2967 Avalon, Berkeley

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

Today we feature another 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

622 Highland, Piedmont

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Anian Tunney, Grubb

This substantial Piedmont colonial revival was on the market several years ago as a fixer in need of some love. Now it is back and looking much more in keeping with its grand proportions. It is lavishly appointed with woodwork in the public spaces and overflowing with great period detail. It can now take pride of place in the center of Piedmont among the other impressive residences that line Highland Avenue.

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42 Sotelo, Piedmont

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Ali Babington, Coldwell Banker

Our featured home today was designed by one of our favorite local architects, Paul Hamilton. Hamilton went to the ArtCenter College of Design in Southern California before moving to Orinda where he began designing and building homes on the inexpensive lots available there in the early 50s. At the time he was not a licensed architect, but he gained a fair amount of attention for his simple modernist homes that made novel use of their sites and were some of the first in Northern California to incorporate steel into their structures.

This particular example was one of the last that Hamilton designed before leaving the Bay Area, and it is fairly substantial in comparison to his more modest early designs. It also demonstrates a good deal of Asian influence incorporated into his characteristically thoughtful modernist spaces. It is a nice example his mature work, perhaps less experimental than some of his earliest homes but no less compelling.

Posted in Architect-Designed, Mid-Century, Paul Hamilton | 1 Comment

1 Orchard, Berkeley

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

This unusual cluster of homes at the foot of Panoramic Hill was designed by Walter Steilberg for his family shortly after he opened his own architectural practice in Berkeley. Steilberg was a longtime associate of Julia Morgan, working as both draftsman and engineer on many of her best known projects. Once on his own, Panoramic Hill would become the focal point for his solo practice, with a great many his thoughtful homes lining the winding roads there. The homes we feature today are extremely personal and in some ways experimental examples of his work, but they still demonstrate his characteristic preference for combining stucco and shingles at the exterior and for incorporating sometimes surprising Asian details throughout.

Posted in Architect-Designed, First Bay Region Style, Shingle, Walter Steilberg | Leave a comment

6 Nogales, Berkeley

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Will Sprietsma, Zephyr

Today we feature a lovely shingle style bungalow designed by Walter Ratcliff. The bungalow was not a form that Ratcliff favored, preferring instead creative amalgamations of period revival styles, so this home is a bit unique. It is a rare exception in Ratcliff’s substantial catalog of work and is clear indication of his great flexibility and unusual facility with a wide variety of architectural styles. Not surprisingly perhaps, the home has been enlarged somewhat in recent years from its original two bedroom form, but some attempts have been made to match the new to the old which is a challenging and undeniably admirable undertaking.

Posted in Architect-Designed, Bungalow, Shingle, Walter Ratcliff | Leave a comment

1750 Toyon, Lafayette

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Dina Del Monica, Pacific Union

Homes based on R Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic dome were sold by a number of kit house companies in the 1970s and quickly became popular for difficult or remote sites due to their fairly straight forward assembly and simple foundation requirements. For this reason, there are a number of geodesic dome houses sprinkled around the Bay Area, but few of them are as intriguing as the one we feature today in Lafayette. Not only is this particular example made up of multiple discrete domes, but it also is unusual for the fact that so much of the structure is exposed inside the house – a rare treat for fans of Bucky Fuller.

Posted in Geodesic Dome, Mid-Century | 1 Comment

132 Alpine Terrace, Oakland

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

This exceptionally refined Upper Rockridge new modern residence is the work of Randy Ruiz of AAA Architects. Ruiz cut his teeth with a number of respected firms before going out on his own a little over a decade ago. Here he uses a very distinguished palette of dark tones, masonry, and glass to create spaces that are at once solid and yet very open. It is a compelling example of the type of thoughtful work being done by the most talented of our local designers in the last few years.

Posted in Architect-Designed, New Modern, Randy Ruiz | Leave a comment