6131 Castle, Oakland

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Helen Nicholas, Alain Pinel

Italo Calpestri III is a third generation resident of Alameda and a highly regarded architect in the small island community. Of course since Alameda is largely Victorian era homes, the majority of his commissions tend to be renovations of one sort or another. This Piedmont Pines home in Oakland is the rare exception. It was built for a successful Alameda orthodontist and it is a fully realized custom design that already demonstrates the more vertical heavily timbered construction that would come to characterize the 70s even though it was built in late 60s.

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1960 San Antonio, Berkeley

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Herman Chan, Bay Sotheby’s

The Spring mansion has been on the market a number of times in the last few years, but it is always a treat. John Spring made his fortune in real estate, but he only ended up living at his Berkeley estate for a couple of years before moving to San Francisco. The architect he selected to design his home was John Hudson Thomas and the massive neoclassical that he built is truly an exceptional architectural statement. Thomas is known for his tendency to play with the scale and location of otherwise ordinary details and on this count he does not disappoint. The oversized volutes at the exterior may be the most glaring example. The result is a truly unique structure that manages to fit within a standard stylistic framework while still maintaining its individuality.

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2901 Forest, Berkeley

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Timothy Cannon, Marvin Gardens

The Sommarstrom Brothers were originally from Finland but upon arriving here, their construction company quickly became one of the largest in the East Bay due to their reputation for honesty and creative problem solving. Like many builders at the start of the 20th century, they would often design the structures that they built as well. Such is the case with this handsome home on Forest Avenue. It is an interesting combination of prairie and colonial revival with fairly simple but substantial wood trim work both inside and out.

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975 Alvarado, Oakland

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Charity Ankrum, Red Oak

Our featured home today is built on one of the last lots to burn in the Oakland Hills fire before the wind died and the blaze was finally brought under control. Unlike most of the supersized houses that filled the empty lots in the years that would follow however, this home was rebuilt from the original 1958 plans that John Ostwald made for the site. It is therefore the exceedingly rare confluence of mid-century design and today’s more stringent building codes, the best of both worlds for those looking for vintage style combined with modern amenities and safety standards.

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1069 Mariposa, Berkeley

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Timothy Cannon, Marvin Gardens

James Plachek is perhaps best known as the designer of numerous important commercial structures around Berkeley including the main public library and the UC Theater, but he also occasionally designed homes. Many were palatial affairs with exterior detailing on a scale similar to his commercial projects, but some were more understated such as the home we feature today. It is a stately stucco craftsman with ample rooms, but a minimum of embellishment – a fairly conservative contribution by one of the East Bay’s best.

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4651 Almond, Livermore

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Sandee Utterback, BHHS Drysdale

This intriguing Livermore post and beam mid-century was reportedly built by a little known design-builder named Elmer Lundgren. We do not recall ever having come across his work before, but this home definitely inspires us to find more. It is a fairly mature composition with layers of flat roofs supported on broad planes of adobe and lots of glass – a compelling design by a virtually unknown local practitioner.

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1850 Central, Alameda

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Dede Cunningham, Alain Pinel

Today we feature a lavishly appointed Alameda colonial revival. It was built by the Alameda Land Company which was one of the most prolific developers on the island at the turn of the last century. They were a one stop shop, providing design, construction, lending, insurance, and real estate services for the prospective homeowner. This particular example is especially showy and would have been one of their more expensive offerings with over the top embellishment both inside and out.

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