An Architect’s Idyllic Midcentury Perch in Berkeley Wants $1.05M

An Architect’s Idyllic Midcentury Perch in Berkeley Wants $1.05M

By Kathryn M.
As a plus, architect and current owner Jim Orjala added a nifty studio beneath a towering oak.

A recently listed gem in Berkeley, California, offers panoramic views, wood details galore, and a detached, tree house–like writing cottage. Originally designed by architect Judd Boynton, the midcentury residence sits atop Panoramic Hill, a historic neighborhood notable for its cluster of homes by Bernard Maybeck, Frank Lloyd Wright, Harwell Hamilton Harris, and Julia Morgan, among may others.

The main entrance opens into a gallery complete with slate flooring and cherry built-ins. Both this space and the master bedroom at the end were added to the original midcentury structure.

The gallery also opens into a large living area—an original portion of the home designed by architect Judd Boynton in 1950. More built-ins flank both sides of the wood-burning fireplace.

Fittingly, this particular property is itself a collaboration of architects, including Boynton, as well as current owner Jim Orjala of the award-winning firm Orjala Architecture. Original portions of the 70-year-old structure have been renovated to incorporate contemporary finishes while still honoring Boynton’s intentions, including a gallery and bedroom extension designed by Lindy Small Architecture in 2000. In more recent years, Orjala built a backyard studio that he calls The Nest.

Another look at the living room. South-facing windows allow natural light to pour in while exposed rafters complement hardwood floors and wood paneling.

A dining area occupies a corner of the living area, adjacent to the kitchen. A doorway to the right leads to the guest bedroom downstairs.

The kitchen is brightened by a large skylight overhead. Updated appliances, cabinetry, and finishes provide contemporary conveniences.

Offering two bedrooms and two full bathrooms, the 1,544-square-foot home occupies a broad position along the .3-acre lot. Walls of windows extend along the entire front facade, providing views of Berkeley and the San Francisco Bay. The location is also within walking distance to the University of California at the bottom of the hill. Keep scrolling to see more of the property, currently listed for $1,050,000.

Editor’s Note (4/30/20): Lucky for the buyer and unlucky for us, the home has been sold. Window shoppers, read on.   

On the opposite side of the home, the master bedroom opens from the end of the front gallery. Both spaces were completed in 2000 by the Bay Area firm Lindy Small Architecture.

Exposed rafters, wood details, and other finishes provide visual cohesion between old and new sections of the home. Large windows overlook views of the lush surroundings.

Slate floors continue into the master bathroom, which is open to the bedroom. 

The deep soaking tub is surrounded by large windows that look out onto the private setting. A door provides direct access to a patio.

The spacious patio is shaded by several large, legacy live oak trees. Overlooking the area is The Nest, a detached writing and guest studio designed by architect and owner Jim Orjala.

The two-room structure is perched along the hilltop beneath the trees.

Inside, a writing area overlooks panoramic vistas. A small sleeping nook is located at the back.

Surrounded by a lush canyon, the .3-acre lot offers vistas of the San Francisco Bay.

Project Credits:

Architecture (The Nest): Orjala Architecture 

Architecture (Gallery & master suite): Lindy Small Architecture

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