A blog about the life of the Balentine family: Adam, Amy, Teddy, Simon, Thomas, Peter and Goldie

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Throwback post: "9 mos. into marriage and all is well on California Street"


I wrote the following in July of 2010.  I remember wanting to connect better with family and friends who were far away by giving them a glimpse into our lives.  I never published this post, for some reason.  It is awesome to look back at our time in San Francisco and our first year of marriage!  It is also funny to hear my take on a old RENTAL house now that we own a 1918 "charmer" that births a new maintenance/improvement project almost every day.  I never finished the below post, but it is still interesting to look back.  One part I didn't finish was that the ceiling collapsed on our first floor at around 2AM and although we both woke, neither of us got up to check out the damage.  I guess we thought it was just another earthquake.  It was "quite a disaster," as our landlord said. 

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Amy and I have surpassed the 9 month mark of being married and it has been quite a blast so far. Our SF apartment is compact but roomy, too old with all the necessary updates, and charming yet frustrating. No doubt someone who has lived in a home that as built in the late 19th century could empathize with our sentiments.


It seems like you fall in love hard and fast with a 130 year old home. And this makes all of the quirks you have to deal with a bit more disenchanting. I don't want to overstate my position on this, however. We love this apartment. It is the most unique one-bedroom apartment I have seen in my more than 4 years in San Francisco. It sits inside a Victorian mansion that was built in 1880. Our landlord's parents (who were just the second owners of this home when they purchased it in the 1930's) were forced to divide the home into separate units by the Federal Government to create additional housing during World War II. San Francisco became a major shipping-off point for servicemen fighting in the Pacific and it housed one of the largest Naval ship building/ ship repair yards on the West Coast in Hunter's Point. In short, this brought jobs and a drastic growth in population to the city. According to our landlord, Tom (who is now in his late 70's), Uncle Sam was contracting a lot of the renovation work to break-up many of the large, historic and majestic mansions in the city into multiple units. Tom proudly proclaims that his father opted to contract the construction work himself, using union, Irish laborers to complete the job.


They dropped certain ceilings, built dividing walls, and constructed doorways and made this three-story mansion into a 6-unit multi-tenant building that still features many of the original details it had on it's birthday in 1880. Unfortunately, as we learned when a minuscule, prolonged water leak in our upstairs bathroom brought down a 1' x 2' chunk of ceiling in our downstairs hallway one month into us living here, the construction of the multiple units covered up some amazingly detailed finish work in the old house.

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