In a land called Bernal Heights, not so very long ago, a sad fixer-upper sold for a measly $835,000. In one magical year, thanks to a property expansion, some major renovations, and a sprinkling of fairy dust, the plain jane now joins SF's million-dollar ranks, hitting the market for nearly double her 2014 selling price. Talk about a Cinderella story.
Few San Francisco neighborhoods have a small village vibe quite like Bernal Heights does. This little 'hood on the hill is known for its quite and quaint character, spectacular views, lush farmers markets, vibrant homes, friendly people, and an unfair amount of sun. Here's your guide to it.
No matter where you spent your 4th of July in the Bay Area, you were in for a spectacular show. Here are some shots from Bernal Hill with a nice view overlooking the city. Where did you watch?
Last week, we caught up with vintage boutique owner, Stephanie Madrinan, at her Bernal Heights shop, 31 RAX. The 31 refers to Stephanie's birthday (December 31), while Rax holds a double meaning. "'RAX' was supposed to be 'racks', but I stuck with the 'x' because it's different and, in the dictionary, 'rax' means to extend a hand or to stretch," said Stephanie. "31 RAX is an extension of my previous business, Steph's Closet."
I met photographer Abraham (Abe) Espiritu a few years back, and have always dug how he pieces modern and vintage clothing to present personal, yet on-trend looks. Last weekend, I asked him to pull together a few rain-and-shine spring looks for a little photoshoot in his hood, Bernal Heights. The end result included a fantastic mix of rain boots, black-on-black, white pants, sockless oxfords, a cool chambray, and fiery vintage prints. Check it out.
My son was a colicky baby, wailing for hours and up before dawn. To comfort him—and escape our cramped apartment—we would take long walks. Fortifying coffee in hand and baby in pouch, I’d scale Folsom Street and then spiral up to Bernal Heights, where we could find nature without leaving San Francisco. Once I saw an owl gripping a branch, looking back at us with agate eyes. We kept up the ritual after the fussy baby turned into a happier toddler, and we would walk side by side. Max was just 2 when he surveyed the view and said, “Our city.” Some people argue that SF is no place to raise a kid, but I’ve always felt differently.
In San Francisco, well-designed new construction can be hard to come by, but this family-sized condo in the Bernal Heights neighborhood is one that succeeds fairly well. Plus it's in a part of Bernal Heights that's getting "interesting".
The Basics: a 3-bed/2.5bath condominium at the bottom of Bernal Heights. One of a similar pair of condo units, it comes with one parking space, has been on the market five days, asking $895K.
Last fall, we published the 10 Best Lunches Under $10 in Union Square. It was so popular, we figured why not do every neighborhood? Rather than attack this subject as outsiders, we're approaching a hyperlocal dweller from each 'hood to give us their picks—in this case 7x7 contributor Antonia Richmond.
San Franciscans are pretty, ahem, vocal about food, so sound off in the comments about what you'd add to this list.
When I'm freezing, I don't venture very far for food. Fortunately, Locavore is two blocks away from my apartment in Bernal Heights. Though the exterior looks a bit like a dance club, the restaurant's chef Jason Moniz and partners Mario Duarte and Cesar Ascarrunz have lovingly crafted a sophisticated and welcoming space that's downright cozy. There's a wooden community table in the center, lots of candlelight, black and white photos of pigs, and chicken-wire light fixtures that could be hokey, only it's not. A gray concrete ceiling and floor adds a touch of modernity.
Because paying full retail price is oh-so-passé...
Ladita: We’re sad to report that this Bernal Heights eco-boutique is closing its doors in less than two weeks. Until then, the shop is having a close-out sale that promises eco-friendly apparel, accessories and gifts for women and babies for up to 70 percent off.
Elizabeth Charles: A summer sale is on at this Pacific Heights destination for Australian designers, as well as in the boutique’s online store. Women’s apparel from designers such as Ginger and Smart and Megan Park are going for hundreds off regular prices.