Monthly Archives: August 2011

When Wine and Jewelry meet

… I don’t know about you- but we want to be there! The owner’s of San Francisco’s D&H Sustainable Jewelers now operate a fully lisenced wine bar in their jewelery gallery!  Believing that customers who buy fine jewelry also enjoy fine wines, Daunell and co-owner Shawn Higgins saw an opportunity not only to create an experiential shopping experience, but also to cross-market with local wineries.  It is hard to believe that they are the first jewelry store in America with a fully licensed wine bar.  In addition to Luxury- the common theme between the wine and the jewelery offered is that they are sustainable. The jewelry is made from both recycled metals and ethically sourced gemstones, and the wines will all be hand picked from local sustainable vineyards. The wines will rotate monthly and they plan on featuring special tastings with the winemakers.

Rose Cut Wine Bar is located at 2323 Market Street and is open Thursday-Sunday.

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Brand New Construction

kitchen and dining area

With all the finishes, bells and whistles you would expect in 2011. The yard is very finely finished with patio area, lawn, garden and VIEWS. 102 Conrad is located on a hill in a windy neighborhood, but the weather is usually warmer than the rest of the city up there! This may not be the most walkable neighborhood in San Francisco but you are just steps away from BART.  All  4 bedrooms are on the top level of the house (master with a bay view). The main level begins in a light-filled living room, and moves to a centrally located dining room, completed with a kitchen/great room that opens directly to the landscaped garden and patio.  The entry level features a media room with bath, wine cellar and 2 car garage. The master and the living room both have gas fireplaces.

Cant get more Turn Key than this Yard

Modern, clean, fun and impressive.


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Decks, Decks and more Decks!

open kitchen

11 Cook Street is located off of Geary on a dead-end street in Jordan Park. The nearest shopping area is Laurel Heights, and it is not far from Mountain Lake Park. Large backyard, with a deck off of every level (and soon-to-have permits for roof top deck for even MORE outdoor space with outstanding views).

look at all those decks!

All outdoor rear decks have stairs leading down to the yard.  Grand high ceilings and open space for comfortable family living and entertaining on 4 levels. HUGE- over 4,350 sqft! Basement has a large living area (could be used for many different purposes: media room, gym, entertaining etc. ), plus a bath with steam room and sauna, and wine closet. 1st floor has a two car garage, foyer, kitchenette, two baths and two bedrooms- as well as a deck.  The second floor has a LARGE, open feel with high ceilings and two rooms- very large open living and kitchen/dining with sliding floor to ceiling glass doors that open up completely to the deck as well as a bathroom. The third floor has all three bedrooms (the master bathroom is beautifully done) and two baths, and of course a deck off of the master. This is the perfect house for a young family who also loves to entertain. This duality is our favorite feature about the house.

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Un-Traditionally Traditional

While this property is legally two units with separate entrances, it has been set up as a single family home. With this caveat, I automatically assumed that I would not be a fan of 1115-1117 Cole street. Even with the prime location- just two blocks to Cole Valley shopping, dinging, and entertainment- I could not picture calling a “two unit building” home.  I will admit when I am wrong, and boy was I wrong! The minute I walked in, I immediately began to feel at home. Both grand and cozy at the same time, this is the type of property that one could easily call home.

The main floor features a formal dining room and living area as well as a renovated kitchen with top-of-the-line appliances open to an eating/family area. This open space in the rear of the home affords direct access to a west-facing backyard. 

There are three bedrooms on the second level; two at the rear of the home, one of which has a sun room with a door to a deck that overlooks the back yard. The third bedroom is at the front of the home. There are three full baths, one on each level, All of which have been tastefully  updated.

The lower level of the house has a kitchen and bath and a large Spanish-tiled living space that has a clubhouse feel and could easily transform into a media room or entertaining space. As if this weren’t enough- there are also two working  gas fireplaces with custom handmade tile, good closet space, and attractive period details. There is radiant heat on the two lower levels and a large attic space which could be improved.

