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Want to live across the street from the Marston House?

Also a Mills Act historic designation

The fish are koi, so they can be hard to spot.
The fish are koi, so they can be hard to spot.

The opening Zillow remarks for this week’s home inform us that “the 3500 block of Seventh Avenue is one of San Diego’s best-kept secrets.” If you look at a map, it’s hard to argue with that claim: that one block of Seventh is cut off from other sections to the north and south and runs along the northwest edge of Balboa Park before terminating in a dead end. Save for a condo tower on the corner of Upas, there are only eight residences, all tucked up against the park, all historic mansions — including, perhaps most notably, the Marston House, built for early civic leader and “Father of Balboa Park” George Marston.

Marston’s house has been incorporated into the park itself and is now a museum, but directly across the street is another home, one also designed and built in 1906 by famed local architect Irving Gill. Let’s have a look at the nearly 5000-square-foot mansion at 3526 Seventh, shall we?

Before we go inside, the listing photos take us through the “perfectly manicured grounds with avocado trees, peaceful gardens, and two koi ponds.” That last clarification is welcome, because they helped me spot the fish swimming around in what I initially mistook in the opening shot for a black-bottomed pool flanked by a covered brick patio with outdoor dining area.

Once we enter the home through a pair of green French doors, we find ourselves in a small foyer, looking through a dark wood arch into a sitting room outfitted with a brick fireplace (one of four to be found throughout the house, it turns out). Off to the side is a larger entry hall, its walls and floors covered in wood, with more arch work and a couple of ornately-carved buffets. I tend not to complain about exposed wood, but this might be a bit much, were it not for the white ceiling that lightens up the space some. While we’re on the subject of color: a little, low-roofed powder room is painted dark red, perhaps too dark for such a small space. A small statue of a man stands next to the pedestal sink, and seems to be offering us some candy, as if we were in a fancy restaurant with a washroom attendant.

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Back in the living room, we see that beyond it lies a sunroom, with more huge French doors and walls of windows looking out into the gardens. Down a half-flight of steps lies a family room with enough space to tuck a grand piano in a corner behind all the other furniture. Then we see a room so small that there’s just enough space for a pair of benches flanking the walls, plus a fireplace. I like this cozy little nook, but it also seems that it would get entirely too hot once a respectable fire got going. Luckily, there are plenty of windows, at least a few of which seem to open.

Wood you want to live like this?

A formal dining room offers seating for eight at the table, plus a padded window bench, built-in hutch, and glass-doored China cabinet — and another fireplace. A butler’s pantry contains a double sink and prep area, and that’s before we get to the main kitchen, which, while nice, is probably rivaled in size and opulence by those of most modern tract homes. It does adjoin a second informal dining space, where the oversized wood baseboards and molding add some classical style without overwhelming or darkening the room.

In the first bedroom shot we see, the bed is positioned diagonally in the middle of the room, leaving a large triangular space behind the bed unused, save for a floor lamp. Do people actually arrange their bedroom furniture like this? I’ve only ever seen it in real estate marketing photos, and have never encountered anything of the sort in real life. That said, the bedrooms and bathrooms, which appear to have been updated sometime in the last 10 years or so, are all fine. Some nods to modernity have been made, such as the installation of recessed lighting and ceiling fans, but the home still retains a lot of its historical character.

Next we see a few small offices, including one that for some reason has a sink and vanity installed. Maybe this is a makeup room of sorts? My wife would enjoy this almost as much as I would enjoy reclaiming some counter space in our bathroom. When I am rich, we will have one of these rooms.

A few more photos follow, designed to show us the historic integrity of the home, including the finish on the original tile and woodwork, more arched windows, and even some glass doorknobs before we end our tour back outside. In addition to the three-bedroom main house, there’s a guest house with another bedroom, which is serviceable but thoroughly unspectacular.

Thanks to a Mills Act historic designation, the property enjoys a considerable discount on property taxes, in exchange for an owner’s promise to maintain the exterior of the property in a condition similar to when it was built 115 years ago. Public records list the current owners of the estate as Laurence and Susan Favrot. The home was listed for the first time in more than 20 years in mid-March; the asking price of $5.2 million remains unchanged to date.

  • 3526 7th Avenue| San Diego, 92103
  • Current owner: Favrot Family | Listing price: $5,200,000 | Beds: 4 | Baths: 5 | House size: 5000
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The fish are koi, so they can be hard to spot.
The fish are koi, so they can be hard to spot.

