Craftsman Charmer

A home for a Rockridge family, chickens and all.


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Although they weren't the highest bidders, they offered some favorable terms and won the home.

Pat Mazzera

The third time’s a charm for this growing Rockridge family. This Craftsman charmer is the Antins’ third East Bay home in five years. The steep stairs of the couple’s first home in the Berkeley Hills proved daunting in the face of impending parenthood. Their second home, a Telegraph Avenue condo, was toddler Mason’s first home and super convenient but lacked outdoor space.

“We think of ourselves as compact livers,” says Jesse Antin, “but we knew we wanted at least one other kid, and we love to be outside. We imagined having a big garden, but at the same time, we [couldn’t] imagine leaving the semi-urban East Bay.”

So the couple was casually looking at houses with this in mind when they spotted a Stuart Street property that seemed to fit the bill. They made a play for it, but were outbid. And they were sucked in to the lure of a new, garden-filled life.

In addition to a yard, they determined that location was important. They were most interested in Berkeley’s Elmwood neighborhood and the adjoining Rockridge neighborhood across the line in Oakland.

Within six weeks, they found two more houses they liked, both set to accept bids on the same day. One was listed a full $100,000 more, but both had pluses. So which one to place their bets on?

“We learned that morning through our agent that whereas this house had 11 other offers on it, the other house had 18,” says Antin. “And that seemed to us like the beginning of what’s happened since: multiple offers, all-cash offers. And knowing that it was already almost out of reach with 18 offers, we decided to pull the plug on the other one.”

And even though they weren’t the highest bidders on their-now home, they were able to offer some favorable terms and won the bid. Antin says he’s well aware that “between those two houses, there were 29 people who did not get a house.”

The Antins moved in mid-2012 and are now well established in their one-story home. The living room and bedroom walls are decorated with personal photographs; the walls and ceilings have vintage wood paneling and crown molding; there’s room in the extra bedroom for an heirloom baby grand piano; and the large, asymmetrical-shaped yard is home to a burgeoning edible garden, along with avocado, apple, plum, lemon, lime, orange, and olive trees and three chickens that are named after some of Mason’s favorite first words.

“We really lucked out,” says Antin.

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