EVEN THOUGH THEY had a beautiful home in Peacock Gap, Angela and Chris Hart wanted to make a change. Their house, built in 1989, and its neighborhood felt new, and Angela missed the tree-lined streets of her early childhood in Colorado. “I wanted an older, charming home,” she says.
The Harts spent many weekends looking at open houses in the Dominican and Ross areas but didn’t find anything until their realtor (and friend) Monica Pauli showed Angela this home at a broker’s open last year. “I was one of the first people to come through, and I could feel it in my bones that this was meant to be my house,” says Angela, who immediately called Chris.
Chris, a mortgage banker, got on board quickly, as it’s nearly impossible not to fall in love with this house. Built in 1908 on a three-quarter-acre street-to-street lot, the home has all the charm of a vintage Ross estate. Its previous owner was Stephen Gordon, the founder of Restoration Hardware, so it’s been tastefully updated throughout. The Harts appreciated that all four bedrooms were upstairs, so their 4-year-old and twin 9-year-olds could sleep near them. “And the house has a mudroom and an open kitchen/family room,” says Pauli, “so it’s very livable for a family of five.”
It’s also filled with details rarely found in Marin. Most of the rooms have box beam ceilings. All the rear-facing rooms are lined with French doors, leading to the wisteria-covered deck, pool and guesthouse. And one side of the home is anchored by a library, with built-in bookshelves and soaring ceilings, which the Hart kids have commandeered as a playroom.
But the dining room is the pièce de résistance. With leaded windows and a glass-fronted, built-in buffet, it retains much of the home’s original character and has the feel of a men’s club smoking room, enhanced by the Harts’ decision to paint the cabinetry and trim in Farrow and Ball’s “Black Beauty.” Above the 10-foot-long dining table, they’ve hung a midcentury-style brass chandelier by Visual Comfort, which creates a delightful juxtaposition and says something about the Harts, who are equal parts hip and traditional. High school sweethearts, they’ve been together since she was a junior at Marin Catholic and he was a senior at San Rafael High.
Because history matters with the Harts, the Forbes neighborhood where the house is located is another major plus. “I remember driving to the house last fall and all the trees were changing colors and these tree-lined streets were spectacular, and I thought, ‘This is out of a storybook,’” says Angela. “I was so happy.”
WHERE THEY PURCHASED
The Forbes neighborhood of San Rafael
WHAT THEY BOUGHT
A four bedroom 1908 home, plus guesthouse
Susan Hewitt, Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty
Price per square foot for homes in the neighborhood: $600–$800
View the gallery below for more photos.
This article originally appeared in Marin Magazine’s print edition under the headline: “Timeless Classic“.