Leola Hall designed the 1909 Craftsman style brown-shingle house that is up for sale at 2806 Stuart Street in the Elmwood.
The three-bedroom, 1.5 bathroom home has lots of historic features including the original brick fireplace. It was last sold in March 2006 for $1,103,000 and — in a sign of the times — is now priced at $859,000. (A hearing is underway to seek a permit to make the home’s small backyard building habitable.)
The home’s listing agent has arranged a special open house this Saturday, July 24, 1-4pm, at which Inge Horton will talk on the life and times of Leola Hall during the open house. Inge Horton’s book, Early Women Architects of the San Francisco Bay Area will be published later this year.
Hall, not a qualified architect, had a style all of her own, although her designs were in keeping with the traditional Craftsman aesthetic. Dave Weinstein probably put it best, profiling her in the Chronicle in 2003:
Hall [built] scores of homes that today seem classically Berkeley – brown-shingled, with broad eaves and exposed rafter beams, looking as natural as the live oaks that shaded them.
Hall herself was classically Berkeley, an outspoken activist and suffragist, musician and painter, and her friends included writers and painters and professors. But, as well known as she was for her landscapes, portraits of Edwin Markham and David Starr Jordan, and political activism, Hall won more fame as a “girl architect.”
“I think you’re unusual, don’t you?” an interviewer for the San Francisco Call asked Hall in 1907. “I’ve known women to try all kinds of men’s work, but a girl who selects prospective bargains in real estate, who plans and builds her own houses and who sells them as quickly as you do, is really unique.”