With his 227-million-user-strong gaming company set to go public on Dec. 16,  Zynga founder Mark Pincus has a couple of other deals ready for action. Not one but two homes owned by Pincus are up for sale in the San Francisco real estate market.

Pincus and his entrepreneurial wife, Alison Pincus — whose One Kings Lane business is a hot home furnishings shopping website — own a $8.95 million home in the prestigious Presidio district and a $1.97 million home in Cole Valley. The word is that the family, including the couple’s twin daughters, never lived in the Presidio home and have since moved from the Cole Valley property, in part due to fears over a stalker.

In Feb. 2011, Pincus was granted a restraining order against Vera Svenchina, a former stripper and filmmaker, whose blog contains some interesting claims about Pincus and other Google, Apple and Microsoft moguls. Threats and bizarre emails and actual run-ins with the Russian national were enough to drive the Pincus family to a more secure locale.

Pincus' home in the prestigious Presidio section of San Francisco is on the market for $8.9 million.

Regardless of the reason why the Pincus’s homes are for sale, they’re clearly two of kind — at least in terms of the interior wow factor.

Both are decorated with a similarly strong design style straight out of One Kings Lane, including bold-patterned carpeting, artistic wall coverings and paint color schemes that contrast black, lime greens and oranges against blonde flooring and white marble counter surfaces.

The 6-bedroom, $8.9 million Presidio Heights property is being billed as the “Gold Standard” of homes, built on an extra wide lot and offering a bold street presence and pleasing scale. It features a kitchen with family room, a courtyard, a penthouse suite that contains an office and terrace, and lower level that has an au pair suite and media room/large play room.

The unassuming front of Mark Pincus' home listed for $1.97 million belies a wealth of interior design pizazz.

The Cole Valley house on Shrader St. was originally listed for $2.189 million in October, but was dropped to its current list price of $1.97 million on Nov. 6.  The Pincus’ were said to be inhabiting this property until recently and it bears all the trademark decorative elements of the other home, except that the Shrader St. home is a modern re-creation of a traditional 1940’s home, designed for large-scale engagements.

The main level features a modern, open kitchen that flows into the formal dining area. An adjacent main entertaining room features expansive open spaces, punctuated by a “modern forest motif along the southern wall that floats past a frost shrouded staircase.” The upper level master features panoramic city and Golden Gate Bridge views.

There’s no question that the homes are almost as dramatic as Zynga, which is steamrolling towards Wall Street this week for the anticipated IPO. Analysts suggest the company will be worth about $9 billion when it debuts on the NASDAQ.

Pincus, whose net worth has been valued at $2 billion, is about to score a major Silicon Valley technology coup with Zynga, thanks to its steady stream of gaming hits, including FarmVille, CastleVille and, the latest game craze, Words With Friends.

In fact, Words With Friends was the centerpiece of a celebrity flight snafu last week that has since brought 600,000 new users onboard, lifting Word With Friends usage by 5 percent to 13,000,000 players.

Alec Baldwin at LAX after getting booted off plane. Source:

At the center of the lift was actor Alec Baldwin who was hoisted off an American Airlines flight when he refused to power down an electronic device as the plane waited to leave the gate. He slammed doors, cursed out the flight crew, then went on to Tweet and spoof the showdown sparked by Baldwin’s “addiction” to  “Words With Friends.”

While some are speculating about whether Baldwin purposely invoked the game as a publicity stunt to kick up interest ahead of Zynga’s imminent IPO, the results are clear: Words With Friends is another winner for Pincus — a highly competitive, serial entrepreneur who has piggybacked Facebook’s massive popularity to score his own online boom business.

Below is an aerial video flyover of Pincus’s Presidio home:



About the Author

Laura Vecsey is a former sports columnist, news reporter and politics writer and has worked for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Baltimore Sun, Albany (N.Y.) Times-Union and Harrisburg Patriot-News. She was also a regional editor with She is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College.

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