A Place to Play

WHEN DAYNA AND Eric Quanbeck first met their realtor, Jennifer Falla Firkins, last May, they wanted to be clear about what they needed. So they brought their reasons for moving to her office: three sons, all under the age of five. “They were running around terrorizing the place,” says Dayna. “It was a very quick meeting.”

Firkins got the picture. Forget about hillside homes. Forget about infinity pools. The Quanbecks, who both work in the city, needed a toddler-friendly home with a quick commute.

At the time, they were living in an apartment in Pacific Heights and though they loved the city, it wasn’t working with their young family. The minute the boys rose each day, Eric and Dayna had to get them out, so as not to disturb the neighbors. “It was hard, always having to leave,” says Dayna. “What we really wanted was a home.”

Firkins immediately suggested they look at this house, a minimalist, newly built stunner about to be listed. Dayna rejected it out of hand, saying, “Contemporary is not my style, and I don’t know anything about Greenbrae.” But Firkins urged them to look. They did, and they bought it, even though it was the only house they saw.

The snap decision is easy to understand. The contemporary stucco-and-ipe home sits at the end of a cul-de-sac, where the boys now ride their bikes. It’s nestled into a sloping one-thirdacre lot, where the boys run up and down the “hiking trails.” On the bottom floor is a family room with direct access to the outdoors.

But it was the main floor that swayed Eric and Dayna, with its exquisite attention to detail. The kitchen, for example, has no cabinets, so as not to mar the sight lines. Dishes and glasses sit in white laminate drawers. The refrigerator is hidden behind a gray laminate that blends seamlessly with the pantry. And an appliance garage hides any clutter. The home risks feeling spare, but is surprisingly warm. “This was not a Home Depot flip,” Firkins says. “The builders lived here before they built it.”

The builders also maximized the home’s sunlight, installing windows along the entire front wall of the living room and over the sink in the kitchen, accentuating the airiness with ash-colored wood floors. They also added a bit of humor, programming the front doorbell to chime with the song, “Who Let the Dogs Out?”

The Quanbecks’ three boys, who think the doorbell is hilarious, press it often. It’s a whimsical touch that feels spot-on for an energetic, sometimes chaotic household that has truly become a home.



WHAT THEY BOUGHT A newly built five-bedroom home

LISTING AGENT Ted Strodder, Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty

SELLING AGENT Jennifer Falla Firkins, Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty

STATS Price per square foot for homes in the neighborhood: $756