$1,650,000 – For Sale
2706 Virginia St.
Berkeley, Alameda County
“Approaching the house is like looking for the entrance to the Magic Garden” says architectural writer John Ribovich. Hidden from the street and at the end of a long gravel path, surrounded by majestic Oaks, Liquidambar, and flowering plants of every kind, you are transported to a time when being a few blocks from Campus was akin to living in the countryside.
Attributed to Bernard Maybeck, this home is filled with romance, charm and a storied history. The artists, writers and academics who owned it include the renowned photographer Dorothea Lange and her husband, the economist Paul Taylor. Their combined work during the depression, helped create programs for the New Deal. The apartment below the main house was originally Lange’s dark room and where she developed some of her most well-known works.
After walking down the long gravel path, one enters the house by ascending the exterior Ipe stairs and deck through a unique Craftsman front door. The interior boasts massive Redwood beams and nods to a western cabin with several intimate yet connected spaces. The built-in seating circulates around an inviting stone fireplace, gorgeous grid-irons and beautiful antique light fixtures. The living room and media room look out to vistas that are eye-level with neighborhoods’ Red-Tailed Hawks.
The striking vintage stove and oven is a stunning feature of the eat-in country kitchen and was formerly owned by the restaurant owner Alice Waters. The kitchen has a modern stainless-steel refrigerator and dishwasher, Saltillo tile floors, vintage tile countertops, built-in shelves for dish display and peers out onto the deck. Outside the kitchen, is a large deck for outdoor eating, that is next to the brick exterior fireplace (perfect spot for a pizza oven) and shaded by the large Liquid Amber tree.
The dining room has built-in cabinets with leaded glass doors and windows on either side. The media room was once an open porch but has been enclosed for at least half a century. There is also a laundry room and half bath on this floor.
Upstairs are 3 bedrooms, the smallest one has a deck with vistas which face both south and west. A hall bathroom has an antique clawfoot tub and a modern glass door shower. There is a sitting room off the primary bedroom, which could also be an office and has a door out to a deck. All three upstairs rooms have beautiful Bay Views and are filled with light.
Below the main floor is a delightful one-bedroom apartment with a kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and a large living/dining room that also looks out to the Bay View, with a French door out to the yard. Step outside and you may disturb the deer and her two fawns. The expansive lot, for adventurous souls, extends down to city land that abuts Le Conte Ave.
The house boasts many upgrades, including new dual pane windows, a new roof with sheathing installed in 2012 and a new foundation and seismic work completed in 1991. Come be the next owners to continue this enchanting house’s history.