95 The Plaza, Berkeley

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Mark Lederer, Red Oak

Our featured home today is a picturesque residence designed by John Hudson Thomas at the height of his creativity. The home is an interesting combination of prairie and Viennese Secessionist influences combined with Thomas’ trademark detailing. John Hudson Thomas designed in a variety of styles over the course of his long career but the homes he built in the teens are by far his most striking and original. This example underwent a fairly substantial addition in the 1990s but fortunately it was fairly sensitive to the original and most of the period fabric was minimally disturbed.

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17 Eucalyptus, Berkeley

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Nancy Noman, Compass

Charles Sumner Kaiser (later Charles Kaiser Sumner) is perhaps best known for his beautiful period revival style residences in Palo Alto and at Stanford, but his career in the Bay Area began in Berkeley, and that is where we find this great early shingle style. The home was built the year after Kaiser arrived in the Bay Area, and it is clearly very much in keeping with the First Bay Region style that had been championed by Bernard Maybeck and others in the area.

The home is simply overflowing with wood. Nearly every surface in the public rooms is covered with exposed woodwork, and from the oversized brackets and beams to the exposed floor joists, it is used to great effect to create warm and intimate spaces. There are leaded glass and divided light windows and numerous fireplaces. Clearly, though this is not the style that Kaiser is best known for, he was a very talented designer capable of mastery in a variety of idioms.

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2717 Marin, Berkeley

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Alissa Custer, Red Oak

This exceptionally photogenic mid-century residence is the work of Berkeley architect John Hans Ostwald. The home has never been on the market before and it is in the beautifully preserved original condition that one usually only encounters in single owner homes. Ostwald’s work is not as widely known today as some of his more prolific contemporaries but his designs are always beautifully composed and we are very fortunate that the East Bay is home to most of them.

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2729 Elmwood, Berkeley

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Jenny Wang, McGuire

Today we feature a substantial Elmwood period revival designed by Walter Ratcliff. The home is one of the largest of Ratcliff’s many Berkeley commissions and it is lavishly embellished with his trademark mixture of details from a variety of sources. Ratcliff’s work is always carefully composed but this example is especially picturesque with a proliferation of enormous brackets and oversized casework throughout. It is an impressive piece of design by a prolific local talent.

Posted in Architect-Designed, Mediterranean Revival, Period Revival, Walter Ratcliff | Leave a comment

91 Evergreen, Oakland

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

This charming Bay Region mid-century was designed by Israeli architect Amiram Harlap. Harlap received his graduate degree in architecture at Berkeley in 1953 but only remained in the area until 1970. During that period he managed to make a name for himself locally and was published in several of the national shelter magazines before returning to Israel. This home is fairly characteristic of his work which was generally fairly restrained but carefully composed with low gables and lots of glass – a nicely preserved example.

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2060 Manzanita, Oakland

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Ann Lovi, Compass

Martin Davis built a number of beautiful homes on Manzanita Drive of which this may be the latest. He is best known for his expressive and rustic residences built in the 70s but this home was designed around a decade later. Even so, it still displays vestiges of the heavily wooded interiors that characterized his earlier homes, but the simplified geometry and greater prevalence of drywall is indicative of the changing tastes of the 80s. Davis of course handles both designs with his typical aplomb and manages to integrate his own unique voice into the tastes of both decades.

Posted in Architect-Designed, Martin Davis, Mid-Century, Third Bay Region Style | Leave a comment

1985 Tunnel, Oakland

Click picture for additional photos and complete listing courtesy of Lorraine Alden, Chalkboard

The home we feature today is one of the most unusual of the many interesting postmodern structures built in the aftermath of the Oakland Hills Fire. It was designed by Ace Architects who were a local firm with a well-deserved reputation for over the top design. This particular example was composed for a jazz enthusiast so naturally it is adorned with enormous horn shaped stair towers and a distinctly Art Moderne revival sensibility. It is Ace Architects at their most outlandishly joyous – a true East Bay original.

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