157 Fairlawn, Berkeley

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Taylor Sublett, Keller Williams

This impressive Berkeley Hills mid-century is the first home that Gerald McCue designed for himself in the East Bay. He was only 27 when the home was built, but he was already an established architectural presence in the Bay Area with his own firm in San Francisco. He had also just begun his tenure as a lecturer at UC Berkeley the year prior, returning to teach at his alma mater only two years after finishing his master’s degree there.

The home displays a number of features that would become trademarks of McCue’s residential work including glazed gables and substantial wooden soffits. It appears to have survived largely intact and is a great testament to the precocious talent of a local architect whose outsized influence would ultimately serve to spread the ideas of Bay Region design to the East Coast and beyond.

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176 Mountain Canyon, Alamo

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Melissa Fulop, Paragon

This unusual storybook home is likely the work of local design-builder Doug Allinger. Allinger was the longtime protege of innovative craftsman Carr Jones whose mature style was characterized by a flamboyant and idiosyncratic use of masonry to create undulating organic forms. When Jones passed away in 1965, Allinger carried on building in the same tradition, creating striking homes such as this one that appear to have come from a much earlier era.

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610 Oakland, Oakland

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of David Nelson, Marcus & Millichap

It’s a bit hard to tell from the photos, but this charming First Bay Region residence is reportedly an early work by Oakland native Charles McCall. It’s complex roofline and unusual interior detailing would seem to bear that out. McCall would eventually become known for his lavish period revival homes, but his earliest designs were in fact some of his most creative endeavors.

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1439 Hawthorne, Berkeley

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

The C H McNeil house is a distinguished Berkeley Norman revival designed by Henry Gutterson. Gutterson practiced in a variety of styles, but the one constant through all of his work is his highly refined aesthetic and spare detailing. His homes stand out for their purity of vision and simplicity of design. This home is no different. Its thoughtfully arranged spaces and minimal embellishment make for a surprisingly modern take on period revival.

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8701 Don Carol, El Cerrito

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Glen Bell, BHG Reliance Partners

Our featured home today is a rare and exceptional mid-century residence designed by Claude Oakland. Oakland began his career designing homes for Joseph Eichler at Anshen & Allen, but soon Eichler had convinced him to open his own office to carry on the work. This long partnership between Oakland and Eichler makes Oakland one of the most built domestic modernists in all of California but Eichler was certainly not his only client. This imposing El Cerrito home was designed for structural engineer T Y Lin and it is an exceedingly unusual example of brutalist residential design. Here there is little evidence of the typical woodsy Bay Region tropes that were common during this period. Instead we find stolid masses of concrete and masonry and forms that appear far more contemporary today than their fifty plus years might suggest.

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9 Maybeck Twin, Berkeley

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Norah Brower, Pacific Union

This beautifully composed Berkeley mid-century is a typically elegant and restrained design by Robert Ratcliff. Ratcliff would inherit a very successful architectural practice when his father Walter retired in 1955, but it was Robert’s vision that would really propel the firm through the post-war years and make it the local powerhouse that it is today. His particularly polished brand of Bay Region modernism appealed to a lot of clients who weren’t quite prepared for the most rustic work of some of his contemporaries. This home is a good case in point. It is a lovely piece of design: balanced and refined; woodsy, but only very selectively.

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252 The Uplands, Berkeley

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Tami Bobb, Grubb

There is no mention of it in the listing but this exceptional late mid-century was the home of Lyman Jee who is probably best known for his long and productive partnership with Jack Anderson in El Cerrito. This home was designed by Jee long after that partnership had dissolved and Jee had mostly retired from architecture but it still clearly demonstrates his immense talent for creating stunning solutions to exceedingly difficult sites. Jee unfortunately passed away last year but we are fortunate to have quite a few of his thoughtful homes around the East Bay to remind us of his outsized impact on our built environment.

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