Located just across the water from San Francisco, the East Bay—including the cities of Oakland, Berkeley, and Emeryville—is a much sunnier, spacious counterpart to its foggy sister city. Here are 8 bright, modern retreats from our pages.
In the East Bay, it's all about the views to the City. A butterfly-roof pavilion by architects Kate Simonen, Benjamin Parco, and Phil Kaefer connects to a low-slung home Joseph Esherick designed in 1954 via two covered walkways and an open-air tearoom. All three structures sit lightly on the landscape designed by Lawrence Halprin and updated over 50 years later by Gary Roth, a former employee. In the living room, which Esherick sited to maximize views, are Jean Prouvé Cité chairs. Photo by Caren Alpert.
On a quaint, tree-lined street in Berkeley, California, architect Sarah Deeds of Deeds Design and carpenter John McBride placed a 120-square-foot office/art studio near their main house, a renovated 1906 Victorian, on a 3,100-square-foot lot. “It’s like a little fort,” says Deeds.The studio’s redwood siding was milled from trees salvaged from a road-widening project in Sonoma County, California. Photo by Lenny Gonzalez.
First came the idea. Then came the late nights of Craigslist searching. And then it happened quickly: a trip to a derelict horse ranch in the Salinas Valley, an exchange of cash in an old barn, and a harrowing towing adventure up Highway 101 netted a 1959 Airstream travel trailer. The Airstream is tucked into the back garden of a Berkeley co-op. Photo by Mark Compton.
A 1,100-square-foot loft in the historic Bester Building, a former steam-engine factory in Emeryville, California, is updated with a customized storage unit in the middle of the space. Photo by Drew Kelly.
With a sleek prototype in Emeryville, California, under its belt, Simpatico Homes sets out to redefine prefab's cost—and footprint. Photo by Jake Stangel.
When San Francisco–based architect Christi Azevedo and her partner bought an investment property in Oakland, what was billed in real estate listings as a 'detached garage' turned out to be a carriage house that dated from 1908. After purchasing the house, Azevedo converted the 360-square-foot carriage house. Says Azevedo, "With the added help of my electrician brother, Craig—and many beers and Saturdays—we tricked this former pigeon roost into a modern loft."
Stephen Shoup is the kind of person to see potential in things that others might miss. In 2005, looking for a property that would house himself and his design/build firm, building Lab inc., he happened upon a roughly 6,000-square-foot lot in north Oakland, California. Undeterred by the condition of the building, he imagined what the property could become. Two converted shipping containers now house offices for Shoup’s design/build firm. “Perhaps the most successful aspect of turning this into a place to live and an office rather than just have this shop space was moving it towards real indoor-outdoor living,” he says. Taya Shoup, a landscape designer, has refined her husband’s vision for the property with a courtyard and plantings. Photo by building Lab inc.
Perfectly content in San Francisco, the Pfeiffers couldn't help falling in love with a charming mid-century house, across the Bay in Oakland, with stunning views, plenty of trees, and a murky past. Luke channels Jimi on the concrete floor of the open living and dining room. Photo by Mark Seelen.