Under the Spell of Overstreet

Architect didn’t build many homes, but his design in Marin stands as a bonafide doozy
Fridays on the Homefront
This awesome residential design by Robert Overstreet was a rarity by the mid-century architect, who primarily designed commercial and industrial buildings. The Corte Madera home with striking views, which has been on the market for more than a month, “is not going to work for everyone,” says listing agent Tamara Goldman of Pacific Union International of its stylized design. “It’s going to take a particular person.”
Fridays on the Homefront
Fridays on the Homefront
Fridays on the Homefront

Robert Overstreet was a popular San Francisco architect of the mid-century, specializing in commercial and industrial buildings. Based on a stunning residential listing currently available in Marin County, maybe he should have done more homes.

"It was the house he built for himself," says Tamara Goldman of Pacific Union International, who helped the owners buy it when Overstreet moved to Arizona in the 1990s and is the current listing agent. "He didn't do a lot of houses."

A native of Mississippi who trained in the Midwest with Frank Lloyd Wright protégé Bruce Goff, Overstreet built his dream house in 1968 but kept refining it for at least ten years. When he sold it to a design-oriented couple in 1997, a friendship was born.

"They loved the house, [and] the choices that they made for the upgrade just blend," remarked Goldman, detailing more than $1 million of improvements made over the past three years at 238 Summit Drive. The hillside home in woody Corte Madera was listed in early March for $4.2 million.

"They became really good friends," she said of the owners and Overstreet, who died in 2009. "He actually would stay with them when he would come to the Bay Area."

That's because they were living in his pride and joy, now a 4,060-square-foot main house with three beds and baths in an intriguing, multi-level floor plan. Incredibly, that plan is actually depicted in stained glass insets on the main entryway door.

The son of an architect, Overstreet was a partner in the San Francisco firm of Botsai and Overstreet, and he himself made the major addition to the home in the mid-'70s. Not counted in the aforementioned statistics, the architect added an 890-square-foot guesthouse that now boasts what Goldman described as "not really a kitchenette; it's a pretty full kitchen."

"They haven't rented it for a few years…The last person paid about $3,500 [monthly rent]," the realtor said of the guesthouse. While that definitely is a valuable asset, it is the 1.3-acre site's verdant setting and picaresque views that she sees as its greatest attribute.