expected to grow about 10 percent cumulatively over the next three years.
  • Since the forecast in November 2015, financial-market volatility has sent shivers down our spines, leading to many questions about what’s to come.

What Is Causing the Stock-Market Volatility?

  • Most of the volatility in the financial markets is coming from falling oil prices. During the first three weeks of January, oil-futures prices declined 27 percent. Over the last two years, the price of a barrel fell from over $100 to $27. That’s pretty staggering! The main reason for the drop in oil prices is the oversupply of oil in the global market, as well as an oil-production boom in the U.S. In the chart below, the U.S. (the blue line) is now the largest producer of oil globally. Production of oil has increased to an all-time high, growing by over 1 million barrels of oil between July 2014 and July 2015.

2014 petrol and oil chart

  • At the same time, the other oil-producing countries have not scaled down their production as a result of the oversupply, which is how they usually control prices. OPEC is in the process of vigorous negotiations over limiting production in an effort to stop oil prices from continuing to stumble. However, competition for influence and market share has grown fierce for OPEC countries, which is keeping their oil production elevated. Hence, the oversupply is expected to continue over the next few years, and markets will have to go through a period of adjustment.
  • However, there is something to be said about fast money and technological advancement, which have allowed investors to move monies instantaneously on any spook. For example, anticipation over higher Federal Reserve rates led those looking for a quick return to move their monies into banks in anticipation of higher rates. However, since the rates have not budged and have actually fallen, the money moved as quickly out of the banks. This is another cause of volatility.
  • As a result of this volatility and fears over poor economic results in emerging markets, demand for U.S. currency denomination (for example, treasuries) keeps growing, causing the dollar to strengthen. A strong dollar is bad for our trading partners and it further perpetuates slower growth abroad, which can in turn have a bad impact on the U.S. economy. The good news is that the U.S. dollar has begun to weaken slightly, which may help dispel some fears.

What’s Going on in China?

  • Some have argued that oil oversupply is due to a slowdown in demand for oil from China. However, Chinese consumption has been on a solid upward trend for several decades. And though the pace of annual increases has slowed in last couple of years, China continues to consume increasing amounts of oil. Keep in mind that China was going through a major industrialization process over that period, and it is natural that consumption would eventually slow as industrialization reaches a certain point. China is still growing strong though, at a staggering rate of 6 to 7 percent. Also, the main reason for the slowing of consumption of oil is that the Chinese economy is moving from mainly relying on construction and industrial growth to relying on service-industries growth. Chinese people are richer than they were before, and their consumer spending is showing positive signs, hence supporting the service-industries growth. Income and job growth are solidly moving upward.

Should We Be Worried?

  • Despite volatility, recent U.S. economic data points to continued growth ahead. Most importantly, job growth remains strong. The last jobs report showed the unemployment rate falling below 5 percent (considered full employment) and more people participating in the labor force. Also, people are working longer hours and are more likely to quit a job in pursuit of something better. This means that the pressure on wages that John Burns discussed at the November forecast is coming to fruition.
  • California continues to grow employment at one of the fastest paces in the country. With 60,400 jobs added in December, job growth in 2015 reached an amazing 459,400 net new positions. This marks the fourth year in a row that California has added more than 400,000 jobs and also marks the largest job gain of any state. The chart below shows the year-over-year changes in the tech sector, which is still growing at a healthy 5.2 percent.

ca tech employment chart


  • Business and consumers have different perspectives on the state of the economy, though. Consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of GDP, showed impressive numbers in January. Lower oil prices and lack of inflation are helping with retail sales growth and not just with the purchase of new automobiles. There are also signs of income growth, and mortgage rates continue to remain incredibly low. This is all good news for U.S. consumers.
  • Businesses, on the other hand, have been more concerned about the future. A strong dollar has not been helpful for U.S. businesses selling abroad. With less demand coming from overseas and volatility in the market, businesses are showing less confidence and anticipate slowing of job formation. However, it’s hard to draw any conclusions about the entire year ahead based on data that comes in January, and particularly if the winter was harsh in some parts of the country. Generally, many economic indicators are reported at the national level, yet indicators that have been disaggregated by regions of the country have shown the West outperforming other regions for several years now.
  • Housing is still a really bright spot in the economy, both locally and nationally.

