Longboarding in The Outer Sunset.

9 12 2009

Video courtesy of aaaknot30

I really dig these Outer Sunset skating videos and find myself watching the houses flying by as much as the skaters. If I was a real estate agent I think I would commission these guys to tape the neighborhood of any homes I wanted to sell. It’s an interesting way to showcase real estate, not just as still pictures of a house but also video of the neighborhood that the house lives in.

But this block on 21st Ave always struck me as being odd.

90% of the block is very much cookie-cutter homes. It’s pretty much the exact same house xeroxed off right next to each other with a few variations. The difference from any other American suburb being that Outer Sunset homes have colors that you’d expect to find in a bowl of Lucky Charms cereal. Looks like Poppa Smurf lives in this one.

Papa Smurf house of The Outer Sunset

But these two homes always struck me as being really odd.

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Out of nowhere, there are two completely different kinds of houses right next to each other.

The one of the left looks like something you would find in the Berkley Hills. That’s an intense driveway and a patio on the 1st floor, then another patio with the entrance to the house on the 2nd floor. It’s very different from any other house on the block. I imagine the person who lives here has cats, listens to NPR, and is a big fan of chai tea.

Then check out his neighbor. A boring 3 story house that I would expect to see in Baltimore or some place that gets a lot of snow in the winter. It’s also the only 3 story building on a block of houses that are all 2 story, so you know the people that live here are kind of cocky about having the tallest house on the block. I keep expecting to bump into Gavin Newsom coming out of this house.

I can only imagine why these homes were built this way. Maybe Henry Doelger was out that week and the crew was all “Fuck it. We’re tired of building the same house over and over again. Let’s do a Berkeley house over here and spin the wheel to see what to put next to it…uh, a boring 3 story East Coast house? Sure, why not. No one will notice.”


Lords of Sunset

The Outer Sunset Has Loud, Tacky Colors

And every night I shut my eyes so I don’t have to see the light. Shining so bright I’ll dream about a cloudy sky, a cloudy sky. And every night I shut my eyes but now I’ve got them open wide. You’ve fallen into my hands and now you’re burning me. You’re Burning Man me.

26 08 2009

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This house on 30th and Pacheco has one of the most amazing 3rd floor additions. There are a lot of people out here that have attempted to build an additional room onto their house. The majority of them come off as pretty ghetto, but this one is quite spectacular. It’s like a cathedral of light in there as the sun sets.

Here’s what it looks like from the front.

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Brilliant use of space. If I lived in this house I don’t ever think I’d leave that 3rd floor.

Excellent job 30th and Pacheco. You got it right.

The Big Lebowski House

24 08 2009

The Big Lebowski house of The Outer Sunset

How sweet is that?

Your house has a miniature castle tower to the left and a bowling pin to the right.

Personally, I could do without the pink. But hey, welcome to The Outer Sunset.

This is how The Dude abides.



The Outer Sunset Has Loud, Tacky Colors

The Odd Couple

19 08 2009

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This miniature 3 story castle to the left is quite amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever seen another one quite like it out here. And it makes an even more amazing contrast to the surfer shack to the right. I could sell this right now as a primetime TV pilot.

Here’s my pitch –

The King from Role Models lives in the castle and he’s neighbors with these jackass reality TV kid surfer genius protégés. You want to hate them but each episode they seem to help people work through their problems. The Force is strong with them. They are the Fonzie’s of the show and they are played by Michael Cera and McLovin.

Yeah, I agree. Those guys have already been typecast waaaay too much as the shy, nerd types. Michael Cera especially is really talented; I would really like to see him play a different character already.

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The “Dude, Where’s My Car?” guys live here. None of their one-night stands have any kind of respect for them the next day when they wake up and see the color of their house. All the neighborhood kids make fun of them in public and even bust out into these elaborately choreographed break dancing disses whenever they’re trying to score at Safeway.


Gary Busey is The Wacky Next Door Neighbor that lives on the other side of the Sunset but is always hanging out in their living rooms.

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Slim Shady is the filthy rich Paris Hilton type diva of the Entourage.

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And this is their ride.

It’s a 24-hour on-call bus large enough to carry them and whatever small groups of people that they picked up along the way that night. Their driver / bodyguard is Kato. He was just recently kicked out of the Yakuza for reasons he doesn’t really feel like talking about right now.

Sammo Hung was born to play this role.

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And they all hang out at Ron Jeremy’s pharmacy shop.

Gotta have my agent set up a meeting to pitch this to NBC as a companion piece for this fall’s Community

Tripping Out on the Architecture of The Outer Sunset along the Great Highway.

17 08 2009

I spent the first part of last weeks Sunday Streets just riding my bike up and down the mostly deserted Great Highway and getting reacquainted with all my favorite houses out here. This stretch of road is what turned me onto Outer Sunset house watching several years ago. The houses out here have a lot of character and each one tells a different story.

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This house would be perfect if you were a superhero type that fought crime with a hovercraft type vehicle that kept getting tagged up every time you parked it on the street. Problem solved. Just park your vehicle on the roof and then bogie on down.

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This house is quite amazing. It takes up three lots lengthwise and is two lots deep but still manages to be modest in its space consumption. Check out that front lawn. It’s like Vietnam down there with succulents large enough to eat a small child.

