True to Its Aesthetic Roots
A traditional home in Elmwood reflects its period appeal.
High ceilings, copious windows, and golden-hued floors create an expansive feel, left, and the well-appointed kitchen offers great storage options.
Photos by Open Homes Photography
A hybrid of Craftsman-style and First Bay Tradition, the brown shingle home at 2918 Piedmont Ave. is an exemplary representation of Berkeley’s turn-of-the-20th century architectural mode of day. Not quite a Maybeck or a Morgan, the beautifully preserved, and recently refurbished, two-story home was, until not too long ago, surrounded by 100-plus-year-old (and largely neglected) landscaping that all but obscured it from street view.
“I grew up in Berkeley and used to walk past this address all the time,” said Red Oak Realty’s Andrea Gordon. “I never saw the actual home until the owners listed it with me.”
Designed by A. Carvill Bowser, a contemporary of the aforementioned notable architects, the four-bedroom, two-bath house was built in 1907 on a corner lot near the bustling intersection of Ashby and College avenues in the Elmwood district.
Talk about location.
At just under $2 million, the stately home gets near-perfect scores for walkability, access to public transit, and proximity to one of Berkeley’s most popular shopping and dining districts—with a couple of caveats.
The original lot was subdivided, reducing the outdoor living area to a large patio, but very little yard. However, that’s not necessarily a bad thing for some, especially busy professionals who would rather relax than pull weeds. The paved patio space is semi-private, low-maintenance, and big enough to entertain on.
“I’m envisioning dual-income tech professionals who might need a home office, or two, purchasing this home,” said Gordon. “Most folks looking at houses of this size have children and want more outdoor space.”
Step inside the home’s front door into a light-filled expanse. High ceilings and lots of windows make the 2,842-square-foot home feel much larger. The original oak floors, lovingly refurbished throughout, imbue the home’s interiors with a subtle golden hue. It is also accented with natural light and lofty high ceilings. Gordon’s team also renovated several of the home’s original stained glass windows.
The great room and adjacent formal dining rooms share a beautiful fireplace surrounded in brick and redwood built-ins. Next to the dining room, a large, well-appointed kitchen, with plenty of storage and expanses of stone countertops, adds appeal for the serious home cook or the inspired. Although with the great restaurants and cafes steps away, there might be more dining out than eating in.
Upstairs, the large bedrooms are the kind of quarters to put you in a cheerful mood every morning. A bank of windows—with just enough treetop to lend privacy—floods the rooms with light, the nicest kind of wake-up call. As was the fashion at the time, a small sitting room in the master suite provides room for a writing desk or a comfortable chair for cozying up with a book before bed.
“Many of these older homes get remodeled and lose their ‘personalities.’ We wanted to maintain this home’s period feel,” said Gordon. “I tell my clients, ‘if you’re not looking for a traditional home, don’t buy one!’ I had neighbors come by and thank me for not painting over the redwood. This house deserved to keeps its aesthetic roots.”
2918 Piedmont Ave., Berkeley
Square Footage: 2,842
Lot size: 4,731 square feet
Agent: Andrea Gordon, Red Oak Realty
Published online on June 1, 2017 at 8:00 a.m.