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One of Richard Requa’s earliest commissions

A home perched on an oceanfront bluff overlooking La Jolla Cove

If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many books is a picture window worth?
If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many books is a picture window worth?

In terms of San Diego real estate, “historic” and “oceanfront” are adjectives that don’t play nicely with one another. Not only do the beating winds and punishing salt air extract a toll from even the sturdiest construction, owners along the county’s coveted shoreline are usually wealthy enough to tear down and rebuild as architectural trends change. Or just because they feel like it.

This makes the 2200-square-foot home at 7944 Princess Street in La Jolla something of an anomaly. According to the Zillow listing, it was “one of the first two building sites” designated for construction along the cliffs overlooking La Jolla Cove. Completed in 1913, it was also one of the earliest commissions for Richard Requa, the renowned Master Architect responsible for the construction and renovation of several buildings at Balboa Park prior to the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition.

Even the chimney is architecturally engaging.

“How would it feel to live in a home, perched on an oceanfront bluff, that is much more than a residence?” asks the listing. Honestly this sounds like a lovely proposition, so let’s have a look. The first few photos we see are of the home’s ocean views, which extend from the Cove to La Jolla Shores to the north. And while we are perched quite high above the cliffs, we’re not so far back that we miss the whitewater breakers below. There’s something that looks like a little lighthouse protruding from the rooftop deck — it took me a few minutes and several viewings to figure out that it was the chimney for the living room fireplace.

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Mature (if slightly unwieldy) trees and shrubbery do a good job at hiding the front of the house from the street. We also pass a window framed in ivy, and flowerboxes along the brick path to the entryway. Then we’re inside. The first thing we see there is a living room trimmed in dark wood, with exposed ceiling beams and bookshelves built in above a doorway to the side patio and a nook with a window seat framing the southwest view perfectly. This would be an excellent spot to relax and read on a sunny day with the window open to catch a hint of the distant surf. It appears the current owners agree with this notion — from the shelves to the coffee table to the stacks we see in the next series of pictures, there are books everywhere.

From the living room, we pass into another living area (or maybe a continuation of the first), and then to an office setting. The dark wood theme continues from room to room, and it’s beginning to get a bit overwhelming. I’ve often praised the use of natural wood in this column, but perhaps furniture with more color variation would provide some helpful contrast here. And the green carpet that follows us from room to room feels like a forest floor; I would probably change it. The dining room has a built-in hutch with some fine stained glass panels on the doors, but the green carpet is making the chairs here look green, and I do not think they are supposed to look green.

Next, we’re shown a spacious but utilitarian kitchen that’s at once functional and likely to disappoint aspiring chefs. But with just 2200 square feet of total living space and the strong likelihood that such things would’ve been considered frivolous nearly 110 years ago, I suppose we shouldn’t expect (and won’t get) things like a massive stone center island or an extra room dedicated solely to the storage of wine bottles.

Finally, the listing leads us through a main bedroom that’s spacious if not palatial, with an adjacent bathroom that has a pleasant sitting/dressing area beyond the jetted tub — and also, for some reason, even more green carpet.

Outside, we’re treated to more photos of the sweeping views available from the two levels of patio, plus some aerial shots that illustrate just how much home size demands have grown for today’s modern wealthy folk. And with that, our tour has drawn to a close.

Public records list the Buoymaster family as the property’s current owner; the listing says the home hasn’t changed hands in four decades. Ned Buoymaster worked for years in the tech field, developing hardware for some of the earliest personal computers. He passed in 2015; since 1985, his wife Kathleen has operated an interior design firm out of La Jolla.

While the Princess house hasn’t sold in decades, it hasn’t been for lack of trying. The residence has been listed five times since 2012, with asking prices as high as $8.9 million and as low as $5.2 million. The most recent listing went live in mid-September with a $5.7 million asking price that remains unchanged to date.

  • 7944 Princess Street | La Jolla, 92037
  • Current owner: The Buoymaster Family | listing price: $8,399,000 | beds: 4 | baths: 3 | house size: 2200
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If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many books is a picture window worth?
If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many books is a picture window worth?

