A Mansion with Great Views and an Edible Garden

Designed as the home of spice magnate William G. Volkmann, the first estate built on Muir Avenue balances formal space and casual living in the Crocker Terrace neighborhood of Piedmont.


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15 Muir Ave. sports expansive vegetable gardens.

Photo by Scott Fitzgerrell

Elegant, graceful, effortlessly cultured, and consistently romantic, the home at 15 Muir Ave. in Piedmont’s posh Crocker Terrace neighborhood is the perfect balance of formal space and casual living.

Designed in 1916 by the well-respected Milwain Brothers Architects for its client, spice magnate William G. Volkmann (of Schilling’s Best renown), this handsome home was the first estate to be constructed on Muir Avenue—an enviable, one-block-long street on a knoll-top neighborhood. The architects took full advantage of the lot’s line-of-site views of San Francisco, Lake Merritt, and Mount Tamalpais to create a private paradise for the Volkmann family.

Harmonious with the property’s overall color palette, the structure has an angular silhouette that is softened by a mosaic of natural flagstone and mature landscaping leading to a spacious, shaded portico. The original solid oak door is flanked by matching entry panels festooned in a filigree of custom ironwork and guarded by a duo of formidable cast metal lions—ostensibly for good feng shui, but perhaps for added security.

Enter the home and be transported to a time of gentility, refinement, and fine craftsmanship. 15 Muir Ave.’s grand entry is grounded by gleaming, dark hardwood floors, framed in Doric columns, and illuminated by a crystal chandelier. Beautifully maintained for more thar 100 years, the home is a testament to timeless design and site-perfect proportions.

“Many homes built during this era had numerous cramped and dark rooms,” said Debi Fitzgerrell of Pacific Union and Christie’s International Real Estate. “This home has large, light-filled rooms, and beautiful flow.”

The foyer acts as hub, intuitively directing occupants to the main floor’s living and dining rooms, kitchen, and study. Expansive west-facing windows flood the home with light from every room, while an atrium leads to a spacious outdoor patio overlooking lower level grounds with a magnificent view of Mount Tamalpais.

A curving staircase leads up to the home’s living quarters, an intelligent layout of six bedrooms and four bathrooms, designed to comfortably accommodate a large family. The spacious master suite with its fireplace and an adjoining sunroom, provide the perfect sanctuary from the world and spectacular vistas.

Two sets of Jack and Jill bedrooms and three other bedrooms of varying sizes provide private or semi-private accommodations for occupants, with one pair of adjoining rooms sharing access to a sunny, home office.

One more flight up leads to a large, unfinished attic that is awaiting an interior design vision to incorporate a large, underutilized space into the home’s useful square footage. One could envision perhaps a game room, fitness center, or home cinema.

The lower floor is a suite unto itself and designed with entertaining in mind. Another bedroom, bathroom, and utility kitchen make the downstairs perfect for guest accommodations. A large family room with ample seating, fireplace, game tables, and a wine cellar, opens outon to the patio, replete with gurgling fountains, outdoor fireplace, and wood-fired grill.

Charming throughout, the home is situated in surroundings where one gets a true sense of privacy and purpose. The estate contains a sizable backyard accessed via another sweeping staircase from the main floor’s atrium.

Nestled among mature, decorative plantings, a portion of the property is devoted to a beautifully farmed, organically grown edible landscape that provides the home’s occupants with year-round fresh produce, a testament to the region’s love of locally and sustainably produced food. It doesn’t get more local than your own backyard.

“With its edible garden and beautiful outdoor spaces, this is the perfect home for a family who loves to cook and entertain,” said Fitzgerrell. “Apropos of its original owner.”

 

The Particulars

15 Muir Ave., Piedmont

Price: $5,685,000

Broker: Debi Fitzgerrell, Pacific Union and Christie’s International Real Estate

Bedrooms: 6

Bathrooms: 4

Square Feet: 7,408

Tour: www.15muir.com/photos.php

 

Published online on Sept. 1, 2016 at 8 a.m.

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