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The Essence of Home: Living in a Work of Art*
Located in North Berkeley among architecturally significant homes, and prominently sited at 1325 Arch Street, is a Swiss Chalet-style house designed by Bernard Maybeck in 1907, originally named Semper Virens, but more commonly known as both The Albert Schneider House and The Kroeber House. This home exemplifies Maybeck’s artistic vision as an architect. Shielded from the street, a wisteria-covered arbor greets you as you enter a truly exquisite home with stunning design elements that pay homage to its rich history.
This five-bedroom, three and one-half bath home has been cherished by its owners, who all felt privileged to live in this unique treasure. Spaces for gathering and other rooms for private contemplation blend throughout. Filled with the brilliance of its heritage and the beauty of natural materials, it has been restored with exceptional attention to its lustrous originality while blending modern features and amenities. Broad graceful bracketed eaves and Swiss scroll-sawn wooden balconies and decks look out onto San Francisco and Golden Gate views.
You enter the living and dining room, in which exquisitely refinished redwood interiors glow as the sun shines through, lending the space a warm, intimate energy, a welcoming harbinger of the beauty yet to come. The upstairs shared common room is enhanced by a light-filled glass ceiling, with an adjoining sunporch with enveloping glass windows that evoke the feeling of being in a treehouse. There are three bedrooms on the second floor: The principal bedroom has an en-suite bath and beautiful views of San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Bridge, and Mt. Tam, and opens onto a balcony, to further accentuate these awe-inspiring vistas.
The feeling of union with the environment can be experienced throughout the house. The suppleness of the wood, anchored with copper nails, can best be appreciated as the sun flows in through the many windows and doors that link this home to the serene outside areas. The flourishing garden offers a private portal to the flora and fauna of the surrounding landscape, one of the cornerstones of Maybeck’s creative conceptualization. It stands out as a stunning specimen of the architect’s principled consideration of nature as a springboard for designs that enhance, rather than subdue, the organic elements around it.
Accessible proximity to shops and restaurants, as well as UC Berkeley, BAMPFA, the Berkeley Rose Garden and Codornices Park, this is a home that will charm and inspire its future occupants. In the words of the late poet and novelist Ursula K. LeGuin — daughter of Alfred and Theodora Kroeber, renowned American anthropologists — who grew up in this remarkable home: “If I recall my childhood, I recall that house. It is where everything happened. It is where I happened.”… “Writing this, I wonder if much of my understanding of what a novel ought to be was taught to me, ultimately, by living in that house. If so, perhaps all my life I have been trying to rebuild it around me out of words.”*
This architectural jewel, so prized and adored by each of its prior owners, is awaiting the buyer who can truly appreciate its unique value. The opportunity to obtain this home is an incredible gift to give yourself.
* Used with permission of the Ursula K. LeGuin Literary Trust. Ursula Le Guin wrote “Living in a Work of Art” in 2007 for the periodical called Paradoxa.
** Wilson, Mark Anthony , Bernard Maybeck: Architect of Elegance , Gibbs Smith, 2011. Pgs. 19,85-88
***Neither Sellers nor Listing Agent has verified the accuracy of any of these sources of information.
Features and Amenities: Exterior and General
~Original landscaping designed by John McLaren – who developed and supervised the creation of Golden Gate Park
~Wrap-around front balcony with Golden Gate/SF view
~Exterior of the home: Sawcut redwood boards
~One-car garage at street level
~Balconies and decks
~Ground level covered patio opening to back
~Sixteen doors that open to the outdoors
~Light fixtures glisten and add to the sensuous feeling that pervades
~Interior walls and ceilings: Redwood on two main levels of home
~Living room and formal dining room each have gas fireplaces and rebuilt chimneys, built-in inglenook, bookcase, cabinetry and access through doors to the garden, and balconies and decks.
~Updated eat-in galley-style kitchen: 2 sinks-farmhouse style, concrete counters, pantry, ½ bath, Subzero under-counter refrigerators/freezer, 48” Wolf gas range with dual convection ovens, Bosch dishwasher
~Pantry with Moroccan-style tiles
~One-half bath with Moroccan tiles and beautifully painted ceiling
~Bedroom with built-ins and whimsical Moroccan-style closet doors
~Lower level media room/guest suite or art studio with closet space
~Concrete floors with radiant heat and double glass paned doors that open to a spacious patio
~Bathroom with shower over tub
~Temperature-controlled wine cellar with storage for approximately 1000 bottles
~ Primary bedroom with Golden Gate and San Francisco views and ensuite updated bath
~Centrally-located intimate family room with glass ceiling
~Sunporch with wraparound glass windows
~Two additional bedrooms
~Bathroom with shower
~Balcony overlooking back garden
~ Attic conveniently located and accessed by stairway from back bedroom
~Back staircase is adjacent to kitchen, leads to upper bedroom level
~Staircase leads down to media room/guest suite office
~ Primary staircase to upper level - off of living room and dining room
~ Solar-voltaic electric system installed by Tesla/Solar City
~Main Floor:Forced air
~Second Floor:Builtin electric
~Ground Floor: Radiant heat
Viewings by appointment only following all Cal Osha and Alameda County Guidelines and in compliance with Covid 19 Protocols for sanitizing, masking and social distancing.
Contact Helene Barkin
Home to one of the most prestigious universities in the country, Berkeley offers the intellectual and cultural stimulation from its campus -- which is within walking distance of downtown. Many Berkeley neighborhoods were established in the 1920s, with quiet, tree-lined streets, brown-shingled homes, and lushly landscaped yards. The North Berkeley Hills is where many architect designed homes and public buildings are found by the likes of Bernard Maybeck, Henry Gutterson, John Hudson Thomas and Julia Morgan. These are not far from the campus and shops and restaurants. In Thousand Oaks, the original developers preserved ancient oak trees and left rock outcroppings intact. Elmwood, with its thriving business district, remains one of the city’s most sought-after neighborhoods. In Claremont, the Claremont Hotel, a gleaming white Victorian-era landmark, has provided generations of Bay Area residents with a luxurious getaway.
Berkeley has long been at the forefront of culinary innovation. Locals flock to the original Peet’s Coffee & Tea location. For residents who like to savor their meals at home, small retail districts sprinkled throughout Berkeley allow them to shop like Europeans, going from store to store to purchase everything they need. Those in a hurry can always visit major grocery stores nearby.
Neighborhood green spaces abound throughout Berkeley, from small community gardens to the Berkeley Rose Garden -- which boasts more than 3,000 rose bushes. The gem of the area is 2,000-acre Tilden Regional Park, with its miles of biking and hiking trails and the naturally landscaped swimming hole at Lake Anza.