1642 Las Trampas, Alamo

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Andy Read, Caldecott

John Nance was perhaps the most flamboyant of our local Third Bay Region designers. His work is not widely known today, but during the 70s, his highly exaggerated sculptural forms made quite a splash. This late example in Alamo is especially showy with a tram and a waterfall and even a bit of postmodern flash for good measure.

Posted in Architect-Designed, John Nance, Mid-Century, Third Bay Region Style | 1 Comment

891 Union, Alameda

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Anne McKeraghan, Golden Gate Sotheby’s

This imposing shingle style Queen Anne with Romanesque ashlar base was built by prolific Alameda contractor Joseph Leonard for his own family. He chose well-known Los Angeles architect C H Russell to design it despite his own quite formidable design experience and the results are truly astounding. The exterior has seen a bit of alteration, but the interior detailing is largely intact and is sumptuous evidence of Leonard’s substantial success.

For the first half of the home’s life it enjoyed expansive panoramic views across the bay. The views are unfortunately gone, but the home remains an impressive tribute to the scale and grandeur of the residences built on Alameda at the end of the 19th century.

Posted in Architect-Designed, C H Russell, Queen Anne, Shingle, Victorian | Leave a comment

155 Stonewall, Oakland

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Preston Grant, Oasis

This intriguing Bay Region modernist residence was designed by Robert Ratcliff but it is a bit of a departure from the low slope roofs that typified much of his work. Here, it looks almost as though he is channeling his contemporary Warren Callister, who was known for his intricate truss work and dizzying roof pitches. Ratcliff carries it off with great aplomb and demonstrates again his great flexibility as a designer as well as his usual eye for detail.

Posted in Architect-Designed, Mid-Century, Robert Ratcliff | Leave a comment

636 Wildcat Canyon, Berkeley

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

We have another nice mid-century to share today – this time reportedly designed by Felix Rosenthal. There are actually a pair of structures included in the listing – both in similar styles, and with many similar features. They each are characterized by broad expanses of glass, large masonry fireplaces, and horizontal wood paneling. The detailing is quite nice, and together these two homes make for a very comfortable compound for the Bay Region modern enthusiast.

Posted in Architect-Designed, F Rosenthal, Mid-Century | Leave a comment

34 Echo, Piedmont

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Sarah Abel, Compass

Our featured home today is another of Leon Meyer’s trademark round homes. Meyer was a fixture in the East Bay, building almost exclusively round homes and creating a niche for himself in an environment where there was a good deal of architectural experimentation going on. Meyer’s homes of 1960s tended to feature a flamboyant folded plate roof which gave them a very Googie flavor, but by the time this home was built in the 70’s he was using mostly flat roofs to cover the by then larger structures. It is a beautifully preserved example full of great period detail and is a tribute to Meyer’s unique place in the local design community of the time.

Posted in Architect-Designed, Leon Meyer, Mid-Century | Leave a comment

30 Bay Tree, Berkeley

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

This impressive Bay Region mid-century is perched atop the Berkeley hills on the edge of Tilden Park. It is a beautifully composed structure with broad overhanging eaves and large expanses of glass. The nail laminated timber roof structure allows for massive spans between beams and wide open interior spaces. And with an option to purchase the adjacent empty lot as well, this home has a lot to offer.

Posted in Mid-Century | Leave a comment

2160 Mastlands, Oakland

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing

Perhaps not surprisingly, selling homes is a bit of a challenge when there is a “shelter in place” order. Even so, there are a number of interesting homes trickling out on the market, though not at the pace we would normally expect at this time of year.

Today we feature a delightful modernist residence designed by Benjamin Fishstein for himself in Piedmont Pines. It appears to have been laid out on a grid of equilateral triangles which makes for some truly interesting interior spaces and highly angular cantilevers. Fishstein’s work is not particularly well-known today but this home is clear indication of his immense and underappreciated talent.

Posted in Architect-Designed, Benjamin Fishstein, Mid-Century | Leave a comment

3955 Canyon, Lafayette

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing

Our featured home today is a beautiful mid-century residence designed by Murray Slama for himself in the hills of Lafayette. Slama was one of the first architects hired by Robert Ratcliff when he took the helm of his father’s famous Bay Area firm in the early 50s, and by the early 60s he was made partner in the firm Ratcliff, Slama & Cadwalader.

The Slama home is a wonderful piece of Bay Region modernist architecture with glazing all around and thoughtful detailing throughout. The woodsy interiors have unfortunately been painted, but the overall integrity of the spaces is still intact, and the home is a true pleasure to visit.

Posted in Architect-Designed, Mid-Century, Murray Slama | 1 Comment

771 San Diego, Berkeley

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing

It has been almost five 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

176 Mountain Canyon, Alamo

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing

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.

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