Fernhill Avenue estate has stunning views

August 29, 2012 | SF Chronicle

Fernhill Estate

Light and space permeate this heavenly 19th-century estate in the town of Ross, fashioned after the finest of the old American houses in a hilltop setting. It's truly a feeling of the outside coming in at 38 Fernhill Ave., a property with classic proportions, traditional layout, impressive scale, optimal light and intricate milled woodwork.

Windows large and small, tall and short wrap the walls of the 8,300-square-foot property, now on the market for $10.95 million. Set in the private seclusion of old-growth trees, mature gardens and sprawling level lawns, the home is situated on 2.3 acres with a grand gated entry in Marin County. It offers stunning views of the architecturally attractive San Francisco Theological Seminary, a Presbyterian institution overlooking San Anselmo.

"The grounds are truly park-like and feel very East Coast," said listing agent Tracy McLaughlin with Pacific Union International-Christie's International Real Estate in Ross. "When you step through the gates, you are immediately transported back to 'The Great Gatsby'-era of big garden parties and architecturally important homes."

She called ownership of the iconic circa 1895 estate "a once in a lifetime opportunity" as the property has only been occupied by three families.

Artist and San Anselmo businesswoman Diana Rudsten is the current owner of the gorgeous house, her creative touches and complete modern updates enrich the living experience.

A grand-scale living room on the main level offers high ceilings and a large masonry fireplace overlooking a classic wrap-around porch. The quality continues with a large formal powder room with a vintage sink and a formal dining room seating up to 16. Paneled wainscoting highlights the dining area, along with a decorative fireplace and adjacent sitting room with walls of glass and a door opening to the porch.

The recently remodeled chef's kitchen is immaculate, offering stainless steel appliances, a large center island bar, limestone counters, a walk-in pantry, built-in shelves and a French limestone fireplace.

Upstairs in the Fernhill Avenue home is a chic master suite with a large sitting room, two walk-in closets, built-ins, a fireplace and balcony overlooking the front yard gardens.

The master bath offers a vintage soaking tub and walk-in shower. A large ensuite bedroom with a fireplace opens to a sun-splashed deck while a fifth bedroom makes the ideal nursery with its tiled bathroom.

The great room next to the kitchen provides more built-ins and a spacious seating area for enjoying views of the seminary, which relocated to its current home in 1892, three years before the Fernhill Avenue house materialized.

The San Francisco Theological Seminary was founded in 1871 when students and instructors started meeting in a building in what is now Union Square in San Francisco and later meeting on Haight Street.

A banner Protestant moment involving the seminary was the 1911 march of more than 10,000 men from Union Square to the Coliseum in what is now Golden Gate Park. The marchers all clutched Gideon Bibles, from time-to-time waving them above their heads.

The stunning Fernhill Avenue estate also includes an attached guest house with concrete floors, cathedral ceilings and tall walls of glass opening to the pool area.

Another detached structure serves as an artist's studio or gym.

38 Fernhill Ave., Ross

Built: 1895

Beds: 7

Baths: 5.5

Size: 8,300 square feet

Price: $10.95 million

Listing agent: Tracy McLaughlin,

Pacific Union International,

(415) 464-8686

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