The opening Zillow remarks for this week’s home inform us that “the 3500 block of Seventh Avenue is one of San Diego’s best-kept secrets.” If you look at a map, it’s hard to argue with that claim: that one block of Seventh is cut off from other sections to the north and south and runs along the northwest edge of Balboa Park before terminating in a dead end. Save for a condo tower on the corner of Upas, there are only eight residences, all tucked up against the park, all historic mansions — including, perhaps most notably, the Marston House, built for early civic leader and “Father of Balboa Park” George Marston.

Marston’s house has been incorporated into the park itself and is now a museum, but directly across the street is another home, one also designed and built in 1906 by famed local architect Irving Gill. Let’s have a look at the nearly 5000-square-foot mansion at 3526 Seventh, shall we?

Before we go inside, the listing photos take us through the “perfectly manicured grounds with avocado trees, peaceful gardens, and two koi ponds.” That last clarification is welcome, because they helped me spot the fish swimming around in what I initially mistook in the opening shot for a black-bottomed pool flanked by a covered brick patio with outdoor dining area.

Once we enter the home through a pair of green French doors, we find ourselves in a small foyer, looking through a dark wood arch into a sitting room outfitted with a brick fireplace (one of four to be found throughout the house, it turns out). Off to the side is a larger entry hall, its walls and floors covered in wood, with more arch work and a couple of ornately-carved buffets. I tend not to complain about exposed wood, but this might be a bit much, were it not for the white ceiling that lightens up the space some. While we’re on the subject of color: a little, low-roofed powder room is painted dark red, perhaps too dark for such a small space. A small statue of a man stands next to the pedestal sink, and seems to be offering us some candy, as if we were in a fancy restaurant with a washroom attendant.

Sponsored
Sponsored

Back in the living room, we see that beyond it lies a sunroom, with more huge French doors and walls of windows looking out into the gardens. Down a half-flight of steps lies a family room with enough space to tuck a grand piano in a corner behind all the other furniture. Then we see a room so small that there’s just enough space for a pair of benches flanking the walls, plus a fireplace. I like this cozy little nook, but it also seems that it would get entirely too hot once a respectable fire got going. Luckily, there are plenty of windows, at least a few of which seem to open.

Wood you want to live like this?

A formal dining room offers seating for eight at the table, plus a padded window bench, built-in hutch, and glass-doored China cabinet — and another fireplace. A butler’s pantry contains a double sink and prep area, and that’s before we get to the main kitchen, which, while nice, is probably rivaled in size and opulence by those of most modern tract homes. It does adjoin a second informal dining space, where the oversized wood baseboards and molding add some classical style without overwhelming or darkening the room.

In the first bedroom shot we see, the bed is positioned diagonally in the middle of the room, leaving a large triangular space behind the bed unused, save for a floor lamp. Do people actually arrange their bedroom furniture like this? I’ve only ever seen it in real estate marketing photos, and have never encountered anything of the sort in real life. That said, the bedrooms and bathrooms, which appear to have been updated sometime in the last 10 years or so, are all fine. Some nods to modernity have been made, such as the installation of recessed lighting and ceiling fans, but the home still retains a lot of its historical character.

Next we see a few small offices, including one that for some reason has a sink and vanity installed. Maybe this is a makeup room of sorts? My wife would enjoy this almost as much as I would enjoy reclaiming some counter space in our bathroom. When I am rich, we will have one of these rooms.

A few more photos follow, designed to show us the historic integrity of the home, including the finish on the original tile and woodwork, more arched windows, and even some glass doorknobs before we end our tour back outside. In addition to the three-bedroom main house, there’s a guest house with another bedroom, which is serviceable but thoroughly unspectacular.

Thanks to a Mills Act historic designation, the property enjoys a considerable discount on property taxes, in exchange for an owner’s promise to maintain the exterior of the property in a condition similar to when it was built 115 years ago. Public records list the current owners of the estate as Laurence and Susan Favrot. The home was listed for the first time in more than 20 years in mid-March; the asking price of $5.2 million remains unchanged to date.

  • 3526 7th Avenue| San Diego, 92103
  • Current owner: Favrot Family | Listing price: $5,200,000 | Beds: 4 | Baths: 5 | House size: 5000
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Biophilic design: the idea that architecture should connect building occupants more closely to nature.
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