686 Mariposa, Oakland

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Brian Cheek, Keller Williams

There is no mention of it in the listing, but according to at least one reliable source, this lovely shingled craftsman is the work of Julia Morgan. It is without doubt a highly symmetrical and very finely detailed home, so the attribution seems quite plausible. The grand interiors boast an abundance of woodwork, generous rooms, and an extremely charming inglenook. It is a beautiful example of First Bay Region architecture by a very talented local designer.

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771 San Diego, Berkeley

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Bebe McRae, Grubb

It has been a little over three years since Donald Olsen passed away, but the impact that he had on the architecture of the Bay Area is still palpable. Olsen cut his own path at a time when modernism in Northern California was decidedly woodsy and rustic. His homes were pure and unadorned formal expressions that stood out even in the very crowded field of talented local architects in which he found himself.

The home we feature today is one of a cluster of Olsen-designed structures on San Diego Road. It is a particularly special example because it is the home that Donald shared with his wife Helen for over sixty years, raising their family, and entertaining clients and students alike. It is a fitting monument to the great quality and indeed rigor of Bay Area architecture during the 1950s.

Posted in Architect-Designed, Donald Olsen, International Style, Mid-Century | 1 Comment

515 Miner, Orinda

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Laura Abrams, Coldwell Banker

The Richard Breuner house is a fairly early design by long time dean of architecture at UC Berkeley, William Wurster. It is difficult to discern today just how revolutionary Wurster’s work was at the time because so many of the homes built in the 50s and 60s were based on his ideas; but this home was built in 1938 at a time when most architects were still designing in period revival styles. The Breuner brothers were regular clients of Wurster’s from as early as the 1920s. They had inherited the successful Breuners Home Furnishings from their father and valued Wurster’s simple unadorned spaces in which to display their wares. Richard Breuner would have Wurster back every decade or so to add a little something to this home so it acts as a particularly interesting catalog of his evolving style over the years.

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2201 Eunice, Berkeley

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Monica Rohrer, La Maison

Today we feature an eclectic shingle style craftsman home designed by Andrew and Olive Wilson. Mr. Wilson ran a successful real estate business in Berkeley and the home is very much in keeping with the First Bay Region structures that were going up on lots around town at the time. But it also boasts a number of unique features including a good deal of Japanese influenced woodwork and unusual period light fixtures. It is a home that in many ways epitomizes the ideals of creativity and self-sufficiency that were so valued in Berkeley at the beginning of the 20th century.

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760 Spruce, Berkeley

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Deidre Joyner, Red Oak

This time capsule mid-century has been in the same family for almost fifty years which accounts for its remarkable state of preservation. All of the original woodwork and masonry appears to be intact and unpainted which is quite unusual. Even the kitchen and baths are largely original which is a rare treat indeed.

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6363 Estates, Oakland

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Anian Tunney, Grubb

Our featured home today was built by Axel Cederborg who was responsible for some of the largest and most lavish estates in Piedmont. Albert Farr collaborated with Cederborg perhaps more than any other architect, but Cederborg built the designs of many of the most prominent period revival designers and even designed some houses on his own as well, so there are any number of possibilities. Regardless of authorship though, the home is an impressive piece of Tudor design. The bleached wood interiors are a particularly nice touch that we don’t often see in homes of this vintage.

Posted in Architect-Designed, Period Revival, Tudor Revival | Leave a comment

841 San Luis, Berkeley

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Cherie Carson, Red Oak

This modest mid-century jewel box was designed by prolific local architect Henry Hill fairly early in his long and productive career. It has seen a bit of modification over the years so that the colorful flash that Hill liked to incorporate into every home is not readily apparent today. Even so, Hill’s thoughtful organization of space and careful placement of glazing shines with each room oriented to best capture the views outside. It is a lovely example by one of the Bay Area’s most talented and versatile modernist designers.

Posted in Architect-Designed, Henry Hill, Mid-Century | Leave a comment