Built in 1894 for Captain Hermann L.E. Meyer (a German-born seaman), wife Annie, and their eight children, the Queen Anne style home on Pacific Avenue is one of San Francisco’s largest. While the home itself is approximately 13,500 square feet, it is situated on three lots totaling approximately 26,000 square feet (more than 0.6 acre), in a prime area of San Francisco luxury real estate. The house was purchased by the current owners in 1983 from the estate of the Verdier family. It was the Verdier family that gave the home its most illustrious history.
Paul Verdier and his sister, Countess Suzanne de Tessan, moved Pacific Avenue in 1944, after Suzanne had fled Nazi-occupied France (her husband, Count Francois de Tessan, a well known author and diplomat, died at the Buchenwald concentration camp that same year.)
If you’ve ever walked into Nieman Marcus and admired the beautiful rotunda with its 105 year-old elliptical dome, you have the Verdiers to thank, for the Verdiers founded and managed the legendary “City of Paris” department store that stood at that site from 1907 to 1981. The magnificent rotunda and dome were saved from demolition thanks to the San Francisco Board of Permit Appeals, which required the architect to integrate it into his plans for the store, which opened in 1983.
Most ironically,the current owner of Pacific was on the Board of Permit Appeals at the time, and “it was at his insistence that retention of the rotunda was made a condition of approval.” So while one owner of the home had the City of Paris dome created, a completely different owner had it preserved!
Because the Verdiers were such notable representatives of the French community in San Francisco, the home was considered a base for any diplomatic visits for the next 40 years! It was even “used as a home for the Free French delegation during the 1945 United Nations Conference attended by President Charles de Gaulle.”
Did de Gaulle himself spend a night at the home?
Built by architect E.A. Hermann, the four-level house has views of the San Francisco Bay, Angel Island and Alcatraz. It has seven bedrooms, a four-car garage, a caretaker’s apartment, a gym and spa. “The owners converted a dipping pool in the home’s solarium into a koi pond.”
It also has “a formal sunken garden that the family used as a volleyball court when their children were young, a carriage house that doubles as a game room and a gazebo.” Steve Gothelf and Lynn Moore of Pacific Union International, an affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate, share the listing.
[Interior photos, Vince Valdes