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Neutra's Overway-Schiff House

Ensconced in the Marina neighborhood of San Francisco, the Schiff house was completed by Richard Neutra in 1938 for a pair of Berliners who wanted to move down the hill from Lombard Street. The occasion for the tour was a lecture sponsored by the San Francisco chapter of the AIA and featuring Neutra's son, Raymond, who wrote quite well about his father for Dwell in 2007. He walked us through his lauded father's career, biography, and thinking, and ended with an overview of the famed VDL compound in Los Angeles, where he grew up, his father and brother worked, and is now in something of a state of disrepair.

As you head up the stairs of the Schiff-Overway house, you know that you're in store for a treat. This is a house very much of the 1930s and it feels just right. Photo by Mark Darley.

Not only did Raymond talk about the state of his boyhood home, recounting anecdotes of architectural giants such as Otto Wagner, RM Schindler, Gregory Ain, and photographer Julius Shulman, but the present owner of the 1938 house, architect, Chad Overway, told us about how he came to the place. He bought it in 1993, worked hard to restore it to it's original details. "My stewardship hasn't been to renovate the house, but to return it to what it was, or might have been," he said.

I was lucky enough to wander the backyard, two floors and the 800 square-foot roofdeck, which looks directly onto the Golden Gate bridge. As far as I know, this is the first Neutra house I've seen in person, and I'm now very curious to seek out the other two in the region. I understand that there's one at the foot of Union St. A long seems very near at hand. 

Have a look at this slideshow of the house as Overway has it now to see some of the details and layout of what makes the Schiff house such a success.

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