Open House Report, SF: An Astounding Little Craftsman House in Berkeley

If you've only got time for one open house this weekend. this almost-untouched little redwood cottage on Ashby Avenue in the Elmwood neighborhood gets our vote.

2821 Ashby Avenue, Berkeley, $729K
Built in 1907 and almost untouched since, this Craftsman Style cottage hasn't been on the market in five decades, and yes, it needs some serious updating, but at least you won't have to rip our someone else's misguided attempts. While there's no indication from the realtor who the architect might have been, the carpenters of this 4-bed, 1.5-bath house deserve some credit as well.

Inside, box beams, paneling and built-in cabinets in redwood, from trees we'll never see the likes of again, and two pantries— on serving the dining room, and another with a vintage icebox from a time when ice was delivered in blocks by a man with a horse and cart. Three fireplaces, and in addition to two bedrooms down, there are two wonderful rooms upstairs, although it may be tough to squeeze another bath up there.

On a quiet bit of Ashby Avenue (between College & Claremont) the house is roughly equidistant from the Ashby and Rockridge BART stops, and although it lacks a garage, there is a discreet parking pad and curb cut out front. The back yard is ready for some landscaping (or chickens) and has a tiny redwood cottage of its own. There's a dedicated site with photos to whet your appetite. As for other appetites, the house is a nice walk to our favorite East Bay restaurant— The Wood Tavern— and food shops on College Avenue. And an even shorter walk to the great swim club at the Claremont Hotel to work off the results. Open Sunday, March 25 from 2pm to 4pm.

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