Our very first job in San Francisco!

1043 Steiner Street, San Francisco, Ca

The location...

The misterious boy...

The mystery is unveiled!

Could you see who he was? We were so thrilled when we knew we were going to restore the wood flooring of the house that once belonged to Yehudi Menuhin,  famous violinist.

The new owners - the ones we worked for - accepted to tell us something about their famous and fabulous house.

We hope you will enjoy it!

The true story.  No details were spared...

"We purchased a lovely San Francisco Victorian in the historic Alamo Square District of San Francisco. In 1997.  However, it was in a most unusual way.  A friend of mine was perusing the Chronicle's "distressed property section" and saw a listing for 1043 Steiner Street.  Looking more closely at anything like this was something none of us had ever done before but since we all knew the property, and liked it, I decided to explore the issue further.  I am not certain the work "explore" is a correct descriptor, however, for my experience.

The former owner of the house had not paid his mortgage in 2 years and had defrauded the IRS of 500 K or so.  The IRS took possession and put the house on the chopping block.  I was in my office and, as Serendipity would have it, 3 patients cancelled on the morning the auction came up.  On a lark I sailed over and sat down blithely upping the ante until I got the house.  I found out later that the professional sharks there thought I was an idiot.  How right they were.

Minutes later I learned that I had to immediately come up with cash for 10% of the purchase price of the house followed by the second bit of shocking news:  the rest of the amount had to be handed over to the IRS in cash within 28 days or the original sum I was now paying would be taken by them and the house sold again. 

I don't know if you have had to collect and wheelbarrow over several hundred thousands of dollars (all without the ability to get a mortgage since you do not actually have title for the house) but I would not suggest you engage in this for the sake of your heart.  Rest be assured "success" was achieved.

After a fashion.  The former owner and his Entourage, drugs and rifles were still well ensconced in 1043 Steiner.  He refused to leave.  The details of what follows are worth a novel or movie in the style of Pacific Heights but I am saving that for my agent.  All you need to know is that our men in Blue, the SFPD refused to help in any way.  About a year later, paying two mortgages, multiple death threats we managed to finagle the Sheriff's Dept. into getting him out.

Now I was in the house.  A relief?  I think not.  The former Owner/Disbarred Lawyer/Drug Overlord had his minions attempting to break in and repossess the house at all hours.  I had to hire the police, off duty to be there every evening for about a month.  Stories a-go-go, again for my Agent and near heart failure or stroke  with regularity.

The rest of the story is one of compulsive and extreme renovation.  The Uncharitable would suggest "this way lies madness, I should avoid that" as the theme of that period in the life of 1043 Steiner.  Tour groups frequently stop in front of the house, since it is the home in which Yehudi Menuhin the great violinist grew up, and comment "is it new?".  Yes, taken down to the studs and reassembled with the latest and greatest.

Which brings us to Paolo and The Magic of Wood.  We had all of the woodwork of the house redone by carvers in Indonesia in Mahogany.  The wood was then installed by fine craftsmen over a six month period.  One of them, Stefano Capaccioli kindly told us of a man equally skilled in the restoration of fine wood...our very own Paolo!  The original parquet floors in the house needed the hand of a talented and knowledgeable person to bring them back to life.  This would be the last time since they are now quite old and will not be restored again. 

Paolo came and lived with us for several weeks while doing the work on the floors.  He approached his work thoughtfully and with care clearly loving what he does.  I even learned during my dinners with him I had the extra benefit of having a widely traveled and knowledgeable fellow about all the wonders of the world easily at hand as an unexpected "extra"!

The result surpasses anything we could have expected.  And those expectations were considerable since one of the players in 1043 Steiner is, what some might call, a Perfectionist.  Nary a complaint.  Nothing but Hosannas!

We would like to share pictures of the floor in a lovely setting.  Unfortunately, I have had to be relentlessly pulled away by family crisis for the last 5 years.  The dearth of income and total lack of free time has put the end game of bringing 1043 Steiner to its full potential on hold for a time.  But, that day is coming soon and Paolo's beautiful parquet floors will be the focal point, rest be assured".