2967 Avalon, Berkeley

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Karen Nelson, Alain Pinel

Today we feature a sizable and highly symmetrical colonial revival residence. This one was reportedly designed by Edward Seely for well-to-do Berkeley builder J A Marshall. Seely favored the gable roof and here he has blessed the home with two front facing gables as well as a shed dormer over the front door. Inside the home is lavishly appointed with ornate wood embellishments and grand public spaces.

Posted in Architect-Designed, Colonial Revival, Edward Seely | Leave a comment

3111 Claremont, Berkeley

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

Having grown up in a home designed by Ernest Coxhead with a studio by Bernard Maybeck in the back yard, one might say that Loy Chamberlain’s education in Bay Region design began at a very young age. It would continue at Berkeley where he would graduate from the architecture school between the World Wars and go on to build a successful partnership with Malcolm Reynolds that would last many years. Chamberlain was an early adopter of modernism, but like many of his contemporaries, his designs were very reserved with great presence but little ornament or pretense. This late example is no different despite having been built in 1970 – a charming reminiscence by a lesser known local architect.

Posted in Architect-Designed, Loy Chamberlain, Mid-Century | Leave a comment

1772 Le Roy, Berkeley

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

Today we feature an exceptional First Bay Region structure designed by Bernard Maybeck. The Oscar Maurer studio was built for a highly respected photographer who relocated to the East Bay after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. It is a beautifully compact representation of Maybeck’s highly creative and idiosyncratic take on design. The studio was converted into a residence in the 1980s but even so it still retains all of its original impact and charm.

Posted in Architect-Designed, Bernard Maybeck, First Bay Region Style | Leave a comment

330 2nd, Oakland

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Santino DeRose, DeRose & Appelbaum

We don’t often feature commercial structures here, but this particular building was home to one of the Bay Area’s most flamboyant local architecture firms. Ace Architects was responsible for some of the most playful and inventive postmodern homes built in the East Bay at the end of the last century. Their office, which they called The Leviathan, was built in a Jack London neighborhood that was much less developed than it is today. It rose from the pavement like a coiled sea serpent preparing the way for the many buildings that would follow.

Posted in Ace Architects, Architect-Designed, Postmodern | Leave a comment

918 18th, Oakland

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Daniel Guido-Clark, Compass

The Joseph Willcutt house was designed and built by Robert Smilie for a local official of the Southern Pacific Railroad. Smilie was an Oakland-based builder and designer who was involved in many local business ventures including the famous Hotel Metropole and the Washington Lumber Company. The home is in amazing original shape. It reportedly lost its chimney during the 1989 earthquake, but it is otherwise almost entirely intact with loads of great period embellishment inside and out. It is a wonderfully preserved example of the stately Victorian homes that used to line the blocks of West Oakland.

Posted in Architect-Designed, Queen Anne, Robert Smilie, Victorian | Leave a comment

3913 Happy Valley, Lafayette

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Ashley Battersby, Village Associates

This sprawling Lafayette mid-century is a bit reminiscent of the work of Richard Danskin who built a great number of homes in Lafayette and Orinda during the 1960s. His trademark low slope roofs interrupted by a high peak are easy to spot among the more traditional ranch homes that line the winding streets there. However, this home was actually designed by William Wurster while Danskin was still in school. Obviously, its skillful incorporation of adobe and steel, wood and glass made quite a lasting impression on the young Mr. Danskin.

Posted in Architect-Designed, Mid-Century, William Wurster | Leave a comment

1035 Shattuck, Berkeley

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of David Gunderman, Alain Pinel

Our featured home today is an early and exquisite shingle style craftsman by prolific local designer John Hudson Thomas. Thomas is perhaps best known for his later Secessionist structures but he began his career, like many of his contemporaries, working in the First Bay tradition. Even then in his earliest designs, Thomas’ fondness for heavy timbers and exaggerated details is already apparent. Here the public spaces are lavishly wooded with board and batten, boxed beams, built-ins, and a beautiful inglenook. It is an impressive showing from a burgeoning East Bay talent.

Posted in Architect-Designed, Craftsman, First Bay Region Style, John Hudson Thomas, Shingle | Leave a comment