She was originally built in 1949 by architect Ernest Born as his personal home and then later added onto by Aidlin Darling Design. It’s quite possibly the sexiest house in The Outer Sunset. You have to check out her photo spread in The New York Times to really appreciate her glory.

Photos courtesy of Dwight Eschliman.

It’s a fantasy of mine that a porn star exhibitionist type of girl moves in here one day and converts that third floor room in her bedroom/playspace.

Speaking of which, Mika Tan, if you’re looking for a house in San Francisco I found you a fabulous spot right by the beach.

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The house that Viagra built.

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There’s a lot of circular windows embedded into the homes out here. I think some of the architects went over the top on driving home this whole “we all live in a yellow submarine” theme.

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What’s that on the roof of the blue guy? Is that an antenna? Or maybe that’s an anti prop-8 art piece. I have no idea.

And check out how the green guy has boarded up and colored over his submarine window on the 2nd floor. “Yeah, we all live on the beach. I got the memo. Now get the fuck out of my house you stupid submarine window”

There are houses that have seen better days.

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There are houses that are painted like the doodle pads I used to scribble on my peachy folder back in junior high.

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Our house, in the middle of our street
Our house, was our castle and our keep
Our house, in the middle of our street
Our house, that was where we used to sleep

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The Life is the Great Highway House

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The Jolly Green Giant House

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And John Law was taking his dogs out for a walk.

Thank you, Outer Sunset.

Thank you for helping to keep San Francisco weird.

The ALL IN ONE ONE IN ALL House in The Outer Sunset.

14 08 2009

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More evidence that The Outer Sunset has got to be one of the weirdest suburbs in America.

You can throw down your freak flag right there on the front lawn, run it up the flagpole, and just let it fly.

The beaches of San Francisco gave birth to Burning Man and the quirky beach side suburbs of San Francisco have given birth to pockets of these Temporary Autonomous Zones that have since mutated into Permanent Autonomous Zones.

Must be something in the water …

Thank you to Sunset Style for the head’s up and Goggle Maps for the legwork



Crazy Guy’s House

The Friendship Bench House

The Architectural Turf of Oliver Rousseau.

5 05 2009

SF Gate has been doing some interesting pieces on early 1920’s Sunset architect Oliver Rousseau. I was stoked to realize that several of these homes were in one of my first posts. I’m familiar with this guys work, or at least familiar with his work from the outside. I’ve just never been able to put a name to it till now. Dave Weinstein of The Chronicle described the Rousseaus as “wonderfully quirky Hansel-and-Gretel homes.” I would agree. It adds another surreal layer to The Outer Sunset. From the outside it almost looks like being on the set of a movie filled with silly Euro-Disney impersonations of real houses, but then you have to remember that these homes have been standing for some 90 years now. There are high winds, Ocean Beach fog that eats metal alive, and tropical rain forest levels of humidity and mold in the air. Yet almost a century later these homes that were all built on sand dunes are still standing and going for over a million dollars and change.

I make no claims that any of these homes were actually designed by Oliver Rousseau. These were just some of the more interesting sights that have caught my eye over the years in what is generally accepted as being Oliver Rousseau’s architectural turf: 33rd Ave to 36th Ave between Kirkham and Lawton.

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Oliver Rousseau was partial to towers and these neat little single person balconies.

The guy was making Super Mario levels decades before Nintendo was invented.

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Little know factoid – it’s a severe zoning violation if you don’t have at least one house per block in The Outer Sunset that is not painted in some form of a loud, tacky, color.


Related Posts –

Little Boxes

Life is the Great Highway.

30 04 2009

This is another great quirky house that’s on the very last block of The Outer Sunset, right next to The Great Highway and Ocean Beach.

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The Outer Sunset Has Loud Advertising.

19 03 2009

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All of the cigarettes and liquor banners have their own Paul’s Boutique charm, but I’ve always been kind of fond of the Chinese advisements.

Just like in Blade Runner, it’s kind of an obvious reminder that you are somewhere exotic. You’re a stranger in a strange land and (in my case) you don’t even know how to speak the language. But even so, this is your neighborhood. This is where you live.

That’s why I always thought The Outer Sunset would make a perfect backdrop for the next Twin Peak’s David Lynch type show.

The funny part being that Twin Peaks is another neighborhood in San Francisco, so The Outer Sunset already has it’s own built-in market gimmick.

That and the fact that I don’t live in Twin Peaks so I don’t have many pictures of that place and really have no idea what that scene is all about.

The Outer Sunset Has Loud, Tacky Colors.

17 03 2009

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Colors not found in nature. Colors that you would find only in cereal boxes, Saturday morning cartoons, and The 1977 JC Penny Catalog

Here’s just a few.

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The purple itself wouldn’t be that bad, but to add on two extra floors and paint them pink and then yellow? Really, guy? Is that really how you want to express yourself?

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And this one has the winning combination of a Malibu Stacy shades of yellow, pink, and green with the added bonus of having Purple Rain living across the street.

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I actually love the blood red color of this house. This house gets an A.

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And this is one of the more infamous loud, tacky, colored structures in The Outer Sunset.

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I always imagined that if The Joker had a lair in San Francisco this would be it.

Way to keep a low profile there, Joker.