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People swarm to Dolores Park on Sunny San Francisco Days

People swarm to Dolores Park on Sunny San Francisco Days

Centrally located between urban thorough fares and mellow hillside dwellings, the Mission District stretches along Mission Street form Cesar Chavez to Market Street, bordered by Dolores Street to the West, and Potrero Street to the East.  It’s busy streets are lined with book stores, thrift shops and produce stands.  The Mission is foodie ground zero- from the cheap and numerous burrito joints to Vietnamese restaurants, greasy diners, Spanish taps bars, trendy new cafes and upscale California eateries.  In the neighborhood bars and sidewalk cafes, you’re as likely to be entertained by a wandering mariachi band as a jukebox, while you rub shoulders with feminists, freelancers, techies, nerds, and confused foreign backpackers.  Not surprisingly, suits, ties and evening gowns are not often spotted in the vicinity; you’re more likely to see adventurers heading to Mission Cliffs for a little indoor rock climbing, or artistes and wannabes flocking to Southern Exposure, the Marsh, and the Elbo Room for experimental theater, poetry readings, photography exhibits, and jazz and rock gigs.  Perhaps the wildest time to visit the Mission is on Hispanic holidays when this neighborhood shows its true colors, such as Day of the Dead, Cinco de Mayo, and especially, Carnival.

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Chestnut St. is lined with cafes and boutiques

With spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz,  and the Bay, the Marina is one of the most scenic and user-friendly neighborhoods in the city.  Thanks to its many amenities—museums, shops, restaurants, and a grassy flat stretch of land perfect for kite-flying, running, or sunning—the Marina is desirable real estate for the young and affluent or the older and endowed.  The side streets are lined with cozy old-fashioned flats distinguished by art deco design.  Originally an Italian neighborhood, the Marina now houses some of that community’s oldest families who live in the elegant homes that line the waterfront.  Residents enjoy unobstructed views of the activities that take place outside their windows: sailboats waiting impatiently for their owners to release them from their slips, while roller-bladers gleefully whiz by on the smooth pavement of Marina Boulevard.  A grassy park, aptly called Marina Green, runs parallel to the Bay and plays host to volleyball tournaments, dog walkers, and fitness fans.

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Hayes Valley

Hayes Valley is home to the famous Painted Ladies

For San Franciscans who attend theater opening s and symphony galas, Hayes Valley is the place to buy a one-of-a-kind gown, eat a terrific meal, and then dash off to hear Michael Tilson Thomas, without traveling more than three blocks. But dashing from here would be a shame.  This as a neighborhood designed for browsing.  It is lined with galleries, antiques shops, boutiques, and restaurants that cover most tastes, from soul food, to grilled ahi, to award winning California Chef’s cuisine.  Hayes Valley offers lots of diversions.  There’s the San Francisco Women Artists’ Gallery on Hayes, as well as the Polanco Gallery of Mexican Art, with beautiful crafts and paintings by some of Mexico’s well-known artists. There’s also an impressive blown-glass gallery, and J.C.’s Collections, a cramped shop with an assortment of kitsch including Star Trek action figures and Batman lunch boxes.  For those with Imelda-like tendencies, stop at Gimme Shoes.

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Forrest Hill

Forrest Hill Stairway

Forrest Hill is another one of those tucked away secret parts of San Francisco that tourists and even locals usually don’t see unless they’re visiting someone who lives there.  People make it up to Twin Peaks, but they rarely take notice of Forest Hill nestled on the other side.  Since Forest Hill is strictly residential, its’ not much of a draw for visitors.  But if you’re into seeing different parts of San Francisco, walk down the Grand Pacheco Stairway (which some say is the grandest and most elegant stairway in the city) from Castaneda Avenue to Magellan. The residents of Forest Hill are primarily upper middle-class, in part because the houses in the neighborhood are large and quite expensive.  The vast majority are owner occupied, meaning this is not the place to find a rental unit either, but it is the place to find a detached home with some land around it that was probably built with a lot of personality and family in mind.

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Cow Hollow

Marina Green

Cow Hollow is the neighborhood outlined by Broadway, Lyon and Lombard streets and Van Ness Avenue.  It’s best known for its Union Street commercial district and the well-groomed yupsters who enjoy the many restaurants, bars, cafes, boutiques,and galleries.  If you can afford the high rents, Cow Hollow is among the city’s most livable neighborhoods, offering residents the safety of a suburb, the nearby green spaces of Marina Green and the Presidio, and the urban convenience of union and Fillmore streets.  For these reasons, the neighborhood is popular with families and single, white-collar professionals.  Union Street, especially between Octavia and Steiner streets, is Cow Hollow’s most obvious claim to fame.  There you will find a continuous promenade of well-dressed shoppers and restaurant-goers interspersed with the fresh-faced, athletic-looking locals returning from errands or a jog.  Union Street is also home to art galleries, antiques shops, and price furniture stores.  As for restaurants, they range from formal sit-down to take-out.

