11/02/2012 07:25 pm ET Updated Jan 02, 2013

Russian Hill Open House: Quirky And Modernist Master Henry Hill (PHOTOS)

This article comes to us courtesy of California Home + Design.

By Philip Ferrato

Henry Hill was one of the Bay Area's most interesting Mid-Century architects. This c.1907 building he renovated in 1947 is on the market and open Sunday, November 4.


Hill is regarded as one of the few San Francisco architects whose work incorporated a little wit and humor -- hard to express in bricks and mortar, but there nonetheless. Hill took a vintage structure on a narrow lane on Russian Hill, left the crisp original cornice and applied a band of Modernist windows across the front, frosted for privacy.

Inside there's the original built-in cabinets and cork flooring, along with a landscaped lightwell the realtor's calling an atrium. The fairly complex set of patterns and rhythms set up by the paneling, the window frames, and the original cork floor tiles still survives. Hill's work has been described as "Flamboyant Modernism" and with exception of the intense orange front entry, this is a fairly sober house for him. Hill loved a good gold-leafed fireplace -- you can read more about him in this profile by architecture historian Dave Weinstein.

The lower floor retains some of Hill's details and opens onto a tiny garden. More images at the listing link. The realtor's marketing the property's "expansion possibilities," so let's hope this little Modernist gem doesn't become a teardown, or as more commonly done in San Francisco, renovated entirely out of existence.

Open 2:00PM to 4:00PM Sunday, November 4

Russian Hill Open House

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