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1915 Berkeley craftsman seeks $1.9 million

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Do they make them like this anymore?

A brown-shingled Craftsman house in Berkeley. Photos courtesy of Will Sprietsma and Stefano DeZerega, Zephyr

The latest listing for 6 Nogales Street, a three-bed, three-bath Berkeley craftsman from 1915, claims Walter Ratcliff as its designer, the same man who served as Berkeley’s first—and only—official city architect.

The brown shingles and encompassing stone porch railing at the front of the house promotes the richness of the woodwork inside. Notice that the same rounded, uneven stones that make up the porch railing built the living room fireplace as well—”river rocks,” according to the ad.

It certainly looks like it would be up Ratcliff’s alley, although anything sufficiently beautiful might be.

The San Francisco Chronicle called him “one of the Bay Area's greatest eclectic architects” in 2006, noted for his diversity of influences and habit of porting aesthetically pleasing elements straight from other buildings into his own designs.

The history blog Berkeley Heritage points out that Ratcliff, an Englishman by birth, served as the official city architect from 1913 until 1921, the only person to ever fill the position. Much of that was to do with his designs, but it didn’t hurt that he was “extremely well connected in the business community” either.

He built his first spec house in Berkeley in 1902, according to his Berkeley Citizen biography. Over the course of his career Ratcliff designed everything from “the small English cottage in Claremont Court for Miss Anna Head to the large Italianate mansion in Piedmont (now destroyed) for Senator A. H. Breed.”

So it’s little surprise that the signature Berkeley craftsman might end up designing a signature Berkeley craftsman. And 6 Nogales has a new signature price: $1.9 million, which, with inflation factored in, is actually a bit less than the $1.6 million it sold for back in 2006.