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Cole Valley

Natural Food Store 'Real Foods'

Tucked between the chaotic hipness of the Upper Haight and the sleepy affluence of Sutro Forest and Buena Vista Heights, Cole Valley is a tiny, quiet neighborhood that feels more like a quaint community than a big city.  It is populated by settled yuppies who, from the looks of it, put a lot of thought into gardening.  Flowers seem to be everywhere, gracing the tops of tall wooden gates, color-coordinated to match the Spanish tile on the front steps.   For a bird’s-eye view of the neighborhood, and one of the most spectacular views in the city, climb Tank Hill, via the rickety, wooden staircase at the end of Belgrave Street off 17th.  Locals frequent the spot for watching fireworks.  What locals will not find in Cole Valley are banks, huge grocery stores and that ever-present San Francisco landmark, Walgreens.  This is a neighborhood unpopulated by chains and franchises, and shoppers are likely to find the store’s owner working behind the counter.  The main drag is a bit more “big city” with dozens of cafes and restaurants, some of which are considered some of the best Bay Area dining spots.

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Castro Theatre

Formerly Spanish ranch land, the Eureka Valley—now called the Castro—was parceled out in the 1860’s and quickly became filled with the bang and clatter of Victorian housing construction.  When the market Street Cable Railway extended to Castro Street around the turn of the century, this strip became the central artery to the neighborhood, and the Castro Theater, built in 1922, its elegant new centerpiece.  Today the Castro’s historic art deco movie palace, screens old and independent films from around the world and hosts “Sing-a-Longs” to classics such as Disney’s The Little Mermaid.   To tour the neighborhood, start at the corner of Castro and 18th Streets and take a look around.  The street life may compete for your attention, but as you walk along Castro admire the handiwork of both the city’s early craftsmen and its more recent restoration specialists. A riot of color, these Victorians never looked better and there are plenty of diversions in the unique and sometimes outrageous shops you’ll pass along the way.  On Halloween, the center of San Francisco is the Castro, with crowds in the thousands celebrating in the streets. You will note the rainbow “Gay Pride” flag flying throughout the community.

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Bernal Heights

Bernal Heights Summit

Not too many city dwellers are familiar with this unique hilltop neighborhood, but Bernal Heights residents don’t mind.  They’re happy to keep it a secret.  Looking South from the Mission district, you can see a bald hill encircled by little pastel houses.  It’s brown in the summer and fall, turning a magical green during the winter and spring.  That’s Bernal Heights.  Located about three miles from downtown, the neighborhood is bordered by Mission Street to the West, Cesar Chavez (Army) Street to the North, Bayshore Blvd. to the East and Alemany Blvd. to the South.  Bernal Heights enjoys the same sunny weather as its neighbor, the Mission District.  But unlike the Mission, not much about Bernal Heights is trendy.  You see fewer tattoos and piercings, and more small children.  The neighborhood is generally understated and low-key.  But don’t assume that just because the streets are quiet, the residents are apolitical: they have a long history of taking ownership of their neighborhood to preserve its village-like feeling.  An eclectic mix of people live here—gay, straight, black, white, Asian, Latina, artsy, blue-collar, professionals, old and young—and when asked, they cite diversity and love of community as the area’s greatest virtues.

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Always a favorite topic of ours- Shopping

Celebrity Curators. Luxury Brands. What else could you want from a shopping site? (personal invitation link here: got it right! This members only site is a cross between social networking and a permanent sale at your favorite boutique.  After you choose which designers and celebrities you want to follow (including Molly Sims, Liz Lange, and Cynthia Rowley) you can snatch up their weekly fashion picks.



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More Neighborhoods Coming Soon!!

Stay tuned….

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Real Estate Connect Conference

Erika and Kristina with Kristin of Avery-Hess in Virginia


Inman Connect is one of the most highly regarded real estate technology events, bringing together the biggest names in the real estate and technology industries. It was a great opportunity for us to network with leading edge companies, share ideas and connect with people in the real estate industry.  From the keynote presentations by Porter Gale of Virgin America and David Pogue of The New York Times to the in-depth workshops focusing on Internet Marketing and the Paperless Agent we were able to gain a lot of knowledge and leverage the ever changing market.

