872 Arlington, Berkeley

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Ira Serkes, Compass

This charming First Bay Region residence is an early and fairly understated design by Julia Morgan. The exterior is an interesting combination of Prairie and Shingle styles with what looks like a bit of Tudor half timbering for good measure. Inside the detailing is reserved but still demonstrates Morgan’s immense creativity and attention to detail

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1815 Manzanita, Oakland

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Angelito Raymundo, Compass

Today we feature a truly impressive Third Bay Region residence by one of our favorite local design-builders, Martin Davis. Davis’ homes tend to be highly vertical with particularly expressive massing and interesting geometries, and this example does not disappoint. It is still full of plenty of great 70s flavor including a number of period light fixtures – quite a treat.

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171 San Marcos, San Francisco

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Bert Keane, Vanguard

Our featured home today is across the bridge in San Francisco but it was designed by two UC Berkeley alumni so we don’t feel like we have strayed too far from our stated purpose. Irving and Gertrude Morrow are perhaps the first successful husband and wife architectural practice in the Bay Area, forming their partnership in 1925 after both already had a number of significant projects under their belts individually. While they are best known for their commercial commissions, they undertook a number interesting residential projects as well. This one is particularly compelling because it is an unusual hybrid of Art Moderne and Bay Region styles. Other practitioners working at the same time like Gardner Dailey and William Wurster would incorporate International Style ideals as well to create what we think of today as the Second Bay Region Style, but it is exceedingly rare to see such a pure expression of Bay Region Moderne design.

Posted in Architect-Designed, Art Moderne, Morrow & Morrow | 3 Comments

4536 Hillsborough, Castro Valley

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Mark Hardwicke, BHG Reliance Partners

This intriguing Castro Valley mid-century was designed by local San Francisco architect and kung fu grandmaster Henry Luck. Luck grew up in both China and California and then went on to study architecture at Berkeley. He is probably best known for designing many of the original Benihana restaurants across the country as Rocky Aoki expanded his empire of Japanese cuisine in the 1970s. As a result, Luck did not have time to take on many residential commissions but this example is certainly compelling with its understated detailing and clear Asian influences.

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1655 Arrowhead, Oakland

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Reva Tolbert, Coldwell Banker

Today we feature a great Oakland Hills A-frame/dome hybrid attributed to Robert Blunk of Blunk Associates. One of the downsides of the standard A-frame form is that there is generally only room for windows on the ends of the structure. That problem is solved here through the use of a series of A-shaped gables arranged around a central point. The home’s unusual exterior shape makes for particularly interesting interior spaces with plenty of unique nooks and crannies throughout. Blunk was an architect based out of Burlingame who focused mainly on commercial projects with a few notable exceptions. We are fortunate to have this inventive example here in our back yard.

Posted in A-Frame, Architect-Designed, Geodesic Dome, Mid-Century | 3 Comments

3101 Gibbons, Alameda

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Maureen Shandobil, BHHS Drysdale

After the immense success of the Homes of Tomorrow exhibition at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1933, General Electric decided to replicate the program across the country by cooperating with local utilities and architects to create GE Model Homes that would demonstrate the possibilities inherent in electrification to a wider audience. We are fortunate to have a number of these homes here in the East Bay including this impressive example in Alameda. It was designed by Oakland architect Francis Harvey Slocombe in the Art Moderne style that GE favored for these forward-looking residences and it remains especially relevant today due to the renewed interest in all-electric homes.

Posted in Architect-Designed, Art Moderne, Francis Harvey Slocombe | 1 Comment

8 Sunnyside, Orinda

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Dana Green, Compass

Our featured home today is an extremely late design by perennial Bay Region favorite Beverley David Thorne. Thorne would move away from his trademark steel structures as the years passed and tastes changed. Here he uses large glulam beams to create two open pyramid-topped pavilions connected by an elevated bridge. Of course he still manages to incorporate a bit of exposed steel if one looks closely enough – a small nod to the material that had made him so famous thirty years prior.

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3256 Garfield, Alameda

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Guy Blume, KW Advisors

Today we feature another beautifully preserved Victorian. This one is the long-time home of Alameda Museum curator George Gunn and it shows. It is a lovely raised basement Queen Anne cottage designed by respected local architect Charles Shaner in 1894 and chock full of all of his trademark over-the-top detailing. It is a lasting tribute to the outsized island contributions of both Shaner and Gunn alike.

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6201 Westwood, Oakland

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Lilli Rath, Compass

This thoughtfully composed Oakland Hills new modern residence is the work of local architect Robert Swatt of Swatt Miers Architects. Swatt has been designing residences in the East Bay for over a quarter of a century and the purity of his modernist vision and conviction in his aesthetic seems to have grown stronger with each passing year. This particular home is designed as a series of blocks that amble down the gentle slope. Swatt’s trademark bands of glass and wood juxtaposed against swaths of plaster are evident here as are his wood soffits that pass from the interior to the exterior – an oft used device for visually linking inside and out.

Posted in Architect-Designed, New Modern, Robert Swatt | 1 Comment

1630 Central, Alameda

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing

This exceptionally well-preserved Italianate residence was originally home to John Anthony who was a senior official at the Central Pacific Railroad in San Francisco. Amazingly, the home has had only two owners in the almost century and a half since it was built which likely accounts for its impressive condition. It is a testament to the stewardship of the two families that have called it home that it has retained its place of pride among Alameda’s many exceptional Victorian homes for so many years.

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