The 3-bedroom home at 619 Vincente Ave. in Berkeley is for sale priced at $1.1m. Photo: Berkeley Homes/Pacific Union

The mid-century home for sale at 619 Vincente Ave. is of note for several reasons, but by far the most prominent one is the behemoth boulder which fronts the house in Berkeley’s Thousand Oaks neighborhood — as well as another one which takes pride of place inside the property’s garage.

Known as the Hellbaum House, the 3-bedroom, 2+-bathroom home, which is listed for $1.1 million, was designed and built by its original owner. One of its current owners grew up across the street and remembers as a child swinging on roller-skates from a swing in that same garage.

A giant rock protrudes into the home’s garage. Photo: Berkeley Homes/Pacific Union
A giant rock protrudes into the home’s garage. Photo: Berkeley Homes/Pacific Union

The home is interesting in other ways too. In Jonathan Chester’s book, Berkeley Rocks: Building With Nature (Ten Speed Press), it is mentioned for several of its innovative systems, including an elevator, which was fairly uncommon in Berkeley homes at the time, and a radiant heating system that operates through ceiling pipes.

The Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association has documented that for the structure, Hellbaum anchored the house on several I-beams from a bridge that he bought from Southern Pacific.

The living room includes a flagstone fireplace. Photo: Berkeley Homes/Pacific Union

Other features include the home’s distinctive rising tiers of Arizona flagstone walls and steps, its handmade bronze railings, the flagstone fireplace in the living room, and the garden built around yet more rocks.

The cabinetry in the Mad Men style kitchen was auto-shop painted and comes with chromed hardware, the two full bathrooms have their original naugahyde wall covering, and there’s a detached garden studio built of clear-heart redwood.

The kitchen cabinetry was auto-shop painted and comes with chromed hardware. Photo: Berkeley Homes/Pacific Union

The Hellbaum House at 619 Vincente Ave. is being sold by Ira Serkes at Pacific Union Christie’s International Real Estate. Visit their website for full details, and watch a video of the owner discussing the home on the Berkeley Homes website. The home is open on Sunday June 22, 2:00-4:30 pm.

Op-ed: Priced out of my own million dollar Berkeley block (05.02.14)
For sale: Berkeley home with a storied and colorful past (05.01.14)
Berkeley home with personality built for famed geologist (03.21.14)
Explosive downtown Berkeley housing boom underway (01.14.14)
Berkeley home prices soar… just don’t call it a bubble (06.20.13)

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Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...