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A diminutive studio house from 1868 in the heart of Sherman Heights

“Small structures...good homes, for normal people.”

A grand entrance for the Tiny Home
A grand entrance for the Tiny Home

Here at Unreal, we tend to go big, unless of course, we’re going even bigger. I make frequent jokes about walk-in closets bigger than my living room, or kitchen islands bigger than my kitchen. “Let’s look at this rich guy’s ridiculous house” is what we’ve been doing for more than a decade now. But it seems some of you have had enough, and I don’t blame you. (What, you think it’s easy writing variations on the same story hundreds of times over?) Reader Murray wrote in to suggest that maybe it’s time for “small structures...good homes, for normal people.”

Well, Murray, thanks for the request! This week we’re going to try something entirely different: instead of the biggest, fanciest estates on the market, I went looking for the smallest, most affordable house within city limits. Welcome to 2439 G Street in Sherman Heights, just east of downtown. This diminutive studio house dates all the way back to 1868 and might well be the oldest home we’ve ever looked at in this column. Further, it clocks in at just 384 square feet of living space. For once, I can comfortably brag that my own modest mid-city abode feels spacious in comparison.

“This adorable Cottage is located in the heart of the Sherman Heights Historic District, with the possibility of applying for the Mills Act,” opens the Zillow pitch for the home, referencing the tax-advantaged status afforded to property owners who maintain the exterior appearance of historically significant buildings. The first shot of that exterior shows a house that’s both charming and obviously quite small. The two-tone green paint (with red and tan accents) goes well with the clean, simple landscape, and the tiny front porch is inviting, even if those chairs tucked onto it are a bit small for extended periods of leisure. But what I’m really noticing is the way the house is absolutely dwarfed by the blue behemoth next door.

The kitchen is admittedly a bit dated.

There’s another, larger wooden deck off the back door, and from this angle we can see that the house extends a bit farther back than it originally seemed. Both are welcome developments.

Some aerial shots point out the lot lines of both this house and the one next door, which is also for sale. More on that in a minute.

Now we’re headed through a French door into the kitchen. Or, rather, we’re looking at the kitchen through the door, because there’s not enough room to get all the way inside. Still, I like what I see: fresh cherry cabinets, quartz counters, a modern stainless steel appliance package. As galley-style kitchens in smaller homes go, this one is quite attractive. I also really like the tiny hexagonal tiles in the floor; the grout would probably be a nightmare to keep clean, but it lends a historic feeling to the house that the otherwise modern kitchen doesn’t. Even better is the “1868” inlay just past the doorway from the living area, a nod to the 155-year history of the cottage. I don’t know if it’s original, but I also don’t care, and would definitely keep it here forever.

“The interior main living/sleeping area showcases the original hardwood floors,” the listing continues, which I also find cool; it was something I decided to look into after seeing the rough-hewn boards. But this living/sleeping space is really just a bedroom: we’ve got room for a bed (a double or queen, not a king), a couple of dressers, and a desk. Without a couch or at least a couple of comfy chairs, I’m not calling it a living room. That’s fine, because I’m spending most of my time in the yard if I live here anyway.

Sponsored
Sponsored

Next is the bath, where we get more of that black and white hexagonal tile on the floor, plus some subway tiles going up the shower walls. There’s a basic Home Depot vanity, but at this price point, I’ll allow it. What strikes me in here is how huge the window over the toilet looks (it’s probably just a normal-sized window).

That’s pretty much the end of our tour, but the listing tells us that we also get alley access to a gated driveway, a storage room “that could be upgraded to a standard garage and [accessory dwelling unit] or . . .” and “SO Much untapped Potential!”

Okay, so we’ve got a perfect little tiny house with loads of charm, a central location, and some recent upgrades. Have I mentioned the asking price is only $410,000? What’s not to like?

Sadly, the seller is willing to sell the property only as a joint transaction with the neighboring unit at 2435 G, a $1.9 million 4158-square-foot mansion built in 2017. It’s a nice house, sure, and if you check it out you’ll probably appreciate the retro-modern style. But you can see from the yard photos that the two homes kind of encroach on one another and likely work better as a pair than as individual listings.

Our subject property has been listed since early September with its asking price unchanged, though it was offered as an $1800/month rental for a while earlier this year. The neighboring property, which you must also purchase if you want this tiny home, has seen its price dropped from nearly $2.4 million back in June. But if you’ve got to take them as a pair, it means the joy of small living done city close remains sadly out of reach.

In closing, I’ve got a favor to ask: are you working on tiny homes or ADUs anywhere in San Diego County? If so, Unreal wants to talk to you! Let me know what you’ve got in the works, we’d love to feature your work in a future column if you’ve got a unique solution to the housing crisis we’re all enduring. Go to the website (maybe you’re already there) and smash that “email author” button, or else the McMansions will keep on coming!

