When Zen Meets Myst



You get to see a lot of homes in this business.  And to be honest, pretty soon one “gorgeously renovated, top-of-the-line remodel” looks pretty much like the next.  The same glass tile backsplash; the same exotic wood flooring; and goodness knows, the same white, or taupe, or ever-so-elegant pastel color palette.

But once in a while you come across a house that is so unusual, so unapologetically personal, that you simply have to marvel at the vision of the architect and the courage of the owner.


467 Duncan is such a house.  Completely rebuilt around 2005, it looks like the sort of Zen temple you might find in the lost world of Myst.

Where to start?  Perhaps the spiral staircase enclosed in an open air tower that leads up from one master bedroom to a cat-walk across the roof and then down to another bedroom, and to a hidden side-garden, and – through a curving copper door – surprise!, back into the living room!

Or I could mention the stair detail in the wall (see the picture below) that leads to a literal cat-walk  at ceiling height, so that the owners’ cats would have a cool way to get from room to room.

Or the bedrooms, with real shoji screens,exquisitely restrained wood cabinetry and a perimeter of loose black river pebbles.  “Organic” doesn’t begin to describe.  This is architectural sculpture.

Four bedrooms, three baths, and over 2,850 sf, it’s been priced at $2.4 million and now it’s at $2.175.  I’ve seen plenty of houses with no character and less to offer sell for much more.

But. But….  How do you value a house like this?  It’s so personal that no amount of staging can stage the personality out of it.   Its uniqueness defies an easy “fix.”  Or any fix for that matter.  Raze it and start again?  Not at that price.  And besides, that would be criminal.

So 467 Duncan waits like an inscrutable puzzle in Myst for the right owner to come and unlock its secrets.  So far it’s been waiting 70 days.

I’m sending the owner and the agent the Zen equivalent of luck.  They deserve it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to content