40 Crocker Avenue – Albert Farr designed this Craftsman house high on the lot to give his wealthy client views of San Francisco Bay from all the west-facing rooms. Large curved bays in the living room and dining room offered expansive views of the bay and a bridge-less Golden Gate in 1905 when the house was built. They still offer a view of the Bay, but it is not as expansive now that the neighborhood trees are 100+ years taller.
Albert Farr had a preference for English architecture, and although it’s large, this house suggests an English cottage with rolled eaves on the left front gable. The eaves pop above the roofline in the angled bay and the three smaller windows on the right. Farr continued his Craftsman elements with the large stucco brackets on the curved bays, and paired slender brackets and beams under the eaves.
Tudor arches define the front entry, and Tudor arched windows are present throughout the main floor. Heavily textured stucco, typical of the early 1900s, covers the exterior. Farr added an arbor to support vines that traditionally grow over the entry. A 1906 photo of the house shows vines growing on this arbor.
Architect Farr is known for designing large, elegant public rooms, and this house is no exception. The wide paneled front door opens to the spacious entry/reception hall with its rich, wood-paneled walls, basketweave parquet hardwood floor and leaded glass windows. The domed ceiling is trimmed with plaster fruit on the curved ribs. To the right, a bold Tudor arch of dark wood opens to the grand living room where the tall fireplace commands the room. Ionic columns support a high mantel with agapanthus trim. Above, seven ornate panels extend to the ceiling. Similar panels top the doorways to the family room, library and entry hall. The gently curved window bay on the right overlooks Crocker Avenue and brings in western light. Albert Farr designed this house with large windows in each room to bring in lots of light. He often designed a solarium or sunroom in his houses. Straight ahead, glass-paned French doors open to a sunroom, now the family room with built-in cabinets for entertainment equipment and shelves for books and treasures. Here, large Tudor-arched windows on the southern and western walls of the family room fill the room with light. A glass-paned door opens conveniently to the pool and patio. The living room also opens to a small library with built-in shelves, a box beam ceiling and more Tudor arched windows.
As you cross the reception hall, three steps lead down to a hidden paneled door that opens to the back hall to the powder room, coat closet, kitchen, butlers pantry, back stairs and door to the patio and pool. The richly paneled dining room is across the reception hall from the living room. High, paneled wainscoting surrounds the room, adding a richness and warmth. Fluted pilasters and a deep ornate plaster frieze with cherubs and grapes at the ceiling make this a truly elegant room. The fireplace is adorned with four heads of hooded males, perhaps monks listening sternly to lively dinner conversation. At the western end of the room, the large curved bay offers a comfortable window seat. Here, too, the windows would have offered expansive views of San Francisco Bay before the trees grew. You can still see a glimpse of the bay today. Look for the hidden doors to closets that held china, silver and crystal and admire the original light fixtures. A paneled door conceals the entrance to the butler’s pantry with wine refrigerator, dishwasher and sink. Glass fronted cupboards with cabinets below provide lots of storage.
The large eat-in kitchen is beyond with its center island, new Quartz countertops, refrigerator, dual ovens, new range, microwave, and bread warmer. French doors open to the sunny pool and patio area. A convenient desk and bookshelves fill one corner with room for a sizeable kitchen table. The wide, graceful main staircase leads to a landing with large leaded glass windows and the second floor with the master bedroom suite and five additional bedrooms.
At the top of the stairs, the first large bedroom on the left has a window seat set in an angled bay overlooking the pool. Three closets offer ample hanging space, and the en suite bathroom has a free-standing tub, glass-enclosed shower, and a luxurious towel warming rack.
The master (2nd ) bedroom fills the southern portion of the house and has a fireplace, dressing area, and ample closets. The adjacent den/office has another fireplace and built-in shelves and cabinets in the angled bay that fills this room with light. More closets and a built-in dressing table are near the en suite master bath with double sinks, free-standing tub and glassed-in shower with rainforest showerhead.
Most of the upstairs bathrooms have been updated with freestanding bath tubs, glass-enclosed showers, and new bathroom sinks and counters. Moving down the hall, the Jack and Jill bedrooms share a 3 rd bathroom upstairs. Both of these 3rd and 4th bedrooms are large with generously sized, cedar-lined closets. The 3rd bedroom has an angled bay window with views of San Francisco Bay. The shared bath has double sinks, a tub-shower combination, and a towel warming rack. The mirrors cleverly close over the windows for privacy or open for light. The 4th bedroom also offers views of the bay and has a fireplace and window seat. A roomy linen closet is nearby. Down the back hall, the 5th bedroom is the smallest of the bedrooms, most likely a former servant’s bedroom. The 6th bedroom is larger with a good-sized closet and built-in desk. This 4th bathroom has been updated with a glassed-in shower. Glass-paned doors lead to a small balcony overlooking the pool and patio. The upstairs hallway continues to the back stairs with access to the kitchen and attic. The full attic offers many options playroom, teen hang out, gym, etc. The adjacent room offers more storage space and flexibility. The basement area is lined with shelves and offers even more storage. The sunny pool and patio are completely enclosed. The pool is fenced in and has a pool sweep and cover for easy maintenance.