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Full House Painted Ladies

For the first time in 35 years the oldest, largest and most detailed of the seven sisters - known worldwide as the Painted Ladies and Postcard Row - has gone on the real estate market.

The ornate Queen Anne Victorian with Italianate touches sits across from Alamo Square on the corner of Steiner and Grove streets and is always in the corner of pictures taken by tourists. The asking price is $1 under $4 million. It was set by owner Michael Shannon based on square footage, 4, 600, and neighborhood comparables, meaning that there are none, even among the six matching houses for which it serves as an exclamation point.

The last time one of them was sold was author Alice Walker's house next door. About 15 years ago, Walker offered it to Shannon for $600, 000, which he now wishes he'd taken, because five years later it sold again for $1.2 million.

His house is 1, 000 square feet larger than the others, with four bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths, plus a garden au pair apartment. According to Shannon, who has researched the history, the home was constructed as the personal residence of builder Matthew Kavanaugh, who owned all the adjacent lots to the south. After Kavanaugh finished his own place, he built the three matching houses at the far end on spec. When they sold for around $8, 000 apiece, Kavanaugh finished the strip, in 1896.

Shannon says that building records went up in the flames of 1906 but Water Department records were saved, and the plumbing hookup to his house at 722 Steiner was June 11, 1892.

Leftover hippies

Shannon, 66, and his late partner bought the house on Dec. 5, 1975, for $65, 000. Included in the deal was a parlor full of intractable Haight-Ashbury spillovers.

"I took possession in 1976, but didn't really take full possession because there were so many hippies living here, " says Shannon while sitting in the parlor. "There were about 30 living in this room." Nothing budged them until Shannon spread a rumor that the FBI was coming by for a search. "They were gone by the end of the day."

Shannon has hosted so many weddings there - including his mother's, his sister's and his own - that he had himself ordained a minister. Now he has Parkinson's disease and can't keep the place up or negotiate the stairs. He has a dry sense of humor about marketing hype and doesn't mind stirring up a frenzy if it stirs up a bidding war.

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Popular Q&A

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Which painted ladies were featured in the Full House credits?

Alamo Square is where they were hanging out in one of the scenes, including the Painted Ladies. The actual house they supposedly lived in is on Broderick street as described at

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Our tour guide said they filmed Full House in one of the painted ladies?

he said it was the yellow house...one of the 7 painted ladies...then i was watching Full House and i realized thats not the painted ladies..i did some research and they said the house was on Broderick street...? was that the postcard row ? im just confused. they even said they never even filmed Full House in SF, only the outside..

Tour guides are typically full of it.

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