A little over two years ago, right before the coronavirus pandemic hit, software engineer Leah Culver won a hard-fought bidding war, paying an eye-popping $800,000 over asking for a historic “Painted Ladies” Victorian house — one of the so-called “Seven Sisters” — on San Francisco’s world-famous Postcard Row.
At the time, the much-altered house was being marketed as a fixer-upper, and needed close to a full gut job. And now it has returned to the market, still in need of major renovations, asking the exact same $3.55 million it sold for back in January 2020.
Culver had always dreamed of owning one of the landmark structures made famous in the intro to the 1990s TV show “Full House.” Once she set out to preserve and restore the home, however, she told SFGATE it was “possibly the worst timing ever” for what she had first estimated to be a $3 million, three-year project. Not only did the pandemic slow down her permitting and design plans, but it also brought supply chain issues when it came to seeking out materials.
In the end, the expense far outweighed Culver’s expectations, so she decided to sell after only completing some exploratory demolition work. “I had to just make the call,” she said. “I didn’t see an end in sight.”
Known as the “Pink Painted Lady” (though Culver never got around to actually repainting it the original vibrant pink hue), the wood-frame and gable-roof structure has three stories and a garage level, with views of Alamo Square, downtown San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge. Designed and built in the early 1890s, supposedly by Irish builder Matthew Kavanaugh, the exterior still looks pretty good from the outside; but the dilapidated interiors, which contain period details like arched doorways, stained glass and oversized bay windows, would need to be completely redone.
The sale includes building plans and approved permits by David Armour Architecture to restore the house to two separate units. The upper three levels would come complete with five bedrooms and three-and-a-half baths in 2,996 square feet, while the lower level would consist of an 845-square-foot unit boasting two bedrooms, one bath and its own entrance.
Culver’s Instagram account, where she had started to detail her renovation journey, will also be made available. An added bonus? The residence comes with a 10-year Mills Act contract, meaning the new homeowner is eligible for reduced property taxes in exchange for preserving the historic house.