112 Estates, Piedmont

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Matthew Heafey, Grubb

Earl MacDonald is not particularly well-known in the Bay Area because most of his solo career was spent in San Diego, but he lived in Oakland for many years and much of his training took place in the local offices of Arthur Brown. This lavish Piedmont home is one of several impressive residences that he designed in the East Bay before making the move down south and it is a great indication of his immense talent for period revival design. He would continue to practice in Southern California for many years, eventually becoming a noted proponent of modernism, but his early Spanish colonial homes remain some of his most charming designs.

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1162 Grizzly Peak, Berkeley

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Regina Jacobs, Grubb

This meticulously detailed and beautifully composed mid-century was designed by local architect John Wells as his personal residence. Wells was a longtime associate of highly regarded Berkeley professor and architect Vernon DeMars, first in the firm of Demars and Reay and eventually as a partner in the firm DeMars and Wells. Their projects together consisted mostly of Civic and University buildings, but both men also designed homes for themselves in the Berkeley Hills that are unique reflections of their own personalities. Wells’ is perhaps not surprisingly less ostentatious than is Demars’ but it is nonetheless a compelling tribute to his great talent and innate ability to create intimate and inviting interior spaces.

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6131 Ocean View, Oakland

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Diana Yonkouski, Bay Area Properties

Stanley Saitowitz is known today as one of the leading modernists currently practicing in the Bay Area, but his body of work is not a pure statement of new modern ideals. His tastes have evolved over time and through the chronology of his structures we are able to see the growth and development of his mature style.

The home we feature today was built in the early 90s when postmodernism was still the intellectual darling of the design community and Saitowitz too seems to converse readily in that idiom with his undulating curves and playful checkerboard of aluminum panels. But his material choices also lean toward the neoindustrial which provides a touch of modernist texture to the home that was not always present in the work of his contemporaries. It is an intriguing insight into one of the current heavyweights in our local design community.

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9 Harvard, Berkeley

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Lee Goodwin, Red Oak

Today we feature a lovely Bay Region mid-century designed by Harry Nakahara shortly after he started his solo practice. The home is a picture of restraint, beautifully proportioned and carefully sited to take full advantage of the long views across the bay. Despite his relative youth, here Nakahara already clearly demonstrates the maturity of conception and creative detailing which would serve him well throughout his long career.

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477 Arlington, Berkeley

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Ruth Frassetto, Grubb

This charming Tudor revival was designed by Bernard Maybeck’s brother-in-law and sometimes partner John White. White was a talented architect in his own right if not so ostentatious as his better known compatriot. Here his spaces are carefully crafted and thoughtful if not overwrought.

More recently, the home has been the long time residence of respected Bay Region modernist Henrik Bull who designed a number of residences around the East Bay, but was best known for his mountain cabins that settled effortlessly into wooded sites throughout the Sierras and even the Rockies. His hand too can be seen in some of the rooms within this house making it a very special place indeed.

Posted in Architect-Designed, Henrik Bull, John White, Period Revival, Tudor Revival | Leave a comment

6555 Longwalk, Oakland

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Aaron Sweeney, Red Oak

Versions of the pole house have been built since ancient times but the form was not really part of the architectural vernacular in modern California until the structural expressionist movement of the 1970s kindled renewed interest in laying bare the bones of a building. The home we feature today is a product of that movement and it is a particularly thoughtful representation designed and built by the original owner Jim Lee. Pole homes have a raw and simple honesty of structure that was very much in keeping with the ethos of the time and here Lee has very successfully incorporated those ideals together with elements of more traditional Bay Region modernism into a truly compelling structure.

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2830 Garber, Berkeley

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Brenda Schaefer, Grubb

Our featured home today is a beautifully preserved and carefully updated First Bay Region residence that originally belonged to George Plowman. At the time the home was built, Plowman was in a brief, but productive partnership with John Hudson Thomas that lasted from 1906 to 1910. There has been some debate about whether Thomas or Plowman was the driving force behind their creative output, but what is not in question is the strength of their work and the recognizable style that they developed during that period.

Posted in Architect-Designed, Craftsman, First Bay Region Style, George Plowman | Leave a comment