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Can’t seem to get enough La Boulange….

…..And we thought it was just us! La Boulange is opening yet another cafe in San Francisco- and we couldn’t be happier, now we can get a greek yogurt bowl or delicious cup of chai no even as we are shopping. That’s right- their newest installation is coming to a shopping mall near you! Under the dome of the Westfield San Francisco.

This well-known and well-loved bakery cafe will tweak its model a bit for the mall location. The newest Boulange, called La Boulange du Dome, will be sleeker and more modern than the familiar rustic French decor of it’s sister locations. The menu will also differ slightly adding exclusive items like ice cream cookie sandwiches and wines by the glass!

We can’t wait, but I guess we will have to as it is not slated to open until 2012.



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Cynthia L. & Sam L., Buyers – Single Family Home – Tiburon

Erika Burke was assertive and exceptionally resourceful while our family was on the hunt for a home that suited our many needs, and proved to be accessible, highly informed, expertly skilled and continually gracious. Erika scoured the city environs to uncover every possible gem available, tirelessly and passionately advocating on our behalf while guiding us through a complicated close. Erika has the ability to observe and understand a client’s needs. We can’t imagine a better partner through the process and do now call Erika a trusted source and friend.
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Arlene & Bruce, Repeat Clients – Single Family Home, Mini Mansion – Lake District

We too appreciated our time with you. We loved your loyalty and integrity and stick-to-itiveness when the going got tough 

– Sellers

We were immediately struck by Erika’s professionalism and honesty, so much so that we decided that she would be our real estate agent…her knowledge, skills and commitment were so evidently exceptional from the start that we never considered looking for someone else. Erika lived up to this confidence every step of the way.
She was relentless in finding houses for us to view, energetic in previewing houses so we didn’t need to make fruitless trips to San Francisco and determined not to let us settle for something that would not meet our needs. Her home previews were especially critical as we were living in New York City during much of the search. During that time she spoke with us almost daily and gave detailed, lively and often remarkably entertaining accounts of the strengths and weaknesses of various prospective homes. This process took eight months and she never wavered in her commitment and enthusiasm.
Erika also knows San Francisco intimately, has incredible contacts such as architects, contractors, service people and the list goes on. Her resources are limitless and they are always prompt, honest and efficient. In addition she is always ready to make the call to be sure you get the best service.
Buying a new house can be a stressful time but with Erika as our realtor with looked and bought with great confidence.

– Buyers

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The Wrights, Buyers – Condo – Marina

Erika is a fantastatic Realtor! My husband and I highly recommend her.
Thank you for everything Erika. We LOVE OUR HOME and are so happy that you worked such magic to get us through a competitive purchase. We had a short time frame in which we could purchase a new place and she worked with us non-stop until we found the most perfect place possible. She understands the San Francisco market and when a good deal comes along. She was always prepared and ready to jump on an opportunity at a moment’s notice. If you are thinking about buying real estate in San Francisco, I highly recommend you talk with Erika!

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1574 Underwood Ave.

1574 Underwood Ave.
3 Bedroom 2 Bath luxury home with deck, and 1 bed 1 ba apartment down parking, Remodeled
SOLD $480,000

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2049 Quesada Ave.

Built in 2006. Single Family Home. 4 Bedroom/2 Ba with unwarranted. 2Bedroom/1Ba Down
Asking $548,000

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Chuck & Sandy D., Out of State Sellers – Detached Single Family – Lakeshore District

When my father passed away in January, 2009, I didn’t know how I would clean up his house and put it on the market. My parents moved into the house in 1971 and never up graded the house. There was ALOT of work to be done and since I live in Arizona, I knew it would take months or even a couple years before I could finish the job. I decided to find a real estate office that could watch the house while I was away. Being a SF native, I wanted to look for a company that had been around a while and had a presence. Looking online, I found several, but Zephyr Real Estate looked the most promising.

That’s when I met Erika.

I told her what I had planned to do. She told me what the market was like and should think about selling. She told me that she could have the place cleaned up; refreshed and put on the market by June 16th. This conversation took place in May 21, 2009. It was an aggressive plan and there was a HUGE amount of work to be done and a short amount of time to accomplish it. She became my eyes and ears on the project. She was an amazing project manager, getting her army of contractors together and finishing the work on time.

