BAHA Preservation Awards 2008

Part Two


McGraw House (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2008)

Roderick McGraw House
1418 67th Street
(architect unknown, c. 1893)

Roderick McGraw (1825–1902), a Canadian-born house carpenter and a father of six, owned and lived at this house (then 1418 Irving Street) during his final years, from 1893 to 1901.

By the time the current owner purchased the house, extensive rehabilitation was required. The brick foundation had sunk below grade; there was a hole in the middle of the front room where the chimney had collapsed through the floor; most of the hardware was gone; the original window had given way to aluminum sash; some of the windows were boarded or barred; the floors had rotted; the kitchen was unusable.

Custom windows and ornaments (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2008)

The open interior (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2008)
Designed by the owner, the two-year rehabilitation project included lifting the house two feet to create an additional dwelling on the ground floor; a new foundation; new wooden windows; new antique entry doors; and a five-color exterior paint scheme. The small rooms on the main floor were opened up to create a continuous living space. A new bedroom-and-bath addition in the rear continues naturally from the eastern wall for a seamless blend with the historic fabric. Imaginatively painted plaster ceiling rosettes and corbels adorn the living and dining rooms. Sustainable eucalyptus wood was used for flooring throughout the house.

The renovated house is now the jewel of its West Berkeley block.


Photo: Daniella Thompson, 2008

Stephen & Ellen Pepper House
2718 Buena Vista Way
(Roland Stringham, 1925)

Pepper House (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2008)

Over ten years of fastidious work—most of it done by the owner—corrected serious construction shortcomings of the original structure, enhanced its livability and aesthetics, and ensured the future of this very handsome Late Craftsman/Swiss Mountain Cottage residence. Stringham’s design was built literally on the ashes of its predecessor residence after the 1923 Berkeley Fire. In the post-fire haste to rebuild, a failure to prepare the soil for correct foundation placement and the partial reuse of questionable former foundations led to settlement of the massive central chimney and the exterior walls. Hence this restoration is truly from [below] the ground up.

All rooms were replastered. (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2008)

Both pre- and post-fire residences, were the home of Professor Stephen C. Pepper, U.C. Philosopher and Aesthetician. The family asked architect Stringham for a “hill house,” envisioning an Italian hill house, but he thought they wanted a Swiss Chalet. With Mrs. Pepper pregnant and the family eager for their new home, they didn’t request any major changes, according to the Peppers’ daughter.

The delightful kitchen (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2008)

All portions of the work—straightening, rebuilding walls floors and roof, seismic work, drainage, squaring openings, replacing doors and windows, installing completely new wiring, plumbing and heating, reconfiguring certain spaces (yet retaining original proportions), renovating kitchen and bathrooms, finish and detail work—were done with meticulous attention to the original Stringham design, with vastly improved materials and methods.

In a neighborhood of architecturally and historically significant residences, the restored house carries itself very well, and will do so well into the future.

Photo: Daniella Thompson, 2008

Richard & Irene Rickard House
2024 Parker Street
(John E. Bigelow, 1907)

Rickard House (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2008)

This Colonial Revival cottage was built for a family that found refuge in Berkeley after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire. English-born Richard P. Rickard worked in the grocery business, and in Berkeley he became corporate secretary, manager, and partner at the S.J. Sill Company, the town’s toniest grocer.

Rickard House Photo: Daniella Thompson, 2008

In its century of existence, this house has gone through a not atypical journey from single-family residence to apartments and back to single-family use. The current owners began their restoration project in 2004. They removed the asbestos from the exterior and had missing trim sections milled. Inside, they stripped paint from window and door frames, wainscots and cabinets, and varnished them with shellac, the original finish material.

The windows and bench in the rear are a recreation. (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2008)

Two wooden pillars at the entrance to the back parlor that had been taken down by a previous owner were replicated and installed in the same doorway. A bathroom-and-porch addition behind the dining room was removed to allow light in, and the two doors leading to the former addition were replaced with wooden windows in the original design. The corner window seat in the dining room was built anew and looks as if it had always been there. Leaded-glass panels stolen from the dining room sideboard were refabricated.
The period kitchen retains its original passthrough. (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2008)

Within and without, the house was painted brilliant, jewel-like colors that bring out all its charm.

Part Three
Awards 2008

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