In terms of San Diego real estate, “historic” and “oceanfront” are adjectives that don’t play nicely with one another. Not only do the beating winds and punishing salt air extract a toll from even the sturdiest construction, owners along the county’s coveted shoreline are usually wealthy enough to tear down and rebuild as architectural trends change. Or just because they feel like it.

This makes the 2200-square-foot home at 7944 Princess Street in La Jolla something of an anomaly. According to the Zillow listing, it was “one of the first two building sites” designated for construction along the cliffs overlooking La Jolla Cove. Completed in 1913, it was also one of the earliest commissions for Richard Requa, the renowned Master Architect responsible for the construction and renovation of several buildings at Balboa Park prior to the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition.

Even the chimney is architecturally engaging.

“How would it feel to live in a home, perched on an oceanfront bluff, that is much more than a residence?” asks the listing. Honestly this sounds like a lovely proposition, so let’s have a look. The first few photos we see are of the home’s ocean views, which extend from the Cove to La Jolla Shores to the north. And while we are perched quite high above the cliffs, we’re not so far back that we miss the whitewater breakers below. There’s something that looks like a little lighthouse protruding from the rooftop deck — it took me a few minutes and several viewings to figure out that it was the chimney for the living room fireplace.

Sponsored
Sponsored

Mature (if slightly unwieldy) trees and shrubbery do a good job at hiding the front of the house from the street. We also pass a window framed in ivy, and flowerboxes along the brick path to the entryway. Then we’re inside. The first thing we see there is a living room trimmed in dark wood, with exposed ceiling beams and bookshelves built in above a doorway to the side patio and a nook with a window seat framing the southwest view perfectly. This would be an excellent spot to relax and read on a sunny day with the window open to catch a hint of the distant surf. It appears the current owners agree with this notion — from the shelves to the coffee table to the stacks we see in the next series of pictures, there are books everywhere.

From the living room, we pass into another living area (or maybe a continuation of the first), and then to an office setting. The dark wood theme continues from room to room, and it’s beginning to get a bit overwhelming. I’ve often praised the use of natural wood in this column, but perhaps furniture with more color variation would provide some helpful contrast here. And the green carpet that follows us from room to room feels like a forest floor; I would probably change it. The dining room has a built-in hutch with some fine stained glass panels on the doors, but the green carpet is making the chairs here look green, and I do not think they are supposed to look green.

Next, we’re shown a spacious but utilitarian kitchen that’s at once functional and likely to disappoint aspiring chefs. But with just 2200 square feet of total living space and the strong likelihood that such things would’ve been considered frivolous nearly 110 years ago, I suppose we shouldn’t expect (and won’t get) things like a massive stone center island or an extra room dedicated solely to the storage of wine bottles.

Finally, the listing leads us through a main bedroom that’s spacious if not palatial, with an adjacent bathroom that has a pleasant sitting/dressing area beyond the jetted tub — and also, for some reason, even more green carpet.

Outside, we’re treated to more photos of the sweeping views available from the two levels of patio, plus some aerial shots that illustrate just how much home size demands have grown for today’s modern wealthy folk. And with that, our tour has drawn to a close.

Public records list the Buoymaster family as the property’s current owner; the listing says the home hasn’t changed hands in four decades. Ned Buoymaster worked for years in the tech field, developing hardware for some of the earliest personal computers. He passed in 2015; since 1985, his wife Kathleen has operated an interior design firm out of La Jolla.

While the Princess house hasn’t sold in decades, it hasn’t been for lack of trying. The residence has been listed five times since 2012, with asking prices as high as $8.9 million and as low as $5.2 million. The most recent listing went live in mid-September with a $5.7 million asking price that remains unchanged to date.

  • 7944 Princess Street | La Jolla, 92037
  • Current owner: The Buoymaster Family | listing price: $8,399,000 | beds: 4 | baths: 3 | house size: 2200
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Comments

Oceanfront property would be nice. I would probably change the green carpeting too. Quite the 70s look. Green is the color of money, so maybe it's appropriate.

Dec. 22, 2021
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