Where Do We Stand in February 2016?

  • In the Bay Area, we continue to see some strong numbers for January. The California Association of Realtors’ January report showed single-family home prices for the region continuing to soar at double-digit rates year over year. Pacific Union real estate professionals report similar price increases, with average prices 13 percent higher among properties sold by our firm when compared with the same time last year. Sales of single-family homes have also shown advances, growing by almost 7 percent from last year, according to CAR. Pacific Union professionals have had a better year with sales and sold 15 percent more homes this January than last one. Also, many clients are facing delays related to new Consumer Financial Protection Board regulations, with sales being pushed to spring months.
  • Still, we cannot generalize across all price segments. Preliminary data shows that homes priced below $1.5 million are seeing much more activity than homes priced between $2 million and $5 million. Affordability remains the main concern in the Bay Area, and homes in the lower price range are being buoyed by very favorable mortgage interest rates.
  • In fact, what’s still giving everyone a headache is the lack of inventory. Pacific Union listings are down 9 percent for the first 50 days of this year. We are in the third year of extremely low inventory in the Bay Area, with markets like Santa Rosa showing less than half a month of supply. Pacific Union professionals, however, suggest that spring may open some doors, with more listings in sight. Data on single-family permitting also suggests that we may be seeing more homes available for sale in the East Bay and San Francisco, with both areas showing more than a 23 percent increase in permits in December from last year. New permits in San Jose are much slower to catch up and have only increased 5 percent during the same time.

What Are the Concerns?

  • At the 2015 forecast event, we also talked about “normalization” of IPO valuations and uncertainty of what will happen to increasingly unsubstantiated valuations. It is still very hard to predict where these “unicorns” are going to land. In other words, how much appetite will investors continue to have for “unicorns”?
  • We do know that the stock market is down about 10 percent from last year. While the volatility in the stock market will probably persist a little longer, making it very hard to predict where it will stabilize, some correction has been anticipated for a while. The problem for the Bay Area stems from the fact that the housing market is relatively more sensitive to the stock-market-wealth effects than in other area of the country (previous academic research by Richard Green from University of Southern California has confirmed this).
  • That means that if the stock market stabilizes at a lower level than last year, we may see some softness later this year. The softness will not be uniform across all price tiers, however, and will primarily impact sales in the range between $2 million and $5 million. Lower price ranges will continue to benefit from strong job growth, advantageous mortgage rates, and high demand among younger buyers in search for more affordable housing. Sales of homes priced above $5 million will also see a lesser impact, as the wealth among those buyers is more diversified and less reliant on the stock market’s movements.

All in all, we are off to a solid start for the housing market in the Bay Area. Stock-market volatility will persist for a little while longer, but economic fundamentals remain strong for the region. Barring some unexpected market surprises, we anticipate to remain on track for 10 percent cumulative appreciation over the next three years, which certainly aligns with the idea of “normalization” when compared to the past several years.

Selma Hepp is Pacific Union’s Vice President of Business Intelligence. Her previous positions include Chief Economist at Trulia, senior economist for the California Association of Realtors and economist, and manager of public policy and homeownership at the National Association of Realtors. She holds a Master of Arts in Economics from the State University of New York (SUNY), Buffalo and a Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning and Design from the University of Maryland.

Posted in Bay Area Real Estate, Market Reports, News, Pacific Union International, Real Estate | Comments Off on To Panic or Not to Panic: Think the Bay Area’s Real Estate Market Has the Jitters?

Top 3 Tuesday: Adventure Travel Companies

As you start to contemplate your next vacation, consider using a boutique travel company for a perfectly curated and unforgettable experience. These three companies are my personal favorites for planning an active and memorable getaway.

