A Donald Olsen–Designed Midcentury Seeks $1.7M in Berkeley, CA

The Berkeley Hills home underwent a thoughtful renovation by the current owners, an architect couple—one of whom is a former student of Olsen’s.

Property Details:

Location: 735 Cragmont Avenue, Berkeley, California

Price: $1,695,000

Year built: 1956

Architect: Donald Olsen

Footprint: 1,798 square feet (three bedrooms, two baths)

Lot size: 5,934 square feet

From the agent: "Architect Donald Olsen was a disciple of the founder of the Bauhaus School, Walter Gropius, and designed 735 Cragmont in 1956 at the peak of his artistic career. His strict adherence to crisp iconic modular white buildings stood apart from fellow architects designing in the Bay Area tradition, whose houses mostly featured rustic natural woods. Modest and at the same time monumental, Olsen’s dedication to planning, efficiency, natural light, and visual framing of the adjacent landscape, create a magical home. Watch the lights of San Francisco as the fog rolls in through the Golden Gate Bridge and envelopes the area below. Surrounded by an expansive garden in front and an intimate garden in the rear, this house is a treasure to be lived in."

Prominent midcentury Bay Area architect Donald Olsen designed the single-family home at 735 Cragmont Avenue in the Berkeley Hills neighborhood in 1956.

"The sellers are both architects, and one was a student of Olsen’s in the 1970s," says the listing agent. 

Walls of glass converge at a triangular point in the home’s entry vestibule, which features red Heath tile floors. "The glass vestibule was added in the 1970s, but was actually designed by Olsen," says the listing agent. 

A staircase with Douglas fir treads leads to the second floor.

Large, slanted skylights above the stairwell funnel light into the space.

The main living level incorporates clerestory windows and oak hardwood floors throughout.

The kitchen, remodeled by the current owners, includes cork floors, marble countertops, Ikea cabinets, a Samsung refrigerator and oven, Zephyr hood, and a Bosch dishwasher. A wall that once separated the kitchen and dining room was removed in favor of a walnut surround.

A Pablo Swell pendant hangs above the open dining area.

The spacious living room includes a fireplace and built-in bookshelves.

The primary bedroom enjoys access to a private deck and a lush rear garden. Globe pendants are featured throughout the home, most of which are original.

A remodeled bathroom favors crisp-white finishes.

A west-facing deck highlights sweeping views of the  Bay Bridge, Golden Gate Bridge, and downtown San Francisco.

The midcentury home spans 1,798 square feet and features three bedrooms and two baths.

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