Tooting Your Own Horn

One of the homes built after the Oakland firestorm that helped give the area a really bad name, architecturally speaking.

Here’s a house that does just that, architecturally speaking! And while the house has a Berkeley address, it really is in Oakland. But it is close enough, and just too interesting not to tell you about.

I’m a bit late out of the starting gate though…. Tracey Taylor wrote about it last week in berkeleyside and then SFgate.com did a piece today. Each of these has links back to articles written in the past about the house, so I won’t bother to repeat them. But a long article in Harper’s magazine from 1997 is worth the full read, even though you have to sign up for a “free trial” to read it. It’s not just about this one house, but the state of architecture in the entire post-fire reconstruction area. Given the recent 10 year anniversary of the fire, it is a good reminder of what happened after.

I’ll just say this about the house in its current, just flipped reincarnation: besides all the architectural whimsy, the finishes are simply not holding up. The shopping mall-style brass railings are tarnished in places that probably can’t be fixed, the slate floor with its wax-like surface looks terrible, and the master bath shower stall is just plain bizarre: there are two shower heads with separate control valves right next to each other. Was the idea to have one showerhead giving you hot water and the other cold? They are not far enough away for two separate people.  And the stucco is very likely to leak again. On the other hand, I do love the Vegas-style round bed with gold-leaf ceiling. But since it is open to the rest of the house, you won’t be rockin’ and rolling in it if anyone else is home!

Brett Weinstein is a 30+ year resident of Berkeley and the broker and co-founder of Realty Advocates, a Berkeley and Oakland focused real estate firm in business since 1986. Besides appreciating Berkeley’s architectural treasures, he has found over 100 murals painted throughout the City. Click here to see his archive, or .

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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