Enjoy a Piedmont Pines Retreat

Enjoy a Piedmont Pines Retreat


High-beamed ceilings, a metal-clad fireplace, large windows, and surrounding trees keep the setting serene

Escape from the hustle and bustle where windows with views, a wrap-around deck, and a sense of space rule.

Clean lines and a palette of light form an effortless framework of shape and space — a composition in mixed media with warm woods, stone, metalwork, and glass. All that’s needed is you in repose.

Yes, this could easily be an artist’s over-the-top description of a new work. Instead, it paints the perfect picture of 5722 Chelton Drive, a tranquil, midcentury modern gem in the Piedmont Pines neighborhood above Oakland’s Montclair Village. Its beamed ceilings, mixed textures, and endless walls of windows overlooking a glen of pines and eucalyptus, blend to create a perfect escape from the bustle of the Bay Area.


Asian influences are prevalent throughout.

Such built-in serenity is not surprising at this architectural landmark. Built in 1957, it was designed by the late Roger Lee, a Chinese-American modernist architect known for designing more than 100 houses and other projects in Northern California, Nevada, and Hawaii in the 1950s and 1960s. His trademarks were grace and clarity, and Lee was often referred to as an architect who designed “high style for the middle class.”

The flat-roofed home, owned by one family since it was built, has four bedrooms, three baths, and a lower level with a separate entrance and kitchenette, which could serve as an artist’s studio, home office, or in-law space.

The home’s main entrance takes you along a path flanked by a rock garden and Asian-style panels. Through the red front door and down floating wood steps, you enter the living room, struck by the high-beamed ceilings and the modern metal-clad fireplace with its cantilever concrete base. But the true allure is the sense of space, of little or no separation between inside and out, thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows and a wrap-around deck — all providing a tree house sensation.


Sliding glass doors, a bevvy of windows, and the wrap-around deck contribute to a sense of tranquility.

“There’s a feeling of tranquility I experience when I sit quietly in the house or on the deck enjoying the sound of birds and the leaves falling,” said listing agent Patricia Bennett of Pacific Union. “I think anyone who wants an immediate sense of peace when they come home will love this home as well as those interested in architectural integrity. It is a very special place.”

Take a turn around the fireplace to the dining area, linked to the galley kitchen with long horizontal pass-through. Original cabinetry is clad in a fresh white, and sleek high-end stainless appliances update the look. Even from the kitchen, the outside views are stunning.

High gray-beamed ceilings flow through into the master bedroom where there’s plenty of wall space for art above the bed and yet more walls of windows. There’s a sitting area and access to the porch, a perfect place to sip tea and listen to joyful birdsong. A window over the tub in the bath looks out onto a small atrium.


The home was built in 1957 by Roger Lee and has been owned by the family since it was erected.

In another bedroom, one entire wall is a big sliding-glass door. Horizontal redwood panels above the bed add visual interest. The stark white of the bathroom is accented with stone mosaic countertops and a circular skylight. Downstairs is the bonus area for office space, studio, or more. The second kitchen is not as deluxe but efficient and convenient.

If you do want to emerge into the real world, head down the winding roads to Montclair Village for shops and restaurants and a popular farmers market every Sunday.

The Particulars


5722 Chelton Drive, Oakland

4 Bedrooms

3 Bathrooms


Two-car garage, beamed ceilings, wood floors

2,192 square feet

Agent: Patricia Bennett, Pacific Union, Oakland


Faces of the East Bay