1. Backroads

There’s a reason Backroads is the #1 adventure travel company in the world! I have been on several of their excursions and I cannot wait for the next.



2. Indagare

Indagare is my personal travel company. I could not fathom planning a trip without them.


3. National Geographic Student Expeditions

If you are looking for a great experience for your teenagers, National Geographic Student Expeditions is our family favorite.



Posted in Lifestyle, Top 3 Tuesday | Comments Off on Top 3 Tuesday: Adventure Travel Companies

Pacific Union’s January 2016 Real Estate Update

Bay Area home shoppers who ventured out in the first month of 2016 were in luck, as the months’ supply of inventory (MSI) of homes for sale expanded in every one of our regions. However, all of our markets still favor sellers, with the exception of Lake Tahoe/Truckee, where plenty of properties await buyers who want to take advantage of the copious snowfall the region is enjoying.

Marin County

At $935,000, January marked the first time in 11 months that the median sales price in Marin County dropped below $1 million. The average home sold for 96 percent of its original price, nearly identical to the previous two months.

Homes sold in an average of 53 days, while the MSI nearly doubled from December, climbing to 1.7.

jan2016 forecast

Defining Marin County: Our real estate markets in Marin County include the cities of Belvedere, Corte Madera, Fairfax, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Larkspur, Mill Valley, Novato, Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Sausalito, and Tiburon. Sales data in the adjoining chart includes single-family homes in these communities.



Posted in Bay Area Real Estate, Pacific Union International | Comments Off on Pacific Union’s January 2016 Real Estate Update

Top 3 Tuesday: Top 3 Après-Ski Spots in Lake Tahoe

Enjoying Ski Week at Lake Tahoe? Don’t miss out on these 3 great après-ski spots:

1. Plump Jack Café

plump jack

2. West Shore Café

west shore cafe

3. Sunnyside Restaurant & Lodge





Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Top 3 Tuesday: Top 3 Après-Ski Spots in Lake Tahoe

Most expensive San Francisco homes sold in 2015

The number of luxury homes on the market in San Francisco “hit all-time highs in October, ” according to data from Paragon Real Estate. That means luxury homes became a “buyer’s market,” but that doesn’t mean there were too many bargains to be had. In fact, plenty of staggeringly large sales closed in 2015.

In May, a Pacific Heights mansion sold for an eye-popping $31 million, making it the biggest single-family home sale of the year. (That’s more than double the amount paid for a 30,200-square-foot Tendernob building at 750 O’Farrell St. in December.)

Almost all of the most expensive single-family homes sold last year are concentrated in Pacific Heights, with the exception of 80 McLaren, which is located in Sea Cliff. Excluding the mansion sale, the most expensive homes sold in 2015 ranged from $17.1 million to $11.5 million in price.

And, if you’re curious about who’s throwing around this kind of cash, tough luck: most of the buyers’ and sellers’ identities are hidden behind shell companies and family trusts.

1: 2701 Broadway – $31 Million

2701 Broadway

2: 2780 Broadway -$17.1 Million

2. 2780 Broadway

3: 2950 Vallejo St.- $16.76 Million

3. 2950 vallejo

4: 2950 Pacific Ave. – $16 million

4. 2950 Pacific

5: 3385 Jackson St. – $13.5 million

5. 3385 jackson

6: 2900 Vallejo St. – $12.5 million

6. 2900 vallejo

7: 3015 Pacific Ave. – $12 million

7. 3015 Pacific

8: 2939 Vallejo St. – $12 million

8. 2939 vallejo

9: 80 McLaren Ave. – $11.575 million

9. 80 mclaren

10: 2010 Jackson St. – $11.5 million

10. 2010 jackson


Google Maps

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Most expensive San Francisco homes sold in 2015

Top 3 Tuesday: Best Winter Waterfall Hikes in Marin

Recent rains have accentuated the beauty of these local waterfall trails. Check out my top 3 picks for a scenic and serene winter hike.

