Berkeley Landmarks :: Joseph W. Harris House, Part 3

Joseph W. Harris House

Part 3: The second floor

Daniella Thompson

The master bedroom (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2004)

The master bedroom is a half-circle that mirrors the living room on a smaller scale. Joseph Harris’s daughter, Billie Jean D’Anna, informed us at a BAHA reception on 29 August 2004 that while she resided in the house during the late 1930s, the glass wall in the master bedroom was all glass-block, in the same style as the living room. Joanne Goody Sicard, the niece of Joe Harris’s second wife, Frances, lived in the house as a teenager in 1956–57 (her parents rented it from Harris). She also remembered glass block in the bedroom. The conversion to textured glass must have taken place in the 1960s, perhaps at the same time that the ground-floor balcony was enclosed.

Photos: Daniella Thompson, 2004

The master bathroom is a small but opulent room that retains all its original fixtures. Pinkish marble lines the walls and the shower stall, and a darker shade serves for flooring. The medicine cabinet is concealed behind a round mirror and flanked by true-to-style fluorescent lamps. The revolving toothbrush holder is built into the wall, presenting a blank chrome plate until pressed into service. The shower boasts no fewer than five shower heads, of which the lower four are original.

Photo: Daniella Thompson, 2004
    A narrow, crescent-shaped balcony wraps around the master bedroom. It appears that at one time, this balcony could be accessed at both ends, but the doors have subsequently been sealed. In the master bathroom, the wall facing the balcony is mirrored, with a sealed window set in. The four mirrored facets within the window niche bring into play reflections that change with the light. Unfortunately, the bay views have long since been obscured by tall buildings on either side of Hearst Avenue.

Quarter-circle rooflets protect the former doors to the second-floor balcony (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2004)

Photos: Daniella Thompson, 2004

A second bathroom serves the two smaller bedrooms. This room is larger than the master bath, containing a tub. Pink tile covers every surface, including the ceiling. One longitudinal wall is entirely mirror-lined, magnifying the room’s appearance. All the fixtures are identical to those in the master bathroom.

Part One: The Ground Floor

Part Two: The Stairwell

Part Four: Joe Harris at Home

Part Five: Description of the House in 1936


The Joseph W. Harris House was designated a City of Berkeley Landmark on 21 June 1976. It is listed in the California State Historic Resources Inventory.

See also: Call Me Joe/House of Harris store



Copyright © 2004–2011 Daniella Thompson. All rights reserved.