Developers breathe new life into an old timer, and the major redo transforms the 1916 structure into a contemporary stunner.
The completely rebuilt home at 935 Arlington Ave. in North Oakland’s Santa Fe neighborhood stands out like a bold newcomer, clad in a midnight gray and rising head and shoulders above its surrounding single-story neighbors, thanks to the addition of an entire floor — not to the top, but the bottom.
San Francisco development group AMSI took the existing 1916 structure down to the studs and lifted it up to pour a new foundation and add a full lower level, doubling the square footage to nearly 2,500 for the now four-bedroom, 3½-bath home. In the process, the developers created additional living space for the main house and a fully permitted accessory dwelling unit with separate kitchen and entrance — a potential rental or in-law/au pair space.
AMSI partner Puneh Sohrabpour was the designer on the project in this slice of Oakland sandwiched between Bushrod and Gaskill. “When I first viewed the property, it was really dilapidated,” she said. “On the side yard, there was a bunch of chicken wire, and it was a mess, but I immediately envisioned a bocce ball court in that space. That’s the moment I fell for the place, and the whole thing started.”
From there, the team replaced walls, roofing, put in new windows, brought in high-tech features and appliances, completely reworked the layout from boxy rooms to a wide-open floor plan, topping it all off with the distinctive color choice. “The color reminds me of a dark night sky,” Sohrabpour said.
While the outside may say nighttime, the inside proclaims bright sunny afternoon. Once up the front steps to the porch, warmed with blond-wood siding, you’ll pass through the window-paned front door and into the living room with walls clean and white like freshly bleached sheets. Daylight streams through the windows to shine on the hardwood floors. A sleek, black electric fireplace is embedded in the pony wall between the living and kitchen/dining areas. Modern, geometric light fixtures dot the ceilings.
The gray-and-white theme continues into the kitchen with slate-gray cabinets set off with white countertops, white subway-tile backsplash, and farmhouse sink. A gas range is embedded in the island with a stainless-and-glass hood hovering above. A half bath has the same midnight gray, but in textured wallpaper as backdrop to a floating white sink.
The master bedroom is on this level, its triple windows looking out over the neighborhood. More white subway tiles line the large open shower with rainfall showerhead. Again, the gray-and-white continues with cabinets and countertops holding dual sinks. Another bedroom on this floor could double as a den.
Just past the kitchen, a deep-gray wall backs the stairway down to the lower level where you’ll find a family room with an entire wall of windows that opens up, accordion-style, to the backyard. To the right are raised planters and the bocce ball court. And across the large lawn is what was once a small shed but is now a bonus room — what Sohrabpour calls the “Zen cottage.”
“It was an original piece of the house, just a backyard shed, that we brought some life to,” she said. “It’s a little magical outdoor nook that could be an office, a workout studio, a meditation room, an art studio, or even a great playhouse for kids.”
Back on the lower level of the main house, there’s another large bedroom and full bath with a free-standing tub, open shower, and dual sinks embedded in gray marble counters, seated atop white cabinetry. Windows high on the wall provide privacy. Another small space under the stairway makes for an extra room with interesting shapes and nooks — great for storage or a kids play area. The ADU has its own kitchen along one wall and a full bath.
“The biggest inspiration for me was the interior. I love the water and I love the beach, so I wanted to create something that has the vibe of a beach house, light and airy and open,” Sohrabpour said. “I wanted it to feel like you could pick it up and put it by a beach and it would fit right in.”
935 Arlington Ave., Oakland
2,469 square feet
Two-car off-street parking
Electric fireplace, ADU unit, bonus room in rear yard
Agent: Robb Fleischer, [email protected]