My wife and I were thoroughly pleased with Erika’s professionalism and management skills and is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by us. She was able to do the impossible. We will be forever grateful! If you want someone who works HARD to SELL your house, RUN, don’t WALK to hire Erika

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Dave Wasserman, President San Francisco Apartment Association, Seller – 2 Unit Mixed Use- Inner Mission

“Erika’s work ethic is beyond comparison – she never quits. Many agents claim to work 24/7, but this is the real deal! Rarely have I seen this degree of dedication.”


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Rose R., Seller – 3 Units Plus – Noe Valley

I recently hired, Erika Burke, to help sell a property in San Francisco. It’s a daunting task to sell property at anytime, but when you also live a thousand plus miles away it’s simply overwhelming.

Choosing Ms. Burke as my agent was the best thing that ever happened to me. She is extremely easy to talk to, very knowledgeable and fantastic at guiding you through the process of selling your property.

I would not hesitate to recommend Ms. Burke, to anyone contemplating selling a property. She is truly a rare find

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C. Hegarty, First Time Home Buyer – Single Family – Ingleside Heights

Thank you so much for the smooth and professional handling of my escrow. I appreciate all of your expertise and personal attention in expediting this transaction. I found you much more attentive and committed than any other real estate agents that I have worked with in the past. I will be recommending you in the future to any of my friends or business associates who are purchasing property. Thank you so much.

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Eric K., Seller – Lot with Plans and Permits to Build a Single Family Home – Glen Park

I’m not a man of many words but I’d like to let you know about how impressed I was with the job you did selling my lot and project at 538 Laidley St., Glen Park.

I came to you several months ago, reluctant to put this property on the market due to some litigation issues I was having with a neighbor while trying to entitle the lot for development. It took a while for you to convince me I could accomplish what I wanted to, which was to sell this project.

You assured me that you would be able to sell this lot OFF MARKET so that I wouldn’t have to put up a sign and deal with that neighbor any more. Well, you really delivered. We had an offer and it fell out of contract. Then you brought me a second offer through your contacts and even a third offer that you advised me to keep in back up position. It even got a little tense when the Buyer with the accepted offer wanted to re-negotiate the purchase price at the last second, but we held firm and now the deal has closed.

I am a Contractor and Builder and knew of your reputation, now I will always come to you first, if I am looking to buy or when I need a top professional to sell my developments. I know I can really count on you and in my business that means a lot.

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A. Chan, First Time Homebuyer – Single Family – Sunset District

As a first time home buyer, everything about real estate was shrouded in confusion and mystery.  By luck I stumbled upon your services when I was looking at a home I really liked.  I probably didn’t appear to be a serious buyer due to my tender appearance, but you still took me seriously! 🙂 As a newbie with no knowledge of anything real estate, you explained everything to me in an easy to understand way.  Your intimate knowledge of the San Francisco real estate market and dealings in conjunction with your proactiveness, and thoroughness really went a long way in helping me get the starter house of my dreams! The next time I buy property in San Francisco, I would love to go through you again!

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George R.,Seller – 2 Units Split Levels – Inner Sunset

RE: Erika Burke,

Recently, I made the decision to sell my duplex property in San Francisco. Erika Burke of Zephyr Real Estate developed as a candidate and provided me with references on request, which I followed up on. All of my inquiries elicited good, supportive responses, and reassured, I chose Erika as the agent for my listing.

With the advantage of hindsight, the decision to engage Erika was very positive. She turned out to be energetic, astute, communicative and cooperative real estate professional. She overcame the obstacle of a tenant with attitude and made sure all of the deal details were properly addressed. With her leadership the sale was smoothly managed culminating in a quick and successful real estate closing.

I recommend Erika wholeheartedly. I feel sure that she would be an excellent choice for anyone contemplating a property sale in San Francisco.

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Ken G., Seller – 3 Units – Hayes Valley

Thanks Erika. The more experience we have with real estate agents the more we appreciate how professionally you do your job. Keep up the good work and you can’t help but continue to be extremely successful.

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Julia S., Buyer – 12 Units – Inner Mission

Erika, You knew just how to handle my husband.

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