I Could Live Here: A Mini Mission Mansion

Oh, be still my heart. I may talk a good game about living simply in a small space, but if we are being completely honest, it's really more my lack of a million dollars that is keeping me out of a gorgeous single-family home with its very own patch of grass. And this is the place I would happily switch teams for. Besides being a stunning piece of property, it just happens to feature all three items on my dream real estate wish list.

One, it's located on an alley. I have always wanted to live on an alley…so quaint, so neighborly. This one happens to be about 100 feet from the most insane intersection in San Francisco: Valencia and 16th—a place so hopping I would never think of living there, unless of course I was tucked into an enchanted hidden alley right off the main thoroughfare.

Two, it has a master attic suite. Ever since my little brother was given the remodeled attic as his boy-cave, while I was stuck downstairs in the same predictably square bedroom I'd had since birth, I'd wanted to fall asleep under my own eaved ceilings. This master suite is a little bit of a mystery, because from the front of the flat-roofed house you can't really tell where this sprawling second story is, but…man, who cares. Look at it! This windows out to the trees, the skylights, all that closet space.

Three, the coup de grace, is the guest cottage. Guest cottage! This is where I start to make my millions back. That and the private garage. Between Airbnb and pimping out that parking space, I'll have this place paid off by the time the kids are, well, having their own children and moping about finally needing a bigger space. But the idea of having a guest house for friends and family—especially since my dad, based in Ohio, is officially retiring in a few days—seems worth the monthly shackles.

The beautifully maintained Edwardian details are actually another winner in my book—not too ornate, but just enough to give my modern interiors a sense of history (the house was built in 1911). I especially love the beamed dining room ceiling and the built-ins in the kitchen.

The wood floors look to be in immaculate condition, and the light coming in through the large windows is intoxicating. The kitchen would obviously need a redesign—how is there NO counter space??—as would the bathroom, but I've rarely met a bathroom that I loved at first site, so better to just start from scratch there anyway.

The house is asking $1.34 million. This is when I press "publish" and take the next 30 minutes talking myself back down to reality. This will not be my house, and that's fine. It's OK because it's time again for the YBCA San Francisco Dream House Raffle, and I really think this year is my year. A little dreaming never hurt, right?

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