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Berkeley: More Modernism for the 1950's Middle Class

Drive by 708 Arlington Avenue in the Thousand Oaks section of Berkeley and you might think "nice hedge" without actually knowing there was a house back there. Indeed, there's a graceful 3-bed, 2-bath house designed by architect Roger Lee behind that hedge, asking $700,000 and one day on the market. The well-manicured shrubbery is probably sixty years old as well, and one of the house's best features. Inside, the listing shows off the untouched mid-century modern with some very sweet built-ins, but no images of the kitchen or baths. The usual suspects- bands of windows, a pitched open ceiling with tongue-and-groove paneling, paneled walls, all framed in Lee's signature dark trim plus beautiful wide-plank floors. Lee was one of the country's first Chinese-American architects, got a lot of press coverage in the '50s for his work in the Bay Area, then moved to Hawaii and dropped off the editorial radar. In his outstanding profile of Roger Lee, Dave Weinstein wrote:

Lee belonged to the last generation of architects that designed custom- built modern homes for middle-class, even working-class, people. He influenced many younger architects, and left the Bay Area with dozens of homes - although many rarely hit the market.Now's your chance- or at least to have a look at one- at open houses on Sunday, June 17 and Sunday June 24, 2:00 to 4:30 both days.
· Middle-Class Modernism: Roger Lee's... Houses Still Sought After [SF Gate]

[Redfin]