1. Cataract Falls, Fairfax

Popular and surprisingly strenuous the hiking the trails around Cataract Falls are worth it for the stunning views.

cataract falls


2. Alamere Falls, Pt. Reyes National Seashore

As only one of two California waterfalls that feeds directly to the Pacific Ocean, Alamere Falls is an impressive 40 foot waterfall in the Pt. Reyes National Seashore Park that boasts beautiful views.

alamere falls

3. Cascade Falls, Mill Valley

Easily accessed from downtown Mill Valley, this trail offers peaceful views of both redwoods and waterfalls.

cascade falls



Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Top 3 Tuesday: Best Winter Waterfall Hikes in Marin

A Super Bowl 50 Traffic Survival Guide


Yes! The Super Bowl is coming to the Bay Area but you’ll probably be most affected if you are trying to get to work or go to the events planned in downtown San Francisco.

Although the game itself is at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, San Francisco is hosting a one week pre-party the week before.

San Francisco Pre-Party

Super Bowl City is a fan village that will be centered at Justin Herman Plaza and take up a large area across the street from the Ferry Building.

 Since this event is free for all to attend, it is expected to draw large crowds.

Market Street will be closed for eight days from January 30 to February 7 for several blocks leading to Justin Herman Plaza. Many Muni busses and street cars will be rerouted to nearby Mission Street.

The bottom line: I’d avoid driving downtown anywhere near the Embarcadero and the Ferry building.

The best way to get to Super Bowl City is to take transit. Taking BART is convenient. The Embarcadero station is right there in the middle of Super Bowl City. If you live in the city just take any of the lines that terminate at the Ferry Building. Although the closures might reroute those lines, they will get you super close to the action.

If you still insist on driving be prepared to pay more for parking at all the garages anywhere close to the fan village. The best bet is to try the 5th and Mission garage. It’s either a healthy walk or a short bus ride from there down Mission Street to the Embarcadero.

This garage might be sold out early though. The NFL Experience, another fan event, will be at Moscone Center the week before the game. Although this event is not free, it is expected to draw large crowds as well.

Taking the ferry to San Francisco is also a decent option. The Ferry building is right across the street from Super Bowl City.

If you’re planning to get a hotel room in the city it may be too late. Many Hotels have been sold out for months surrounding these events. This is where you ask friends/parents to crash with them, stay in places like Oakland or Daly City and “commute” to the event, or make other arrangements.

Learn more about getting to Super Bowl City and the NFL Experience here.

Getting to Work

What if you are just trying to get to your job in downtown San Francisco? The best bet is to not use the Embarcadero BART station. Who wants to see all those happy people going to Super Bowl City while you have to put in a 9 to 5?

The Montgomery Station is just a few blocks away and the Powell Street Station a little bit farther. Bring comfortable walking shoes. A little walking will help you avoid crowds associated with this event.

Keep in mind your commuter Ferry ride to the city may be more crowded than usual. What would be more frustrating than showing up to take the Ferry only find it’s been sold out? This is the week to get to the Ferry early and pre-pay for your tickets.

Driving? That garage you park in may be sold out when you get there or be charging higher rates during the week leading up to the Super Bowl.

Going to the Game

If you happen to be lucky enough to score a ticket to the game (it could happen), you can drive there and park in the many lots near Levi’s Stadium.

There will be no tailgating allowed at any of the NFL sanctioned lots at Levi’s Stadium and the private lots may also not allow it that day.

Super Bowl organizers have schedule “Fan Express” shuttle buses to Levi’s Stadium from several hotels all over the Bay Area.

For $55 you can take a bus and forget about parking or driving yourself. You can see the schedule and locations here.

Regular public transportation will also work including VTA, Caltrain, and Amtrak Capitol Corridor service.




Photo by: Heather Wells

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on A Super Bowl 50 Traffic Survival Guide