An Ultra Modern Manse Lets the Light In

Lots of glass features give this multi-level super-mod Berkeley hills home an airy feel as it hugs the rim of the canyon stretching below.


Photos by Open Homes Photography

Clearly, living in a glass house isn’t so bad as it’s reputed to be, as long as you’re in a shining example like that of 1107 Alvarado Road in the Berkeley hills, where multi-levels of floor-to-high-ceiling windows, a glass front door, and even glass staircase and porch railings throw light into every corner of the home.

Just be sure to have plenty of Windex around.

This ultra-modern new construction is another gem from Berkeley architect and designer John Newton, known for opening up rooms and bringing in natural light on numerous projects in the East Bay hills and Contra Costa County since the mid-1990s. The Alvarado property sits in the Claremont neighborhood, which straddles the Berkeley and Oakland borders above the historic Claremont Hotel and the popular Elmwood shopping district along College Avenue.

Listing agent David Eckert of Caldwell Banker describes the 3,500-square-foot contemporary home as “truly volumetric.”

“It’s over-the-top modern, with all the floor-to-ceiling glass. It’s a wonderful floor plan and layout, the perfect setting for large entertaining or an intimate gathering,” he said.

As with many homes that hug the canyon hillsides, the garage is on street level with the bulk of the structure cascading below. So you’ll step down to the front entry and enter through the glass front door — mirror-finished for privacy and a built in bio-metric lock for security. Exterior walls are clad in slate-colored composite panels, lending a feel of oversized, modernized cinderblocks. The rest of the exterior is wrapped in gray stucco.

Upon entry, look up to see a chandelier dripping above you, like clustered raindrops. Blond hardwoods throughout add to the feel of light. From the entry, step down to the living room where you’ll be met with a towering wall that cries out for equally sizable art. Sliding glass doors lead to a small front patio.

The roofline slopes toward the next room — a modern greatroom, an uninterrupted flow from kitchen through dining area to family-room space. There’s an almost urban-loft feel with glass-clad stairs leading up to the garage one way, down to the lower levels the other.

The centerpiece of the greatroom is a stunning art chandelier of interlocking circles of light. Staggered floating shelves give interest to one wall of the family space and sliding glass doors lead out to one of home’s three large decks, overlooking trees on the hillside with a peek at the bay in the distance.

There’s a very Jetsons vibe in the kitchen. Cabinet facades are sleek, gray panels that merge seamlessly with the stainless appliances. An angled wedge supports one end of the island. Crystal pendant lights float above, and can lights dot the ceilings throughout the main level.

To find the bedrooms, take the staircase to the first lower level, stopping at a spacious landing — perfect for a sitting area or artwork. The four bedrooms each have sliding doors that open onto the second-level deck, enveloped in trees. An egg-shaped tub, glassed-in shower, dual sinks and floating white-washed wood cabinets mark the master bath. On the lowest level, you’ll find a multipurpose room, complete with a bar, large wine fridge, and more glass doors to yet another deck.

You might consider investing in Windex stock.

The Particulars


1107 Alvarado Road, Berkeley

4 Bedrooms

3 Bathrooms

Hardwood flooring, attached garage

3,500 square feet

Agent: David Eckert, Coldwell Banker, 510-333-2150

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