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Curbed Comparisons: What $2,000 rents you in Oakland right now

From earthquake shacks to “tree houses,” which one is right for you?

Welcome to Curbed Comparisons, a regular column exploring what you can rent for a set dollar amount in different neighborhoods. Today we again head to Oakland. Is one person's studio another person's townhouse? Let's find out. Today's price: $2,000.

↑ This little (700-square-feet) home in the San Antonio neighborhood bills itself as a onetime earthquake shack from 1906. It’s notoriously difficult to confirm whether any sufficiently old, tiny house was a real quake shack or not, but we can always hope. These days it’s a one-bedroom, pet-friendly (for an extra fee, at least) house studded with recess lighting, subway tile, and built-ins, resembling a standard Oakland apartment, but detached and sporting a little extra class. Yours for $2,000/month.

↑ The year 1906 is a good pedigree, but this beautiful blue Victorian in West Oakland may have beat it to foundations by eleven years. The entire house is a three-bed, two-bath affair, but in this case they’re advertising a single bedroom in-law that’s evidently only 250 feet and runs you $2,000/month, sans pets. That’s a lot of dough per square inch, but at least the apartment is dressy looking, the house is gorgeous, and the address is a few blocks from BART.

↑ Speaking of things that are beautiful and blue, a few blocks from the southernmost tip of Lake Merritt you’ll find this sky-shaded 1925 building where a one-bedroom apartment costs $1,995/month. The landlords advertise the floors, tile work, and banisters as original but the quartz counters as new, so all you need to provide yourself is the “something borrowed” part of the formula. Cats are allowed, and you’ll of course notice the mural tucked into the Second Avenue side of the building.

↑ The ad for this one-bedroom apartment on the edge between Oakland and Piedmont near the little Linda Avenue dog park asks, “Is this a treehouse or an apartment?” Our investigation has reached a definite conclusion—it’s an apartment. (Which is lucky, since you probably can’t charge $1,995/month for a treehouse.) But we’ll concede that the view of the boughs just outside the big, general-use room at the floor plan’s center is quite nice. No dogs, allowed, but cats are “negotiable,” a comment most cats would take personally.

↑ Finally, over on the southern tip of Temescal, not far away from Piedmont in its own right, our best bargain is $1,895/month for a cozy little one bedroom house on 41st. There’s not much to say for it design-wise; but it’s all to yourself, you’re right between two lovely neighborhoods, the pets can come along, and the price is right (compared to everything else), and you can’t overstate the appeal of feeling at home.