Open House Obsession: Sean Gaston Gives A Berkeley Classic Some Sparkle, $2M


Where: 164 Hill Road, Berkeley
When: Sunday, March 19th and March 26 from 2:00pm-4:30pm, both days
Asking: $1,986,000
What: Berkeley is a trove of handsome Modernist homes built in the the 1950s and ‘60s, the result of a postwar building boom and an intellectual climate that favored Modernism. In amongst the classic Tudors and Arts + Crafts gems that Berkeley is famous for, the hillsides are dotted with examples by great architects like William Wurster and Richard Neutra, others designed by faculty of the architecture school at Berkeley, and ranging from modest to luxe. With the past decade’s resurgence in interest in Mid-Century Modern, these homes have become ever more sought-after.

Sean Gaston and the firm of Bee Renovated have been serially renovating in Berkeley at the rate of one or two properties a year (in addition to projects in Palm Springs) bringing new life to Mid-Century houses and delivering them move-in ready. This 5-bed, 4-bath, 2-story home on a slopng lot is their latest collaboration, and it is exceptional.

According to Sean, this one was really tired. To infuse it with a more Mid-Century vibe, he designed the concrete block fireplace and hearth in the spirit of houses he’d seen in Palm Springs, as well as the black laquered screen between the entry and the dining area. There are new floors throughout in addition to the expected seismic and systems upgrades.

The kitchen is a deft interplay of dark and light, with a wall of outscale black matte porcelain tile and another of black shiplap paneling contrasting with the white cabinets. It’s big enough for seating and a dining area, and there’s a deck just outside.

On the main floor, a serene master suite and bath. There’s another bedroom on the main level and three more on the lower level.

What We Love: The high-ceilinged lower level was the original 1950 structure, with the current main level added about a decade later, and so it’s accessible from the street and opens to the back yard. Now transformed into a sophisticated space, it’s not your usual suburban rec room.

More: Check out the listing for additional images and details. Below, one of the upper level decks and a view of the Bay.