2439 G Street | San Diego, 92102

Current owner: n/a | Listing price: $410,000 | Beds: 0 | Baths: 1 | House size: 384 sq ft

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A grand entrance for the Tiny Home
A grand entrance for the Tiny Home

Here at Unreal, we tend to go big, unless of course, we’re going even bigger. I make frequent jokes about walk-in closets bigger than my living room, or kitchen islands bigger than my kitchen. “Let’s look at this rich guy’s ridiculous house” is what we’ve been doing for more than a decade now. But it seems some of you have had enough, and I don’t blame you. (What, you think it’s easy writing variations on the same story hundreds of times over?) Reader Murray wrote in to suggest that maybe it’s time for “small structures...good homes, for normal people.”

Well, Murray, thanks for the request! This week we’re going to try something entirely different: instead of the biggest, fanciest estates on the market, I went looking for the smallest, most affordable house within city limits. Welcome to 2439 G Street in Sherman Heights, just east of downtown. This diminutive studio house dates all the way back to 1868 and might well be the oldest home we’ve ever looked at in this column. Further, it clocks in at just 384 square feet of living space. For once, I can comfortably brag that my own modest mid-city abode feels spacious in comparison.

“This adorable Cottage is located in the heart of the Sherman Heights Historic District, with the possibility of applying for the Mills Act,” opens the Zillow pitch for the home, referencing the tax-advantaged status afforded to property owners who maintain the exterior appearance of historically significant buildings. The first shot of that exterior shows a house that’s both charming and obviously quite small. The two-tone green paint (with red and tan accents) goes well with the clean, simple landscape, and the tiny front porch is inviting, even if those chairs tucked onto it are a bit small for extended periods of leisure. But what I’m really noticing is the way the house is absolutely dwarfed by the blue behemoth next door.

The kitchen is admittedly a bit dated.

There’s another, larger wooden deck off the back door, and from this angle we can see that the house extends a bit farther back than it originally seemed. Both are welcome developments.

Some aerial shots point out the lot lines of both this house and the one next door, which is also for sale. More on that in a minute.

Now we’re headed through a French door into the kitchen. Or, rather, we’re looking at the kitchen through the door, because there’s not enough room to get all the way inside. Still, I like what I see: fresh cherry cabinets, quartz counters, a modern stainless steel appliance package. As galley-style kitchens in smaller homes go, this one is quite attractive. I also really like the tiny hexagonal tiles in the floor; the grout would probably be a nightmare to keep clean, but it lends a historic feeling to the house that the otherwise modern kitchen doesn’t. Even better is the “1868” inlay just past the doorway from the living area, a nod to the 155-year history of the cottage. I don’t know if it’s original, but I also don’t care, and would definitely keep it here forever.

“The interior main living/sleeping area showcases the original hardwood floors,” the listing continues, which I also find cool; it was something I decided to look into after seeing the rough-hewn boards. But this living/sleeping space is really just a bedroom: we’ve got room for a bed (a double or queen, not a king), a couple of dressers, and a desk. Without a couch or at least a couple of comfy chairs, I’m not calling it a living room. That’s fine, because I’m spending most of my time in the yard if I live here anyway.

Sponsored
Sponsored

Next is the bath, where we get more of that black and white hexagonal tile on the floor, plus some subway tiles going up the shower walls. There’s a basic Home Depot vanity, but at this price point, I’ll allow it. What strikes me in here is how huge the window over the toilet looks (it’s probably just a normal-sized window).

That’s pretty much the end of our tour, but the listing tells us that we also get alley access to a gated driveway, a storage room “that could be upgraded to a standard garage and [accessory dwelling unit] or . . .” and “SO Much untapped Potential!”

Okay, so we’ve got a perfect little tiny house with loads of charm, a central location, and some recent upgrades. Have I mentioned the asking price is only $410,000? What’s not to like?

Sadly, the seller is willing to sell the property only as a joint transaction with the neighboring unit at 2435 G, a $1.9 million 4158-square-foot mansion built in 2017. It’s a nice house, sure, and if you check it out you’ll probably appreciate the retro-modern style. But you can see from the yard photos that the two homes kind of encroach on one another and likely work better as a pair than as individual listings.

Our subject property has been listed since early September with its asking price unchanged, though it was offered as an $1800/month rental for a while earlier this year. The neighboring property, which you must also purchase if you want this tiny home, has seen its price dropped from nearly $2.4 million back in June. But if you’ve got to take them as a pair, it means the joy of small living done city close remains sadly out of reach.

In closing, I’ve got a favor to ask: are you working on tiny homes or ADUs anywhere in San Diego County? If so, Unreal wants to talk to you! Let me know what you’ve got in the works, we’d love to feature your work in a future column if you’ve got a unique solution to the housing crisis we’re all enduring. Go to the website (maybe you’re already there) and smash that “email author” button, or else the McMansions will keep on coming!

2439 G Street | San Diego, 92102

Current owner: n/a | Listing price: $410,000 | Beds: 0 | Baths: 1 | House size: 384 sq ft

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