BAHA Preservation Awards 2013
Johnson-Earl House. The corbels under the roof eaves are resproductions. (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2010)
2823 Benvenue Avenue
(architect unknown, 1904)
This graceful Colonial Revival house, with its uncommon, asymmetrical fašade, was built for Frederick C. Johnson, a San Francisco lumber merchant. The second owner, Thomas Montgomery Earl, was a shoe manufacturer and wholesaler. In more recent years, the house fell upon leaner times, serving as student housing. In 1999 it was purchased by the current owner, who set about to restore it to its former beauty.
Both exterior and interiors benefitted from years of patient and dedicated work. Inside, the redwood in doors, windows, moldings, and wainscots, originally coated with linseed oil and blackened over the years, was laboriously sanded, stained, and finished to its current glow and satiny smoothness. The worn-down fir stairs were replaced with oak, the present owner doing the carpentry herself.
Before, with interim fireplace & sideboard (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2008)
After (photo: Carrie Olson, 2013)
After (photo: Carrie Olson, 2013)
In the dining room, where original wall paneling and sideboard had been removed by a previous owner, restoration took years of trial and error, until the correct period look was accomplished. Now, gleaming new board-and-batten wainscoting matches the original. A newly designed fireplace and a modified, auction-bought sideboard look as if they’ve always been there. Throughout the house, carefully selected period light fixures strike the right note.
Photo: Carrie Olson, 2013
The charming kitchen is entirely the present owner’s creation. Both beautiful and practical, it demonstrates how an old house can be successfully adapted for the 21st century while retaining its historic character.
Outside, the corbels under the roof eaves are a recent recreation of the original ones. Although the owner had never seen the latter, her replicas are just right. Fine-tuning the exterior paint colors took several iterations until she was satisfied.
Wallace-Sauer House in 2005 (photo: Daniella Thompson)
1340 Arch Street
(John White, 1905)
Commonly known as Rose n Arch, this imposing Swiss chalet near Live Oak Park was built for Frederick William Wallace, a manufacturers purchasing agent. Originally clad in shingles, the house was designed by Bernard Maybecks brother-in-law, a Berkeley resident and prolific architect best known for the Le Conte Memorial Lodge (1904) in Yosemite Valley and for the Hillside Club (1924) on Cedar Street. The house appears to be the only Berkeley residence designed by John White to have survived the 1923 fire. From 1932 until 1975, this house was the home of world-renowned geographer Carl Ortwin Sauer. From 1978 until 1997, the house was owned by Amy Wallace, daughter of Irving Wallace and co-author of The Peoples Almanac and several editions of The Book of Lists.
The redesigned preriod-style kitchen (photo: Carrie Olson, 2013)
Restored breakfast nook & vintage stove (photo: Carrie Olson, 2013)
Until it was recently acquired, this landmark served as a boarding house for 14 years. The work undertaken by the new owners restored the house for family living while reintroducing appropriate period style in areas altered by previous remodels. Small sinks, bathrooms, a back staircase, and multiple phone lines were removed. A closet replaced a wet bar in the master bedroom. The kitchen renovation is in harmony with the style of the period, even reintroducing a breakfast nook where one had obviously been lost. Whether in the elegant master bathroom or on the private deck and hot tub near the back door, one has the sense of being in a wonderful tree house.
French doors open the dining room to the garden. (photo: Carrie Olson, 2013)
New French doors, crafted to recreate the originals, open from the dining room to the expansive garden, which has been totally redesigned. The surrounding fence was rebuilt, incorporating new gates that open to welcoming patterns of access. Disparate garden uses are gracefully integrated into a series of virtual rooms: a children’s play area, a vegetable garden, herbs, a chicken yard and coop, a compost area, and a more formal area to relax on the lawn or amble along the flowered paths.
The redesigned garden (photo: Carrie Olson, 2013)
Marion Beadles House (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2013)
Marion Beadles House
1464 Le Roy Avenue
(John Hudson Thomas, 1925)
After Marion Baker Beadles, a home economics teacher in Berkeley’s and Oakland’s public schools, lost her home in the 1923 Berkeley fire, she engaged John Hudson Thomas to design a replacement. The architect’s unmistakable hand is evident in the cascading rooflines, rough plaster walls, heavy beams, and unusual spaces.
When the current owners purchased the house in 1979, it required much work. During those early renovations, disaster struck when workers set the top of the house on fire while removing paint by burning.
Bathroom (photos: Carrie Olson, 2013)
Over time, the owners came to understand the language of the house and developed a strong feeling of stewardship. In their recent restoration project, they appear to have channeled John Hudson Thomas’ sensibilities. Major structural and seismic reinforcements were accomplished with no visible marks. On the roof, the old cedar shingles were replaced with thin slate, which requires minimal additional support.
The kitchen and two bathrooms were remodeled within their original footprints; their casework matches Thomas’s original designs in other parts of the house. Artisan tiles from Motawi Tile Works and McIntyre Tile and period-compatible materials and fixtures lend the right note. Throughout, the quality of chraftsmanship is exquisite.
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