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Orinda: 1930's French Modernism Gets No Respect

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Was: $2,495,000
Now: $1,895,000
You Save: $600,000

Realtor's like to say there's a house for everyone, but sometimes design anomalies are a tough sell, and here's a 1936 house in Orinda that probably requires a buyer with both great style and money. And in MacMansion-mad Orinda, those two don't usually go hand-in-hand. The house is by the then-youthful William H. Knowles, who would go on to partner with Wayne Hretzka to form one of San Francisco's most successful architectural firms. We looked at this place back in April, 2010 when it first came on the market. Maybe the current owner's decor doesn't help, but the bones here are outstanding- especially if you happen to have a collection of Art Deco furniture.

Knowles designed it after a long tour of Europe, and given Orinda's Mediterranean climate, created a mash-up of what was new in Paris and what he might have seen on a Greek island. He clearly owes a debt to French architect Robert Mallet-Stevens in the massing and plain steel ribbon windows; the roof-top terrace with the perilous steps to an observation platform, all in white-painted stucco, are Greek to us. Mallet-Stevens' remaining houses have a cult following and, mais oui, he even has a posthumous Flickr group. Now he just needs a fan club in Orinda. Click on the gallery above for images; more at the realtor's dedicated site.
· International Style in Orinda Now $300K Less [Curbed SF]
· Robert Mallet-Stevens Flickr Group [Flickr]
· 50 Haciendas Road, Orinda [Village Associates]
· 50 Haciendas Road, Orinda [Redfin]