While 2018 was a banner year for homeowners looking to sell their digs for a hefty sum, this year’s aesthetic offerings weren’t nearly as striking as what we saw in 2017. After all, how often does one get to see designs by Angela Danadjieva, Daniel Liebermann, Bernard Maybeck, Julia Morgan, and—blessed be—Ettore Sottsass on the market in the same year? Not often.
But the Bay Area did see a smattering of gorgeous constructions on offer in 2018, from Queen Anne Victorians and midcentury-modern designs (going above and beyond the Eichler-sphere) to a Richard Neutra specimen in Parnassus Heights and a hillside Belvedere storybook home.
And now, in no particular order, here are the 20 homes that made us stop and say, “Oh my God.”
1. Roger Lee midcentury in Montclair
Owned by the same family since 1959 and once featured in Sunset Magazine, this Roger Lee -designed midcentury in Montclair’s Piedmont Pines neighborhood landed on the market for $1.09 million.
2. Stunning NoPa Victorian
This renovated circa-1900 Victorian, highlighted by its exterior with sunburst and turret, kept an eye on the past care of remaining crown moldings, ceiling medallions, fireplaces, pocket doors, and stained glass.
3. Storybook charmer on Picardy Drive
Once known as Normandy Gardens, the storybook homes dotting Picadry Drive have a special place in the hearts of Oaklanders and architecture geeks alike. Designed by architect R.C. Hillen, the 70 homes that grace the small stretch were labeled “modest mansions” due to their exceedingly charming English, French, and Normandy architecture. This three-bedroom, one-bathroom, 1,507-square-foot home at 5722 Picardy landed on the market for $699,000.
6. Guerneville geodesic dome
Built in 1980, this one-bed, one-bath geodesic dome in Guerneville benefited from a recent renovation making it look better than ever. Highlights here included a handmade spiral staircase, a triangular window configuration, hexagonal wood paneling, and a wood-burning stove.
5. Tudor in San Francisco’s smallest neighborhood
Measuring two by three streets and perched onto the northwest slope of Mount Davidson sits Sherwood Forest where this circa-1931 Tudor landed on the market for $3.6 million, featuring five bedrooms, five bathrooms, and approximately 4,315 square feet.
6. Circular condo inside Beaux-Arts Marchbank Building
Featuring painted moldings, decorative fireplace, and massive bay window, the real treat inside this Tendernob condo was the circular dining room/parlor area replete with mirrored doors and sconces.
7. Super Eichler in Walnut Creek
This Eichler is located in Walnut Creek’s Northgate neighborhood featured vaulted ceilings, exposed beams, brick fireplace, and a signature open atrium. But this wasn’t any ol’ Eichler. This super Eichler measured over 2,300 square feet across a single floor.
8. Richard Neutra’s Darling House
Let’s hope the new owner of Richard Neutra’s “Darling House” in Parnassus Heights keep this one intact. Another prime specimen of Modernism from the noted architect, this two-story hillside abode was one of Neutra’s first wood sheathed works noted for its horizontal redwood siding and painted steel casement windows.
9. Dutch Colonial-style home in Piedmont
An adorable take on Dutch Colonial style, this circa-1914 Piedmont home featured seven beds, six baths, and 5,463 square feet, highlighted by its quasi-gambrel roof.
10. San Anselmo home with conversation pit
From the wood-shingled exterior to the restored water tower, this San Anselmo abode, built in 1912 for an Alaskan sea captain, came with vaulted ceilings that resemble an overturned ship. But the biggest draw was the living room‘s conversation pit, flanked on each side by Inuit totem poles and carvings, featuring a redwood header beam engraved with the the words sitkum nika piah six, which, according to the realtor, translates to “share my fire, friend” in Chinook jargon.
11. Ritz-Carlton penthouse
Sorry, fans of understated beauty: Bombast and gall alone helped pushed this top-floor home to the top of the list.
12. Hillside Belvedere storybook home
Known locally as the “Hansel and Gretel House,” the brick-and-stone storybook home at 242 Beach Road is part of three other adjacent storybook homes, as well as 12 other properties in Belvedere and Tiburon conceived by Jack Heidelberg. It landed on the market for $3,950,000.
13. Lieberman-designed home in the Berkeley Hills
A protégé of Frank Lloyd Wright, Daniel Lieberman homes are prized when they hit the market. Many of the noted architect’s signature touches can be found here—recycled and sustainable materials, hand-hammered copper, stone and brickwork, spiraled beams, and multi-paneled floor-to-ceiling windows.
14. Landmark Mission Beaux-Arts building
James Dunn’s French-inspired home on Folsom Street, dubbed the Gaughran House, is most noteworthy for its intricate, exquisite facade.
15. Spanish-Mediterranean fantasy in the Berkeley Hills
“A slice of LA in the Berkeley Hills, this stunning Mediterranean specimen looks more like the onetime home of a silent-screen star than it does a house in one of the state’s most intellectual cities,” we said in July. Still swoon-worthy months later despite recent updates that include frosted glass (shudder).
16. Pac Heights Queen Anne
Christened the Edward Coleman house, Noe Hill reports that architect W.H. Lille conceived of this home in 1895 for Coleman, a Grass Valley gold-mining magnate. The 11-bed, five-and-a-half-bath, roughly 7,125-square-foot Victorian maintained most of its original integrity.
17. Hines House in the Sea Ranch
Winner of the Sunset/AIA Home of the Year Award in 1970, the famed Hines House in the Sea Ranch, designed by William Turnbull, made waves when it arrived on the market for $2,275,000. Arguably the most iconic house for sale this year in the Bay Area.
18. Condo inside Oakland’s Ghostbusters building
The Bellevue-Staten Building near Lake Merritt (informally known since as “the Ghostbusters building” due to its very faint resemblance to the high-rise featured in the ’80s blockbuster) is one of the finest buildings in the East Bay. This condo inside—with parquet hardwood floors; wood trim; archways; plaster mantelpiece; and bathroom with original sink, bath, and tile work—wasn’t too shabby, either.
19. Hillsborough English Tudor
This English Tudor mansion in a tony Silicon Valley town gets points for maintaining most of its original integrity, with such period details as wrought-iron hardware, hardwood floors, leaded and stained-glass windows, wood paneling, and more.
20. Landmark Gable mansion
Saving the most jaw-unhinging for last, the historic Gable mansion in Yolo County, which awes inside and out, from the intricate yet bucolic facade to the unabashedly colorful interiors. It remains on the market for $3,850,000.
- Curbed SF’s most beautiful homes of 2017 [Curbed SF]