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Oakland storybook ‘castle’ asks $599K

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Once upon a time, near the far-off land of Mills College...

A faux-castle condo building in Oakland, with turrets and towers. Courtesy of Bridge/West End

The so-called “storybook style” of 20th century architecture was always more of a passing flirtation in Northern California than a true romance, but some still-extant buildings fell harder for it than others.

Take the case of 5717 Picardy Drive in Oakland, one of several experimental throwbacks on the same block. Just drink in that imitation-castle circa 1927 exterior, in all of its slightly cheesy but ultimately somehow whimsical glory.

It’s hardly unusual to have a Queen Anne-style turret on a house in the Bay Area, of course, but normally that’s where the turret treatment ends. This one even features a crenelated rampart above the garage.

Presumably a serious deterrent for any non-resident thinking of parking there.

The medieval method continues into the interior as well; although this place lacks the scale and grandeur to really pull off the “great hall” look of a bona fide bastille in the living room, at least nobody can accuse it of going halfway.

To be honest, the result is a bit of a hot mess when the perfectly normal and pedestrian looking kitchen, bedrooms, and bath come into the equation.

And yet, it’s hard to condemn the gusto and joie de vivre that goes into a place like this. Where would the Bay Area be without the strange but adventurous spirit garrisoned in houses like this?

The actual home for sale here is not the entire, consolidated castle, but rather a two bedroom, one bath condo inside, presently asking $599,000. Not quite a king’s ransom, but still a well-fortified price by Oakland standards.

Still, that’s cheaper than a home like this in San Francisco (imagining for a moment that there were homes like this in San Francisco...), and so a potential redoubt for anyone feeling besieged by the aggressiveness of market conditions here.

Last time this feudal flat came to market was less than a year ago, when it listed for $585,000 and shortly sold for $600,000.