This is the house where Frank Herbert wrote ‘Dune’

Step inside the San Francisco house where Frank Herbert penned one of the best-selling science fiction books of all time.

Georgie Mihaila
6 Min Read
Image credit: Coldwell Banker

Dune, the 1965 novel written by Frank Herbert spawned one of the most iconic science fiction media franchises — that’s now back in the limelight thanks to the masterful adaptation by Denis Villeneuve (the award-winning director whose past credits include movies like Arrival, Blade Runner 2049, and Sicario).

The book, seen as a triumph of imagination, is one of the best-selling science fiction novels of all time.

Dune‘s cult classic status was consolidated by the five sequels Herbert wrote, a David Lynch-directed film adaptation, two mini-series, many computer games, and a whole new series of prequels, interquels, and sequels co-written by the author’s son, Brian Herbert.

And for die-hard fans with cash to burn (or really good credit), a unique opportunity presented itself in 2021, allowing them to buy the place where the sci-fi epic first came to life.

Frank Herbert wrote the first Dune book while living in a two-bedroom home in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill neighborhood with his wife and two sons.

At the time, he was working the afternoon-to-midnight shift as a picture editor at the San Francisco Examiner, spending his mornings writing his novel, according to local publication The Potrero View.

the house where Frank Herbert wrote Dune book
Image credit: Coldwell Banker

While he moved on to another residence by the time Dune was published in 1965, the Mississippi Street home retains bragging rights for fueling the author’s imagination and creativity.

Listed in September 2021 for $1,595,000 (Michelle Stephens of Coldwell Banker Realty held the listing), the house set on Potrero Hill’s coveted North Slope didn’t spend much time on the market. Within a couple of weeks’ time, it was already under contract, with a sale going through mid-November.

And we wouldn’t be surprised to hear that a Frank Herbert fan ended up buying it, especially since it sold for considerably more than the asking price. The final sale price was $1,850,000, 16% over the initial listing price.

With two bedrooms and one bath, the 1,175-square-foot home retains much of its original charm, complemented by upgrades made by the owners throughout the years.

Four upstairs skylights bathe the eat-in kitchen, dining, hall, and bath with natural light, turning it into an airy, bright home.

Image credit: Coldwell Banker
Image credit: Coldwell Banker

Related: San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, the hippie mecca of the ’60s

Image credit: Coldwell Banker
Image credit: Coldwell Banker

The main bedroom overlooks the home’s serene backyard garden — which has been split into two levels to accommodate a lovely rear deck that can be accessed from the second bedroom/home office.

At the time it was listed, the property also offered an Airbnb-registered rental space that had its own wet bar, private bathroom, and plenty of room for bed, dining and seating areas. This provided an excellent opportunity for the new owner to capitalize on the history of the property, if he or she so chooses.

Image credit: Coldwell Banker
Image credit: Coldwell Banker
Image credit: Coldwell Banker
Image credit: Coldwell Banker

The home does retain a few elements that can be traced back to the time Frank Herbert spent here, like the original bathroom tiles on the walls, shower, and tub surround, as well as the fencing for the original balcony.

One thing’s for sure: die-hard fans that end up staying here (or owning this San Francisco home) would likely be ecstatic to know its history — and the role it played as a backdrop to one of the greatest works of the sci-fi genre.

As a testament to Frank Herbert’s timeless work, the critically acclaimed Dune movie starring Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Zendaya and Jason Momoa has taken the world by storm, with fans anxiously waiting for the second installment to be released in 2024. The dazzling adaptation ignited the international box office in its debut, drawing both long-time fans and introducing a whole new generation to Frank Herbert’s seminal sci-fi novel.

*Editor’s note: this article has been updated to reflect the current status of the property, but all the information about the house itself as well as the property photos date back to our initial coverage (published on September 20, 2021).

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With a decade-long career as a digital content creator, Georgie started out as a real estate journalist for Multi-Housing News & CPExecutive. She later transitioned into digital marketing, working with leading real estate websites like PropertyShark, RENTCafé and Point2Homes. After a brief but impactful stint in the start-up world, where she led the marketing divisions of fintech company NestReady and media publisher Goalcast, Georgie returned to her first passion, real estate, and founded