Last week, the house at 205 Mullen Ave. in northeast Bernal Heights was listed for sale. The asking price is $975K for the 2BR house, which prompted our friends at the CurbedSF blog to weep that “a starter home in San Francisco is now officially a touch under one million” — which is a totally legit thing to weep about.
Yet with that said, CurbedSF didn’t account for the fact that 205 Mullen comes with one very, very unique feature: Carlos Santana used to live in it.
It’s true. Sanata lived in northeast Bernal in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and during the early years, when he was playing epic, ad hoc concerts in Precita Park, he lived here, at 205 Mullen. Later, a few members of Journey lived there too (Trivia Fun Fact: Journey was founded by a manager and musicians who started out working with Santana.)
Anyway, Neighbor N owns the Santana House now, so Bernalwood asked him to describe what it’s been like to live there:
I still think about the first time I came to the house. Stupidly, I had no real conceptions of Bernal’s north slope view. It was also probably the first house I looked at in Bernal.
I walked in the door and said, “Wow, I had no idea the view was that good.”
I didn’t find out till later (possibly from a certain neighborhood blog) that Santana (and some members of Journey) used to live here. A few people came by to snap pics that week. Everyone is always very respectful.
I really do wonder what the house was like when Santana lived here. At some point, someone put up a solid, nearly seven-foot-tall fence, with spikes above that. There were shutters on the bay window, closing off the southern light. The house was very, very walled off from the street. Here’s how it looked in 2012:
That never felt like Santana to me.
When I refaced the fence with pickets, we worked hard to get both the height and the spacing just right. I didn’t want another Wall on Mullen, as I used to call the old fence. But I wanted privacy. I also didn’t want the house to be hidden behind the fence. From the beginning, I wanted to open up the house, because it’s such a quintessentially San Francisco house.
I’d like to think we got it pretty right. As soon as the new fence was up, there was a much nicer sense of connection to the rest of the neighborhood, and the light was totally different. Same when I replaced the shutters with curtains and added a new frosted front door to let in more of that southern light. I get a ton of light now, and I still have that crazy-good view from the back.
Now, when you walk by the house, you can see the sun setting through the house. I think that’s pretty special.
After the fence, the other big thing I changed was the color. I have always liked dark houses. I used to own a funny little ranch house on eastern Long Island that I painted charcoal about 15 years ago. I liked the idea of all dark on the outside and all light on the inside.
For San Francisco, I wanted dark, but definitely a color, so I chose this charcoal-y blue, but it’s definitely blue. I really like it when neighbors say “You live in the blue house!” To me, that means they get it.
I like monochromatic houses because it makes it more about the house and less about the paint *on* the house. I wanted to really show off the house.
I’d like to think Santana would like it too. I really tried to let the house be what it should have been all along, which is probably more like it was when Santana lived here.
PHOTOS: 2012 photo by Telstar Logistics. Contemporary photos courtesy of Neighbor N.