Unique 'Masterpiece' for Sale

Architect Ernest Born’s MCM 'dream home' bordering oceanfront S.F. asking $8 million
Fridays on the Homefront
As perhaps the closest Bay Area counterparts to SoCal's Charles and Ray Eames,
Ernest and Esther Born started at UC Berkeley, then launched careers in architecture and photography respectively, and, in the late 1940s, bought the choice property
above and built a glorious family home on the western edge of the San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. It is now up for sale. Photos: Open Homes Photography & Alexander Clark
Fridays on the Homefront
Fridays on the Homefront
2020 Great Highway today. At left is the 2006 expansion; right, the original 1949 home.
Fridays on the Homefront
The original living room.

Three decades after serving 40 years as the dream home of a designer with a major but little-known impact on the Bay Area, his thoroughly unique MCM home in oceanfront San Francisco is now for sale for a tidy $8 million. The multi-lot property hasn't been listed, but it is available.

"Everything he did was well thought out," says Tom Lloyd-Butler, owner of 2020 Great Highway (1949), speaking of the man who designed and lived four decades in the house, the architect Ernest Born.

As its third owner when he paid $1.2 million for the property in 1999, Lloyd-Butler talked to several design firms about expanding beyond its original two-bed, 2.5-bath structure. The result is one of the most interesting Bay Modern home expansions ever.

Before enlisting Aidlin-Darling of San Francisco to craft the 2006 addition, Lloyd-Butler said, "There were two other architectural firms that came up with ideas that were either impossible to construct or completely unfeasible."

"He didn't like the way it was going to impinge on the other structure," says Mark Vasquez, representing the unlisted property with Butch Haze for Compass Real Estate and marveling at the preservation of the home.

"Right now, it includes all of Ernest Born's finishes," the realtor said proudly, citing original cabinetry and other materials. "It has been left with all of his idea completely intact."

As perhaps the closest Bay Area counterparts to Charles and Ray Eames in Los Angeles, Ernest Born and wife Esther started as architecture grads from UC Berkeley. She branched out to architectural photography and he to urban design, and together they bought a choice property and built a glorious family home on the western edge of the City's Golden Gate Park in the late 1940s.

San Francisco born, Born went on to become primary designer of the striking Glen Park BART station and collaborated on the Balboa Park station and signage in dozens of others. His masterpiece, however, may well be this remarkable home.