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Open House Report: A Re-Cap From the Hills

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We hopped into our car-share Mini-Cooper yesterday and headed out to the Berkeley and Oakland Hills to check out last week's three open house recommendations. We managed to penetrate two. Herewith, the results:

Location: 2701 Darnby Drive, Oakland
?Size: 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms?
Price: $700,000
?Pitch: "This French Farmhouse includes a formal dining room, spacious living room with fireplace? and views of the Bay."
Our Take: Beautiful interior volumes, timber and stone, in classic '30s historicism?- possibly by W.R. Yelland?
What Went Down: We erred- the house was designed by architect Charles McCall and built in 1934. Yelland, an important "Storybook Style" architect did a number of houses in this Piedmont Pines neighborhood, some of which are visible from the road. This one's less storybook and more French (we'll say Normandy, not the usual Bay Area Provence) distilled through two lenses, Arts & Crafts and Art Deco, untouched and not especially well-maintained. Still has some original wall paper and linoleum (real linoleum) and beautiful limed-oak woodwork. Two of the bedrooms have vaulted ceilings crossed by big timber beams plus an awesome original knotty-pine bathroom and the house is hidden by mature landscaping and spectacular fir trees, shutting out some of the neighborhood. A lovely house needing a (possibly) daunting amount of work. Not for the faint of heart or wallet.

Location: 240 The Uplands, Berkeley?
Size: 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms?
Price: $795,000?
Pitch: "Dramatic, architectural showpiece on one of Claremont's most desirable streets. Designed by noted architect Vernon Demars as his personal home."
Our Take: The personal, modernist vision of by a Bay Area architect incorporates Japanese influences
What Went Down: By the end of the day, very possibly the entire house. It's a wonderful little place in a fairly grand neighborhood near the Claremont Hotel, remaining upright purely out of habit. Crowds of people gathered to navigate perilous steps and rickety decking; one deck was closed off for safety reasons. Renovating the house, perched over a stream, might best be described as an adventure. We'll call it the poor man's Fallingwater.?

Location: 8 Stonewall Road, Berkeley
Size: 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms?
Price: $1,099,000?
Pitch: "This serene William Wurster has it all: grand public spaces, classic design details? "
Our Take: Look past the decor and rescue this modest Bay Area classic
What Went Down: Absolutely nothing! The open house was cancelled.


· Car Sharing: Making Your Mother Proud [Curbed SF Archives]
· There's Architecture in Those Hills [Curbed SF Archives]
· Fallingwater [Western Pennsylvania Conservancy]