“Home in the San Francisco Presidio Heights enclave. Built in 1914 by noted San Francisco architect Houghton Sawyer, the six-bedroom, six-bathroom English Tudor mansion has an extraordinary provenance.The property, sold for the first time in 1960 to the kingdom of Belgium to become its consulate, later fell into total disrepair. "It was a Grey Gardens situation,” comments Thomas. The residence would be traded three more times—in 1982, by a family who made it into a separate home for their four children; in 2005, when it became a decorators' show house; and then again in 2006—before Thomas entered the picture in 2012.
“I wanted the opportunity to do something really special," recalls Hillary Thomas of finding the property, which "was desperate for light and a youthful point of view." With its unusual walled-in garden and location adjacent to the foggy forests of San Francisco’s historic Presidio district, the home feels like a country house in the center of town.
“We wanted it to be a family home first and foremost: At any time, we have lots of kids running around, and we wanted a warm backdrop for everything from intimate dinners to grand parties and events,” says Thomas. "We changed everything—we reversed the flow. Now it feels right, it feels loved, and it feels like home.”