4347 Harbord Drive Has the Feel of a Hobbit Hole Plucked From the Shire

From the outside, this cozy English cottage in Upper Rockridge looks quaint, but its outer charms give way to an interior full of modern farmhouse conveniences and matching aesthetics.


From the outside, the home looks quaint, but it's quite spacious.

Photo by Peter Lyon

A passing hobbit might spy this charming, brick-clad English cottage and think it a fine, cozy nook here in the leafy Shire of Oakland’s Upper Rockridge district.

And fine and cozy so it is. But a mere nook it’s not. Once inside the tri-level at 4347 Harbord Drive, the hobbit will feast her eyes on 2,408 square feet of modern-farmhouse aesthetic, completely renovated and retrofitted while still retaining the original brick work, wood beams, and steel-frame windows of this 1936 home. And with bonus amenities like a full outdoor kitchen, basketball court/play area, and an 800-bottle vertical wine cellar, it’s ready for plenty of hobbitty hootenannies.

photo by peter lyon

The master bedroom has an en-suite bathroom.

“One of my favorite things about this home is how quaint it appears on the outside,” said Michael Braillard, co-listing agent with Shalene Rose of Caldecott Properties in Oakland. “Inside, each room really captures that quaintness also, but as you walk through, you see it’s been retrofitted and updated in a really modern way.”

And you know a home is special when the current owners lament letting it go, writing a “love letter” about the house to share with prospective buyers.

“What we will miss most is the warmth of the home — a glass of wine by the fire, sunset in the living room, or al fresco dining under outdoor heaters,” they wrote. The owners moved here in 2012, captivated by the unique character and old-time feel, but needing to move on with a growing family.

“What the house needed was a little love, so that’s what we gave it,” they said. That “love” included a full structural retrofit, gutting most of the bottom floors, exposing brick and original beams, then adding radiant heating on the lower floor and updating windows and bathrooms with custom finishes and high-grade handiwork.

photo by peter lyon

Exposed beams and an open configuration make the contemporary farmhouse kitchen and dining areas extra inviting. French doors offer easy access to the outside where a well-appointed outdoor kitchen and sprawling deck await. 

Tucked in along a tree-lined street, the home is just a short stroll from the Village Market, Lake Temescal, and the Oak Bay hiking trail. A sweet brick garden path leads through towering redwoods and a filigree of Japanese maples to the vintage front door with its peek-through window.

On the main level, you’re met with a modern, light-filled living room with recessed lighting, yet it still feels like a cozy cottage with wood-burning brick fireplace and custom wrought-iron “tree branch” handrail running along the up/down staircase.

Also on the main floor is the beautifully redone master bedroom with custom walk-in closet, a dark-gray focal wall and an en-suite bathroom — art-gallery white with dark-gray counter, tiled step-in shower, and skylight.

Upstairs are three charming bedrooms with an “attic room” feel, each with lovely treetop views. Two of the bedrooms have new carpet, one with custom built-in shelving and desk. The bright, updated bathroom features a subway-tiled shower over the tub and slate-gray tile.

photo by peter lyon

Another attractive feature is the on-premises cottage, a seprate unit with a ladder-accessible loft, French doors, portal window, and full kitchen  a home within a home. 

The lower level is 1,000 square feet of family room, a half-bath, the massive wine cellar, laundry room, and the main event — the contemporary farmhouse kitchen and dining area. Under recessed lighting, the white cabinetry sets off the rustic exposed beams and brick fireplace. The breakfast bar has a built-in custom spice drawer, a prep sink, and space for barstools on two sides. The stainless Thermador gas range is a home chef’s dream.

French doors lead from the kitchen/dining level to a 1,500-square-foot deck with wooden garden boxes, a hot tub, and a full outdoor kitchen — sink, refrigerator, and gas grill. That’s all surrounded by trees, trees, and more trees. Step down from the deck to a big basketball court/play area on the middle landing of the 6,250-square-foot lot. Further down is a garden and fire pit area. Then you’ll come across the storybook cottage, a separate unit with wood-paneled kitchen, tiled bathroom, and loft — which is perfect for an au pair, in-laws, artist, or visiting hobbits.

The Particulars


4347 Harbord Drive, Oakland

4 Bedrooms

3.5 Bathrooms

Fireplace, wine cellar, wet bar, guest cottage/studio

Radiant heating

2,408 square feet

Agents: Michael Braillard and Shalene Rose, Caldecott Properties, Oakland


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