Canyon repose. Photo: Matthew Millman Photography
‘Canyon repose’: a Berkeley home that had been “remodeled one too many times.” Photo: Matthew Millman Photography
‘Canyon repose’: a Berkeley home that had been “remodeled one too many times.” Photo: Matthew Millman Photography

Three Berkeley homes are featured on the American Institute of Architects’ fifth East Bay home tour on Saturday Aug. 8, along with two in Oakland and one in Piedmont.

The title for the tour — a chance to peek inside some of the area’s most beautiful, architect-designed homes — is “Thread of History in Bay Area Modernism,” so it’s no surprise that four of the six homes on the tour are not new. In fact, one was originally built in 1937, and three of the others in, respectively, 1948, 1957 and 1962.

One of the three Berkeley homes, designed by Kuth Ranieri Architects, showcases the 2014 renovation of a home, owned by a pair of scientists, tucked into a hill at the base of Claremont Canyon (pictured top). The home had been remodeled at least one too many times, according to AIA East Bay. Working with Berkeley-based Jetton Construction, each space was carefully considered to maximize its connection to the landscape outside, while maintaining privacy from the street. The result is a comfortable family home at one with its surroundings.

A ‘courtyard retreat’ designed by Anderson Anderson Architecture. Photo Anthony Vizzari Photography
A ‘courtyard retreat’ designed by Anderson Anderson Architecture. Photo Anthony Vizzari Photography

In another Berkeley neighborhood, Anderson Anderson Architecture built a new home on the footprint of a mid-century home originally designed by Henry Hill, but tragically destroyed by fire. Home to a family that has lived on the Berkeley site for four generations, the new house wraps around a central courtyard allowing the outdoor space to be shielded from the strong hillside winds, while taking full advantage of the site’s natural beauty and panoramic views.

Meanwhile, in North Berkeley, Studio Bergtraun oversaw a ‘frame-to-finish’ makeover of a 1950s home on a hillside lot designed by Walter Ratcliff. Talking about the house’s transformation to a livable, appealing contemporary home, AIA East Bay writes: “The owners, a pair of anthropologists whose children are nearly grown, developed an appreciation for the style and history of the house throughout the process. When they discovered it had originally been built for another pair of anthropologists, they felt a deep affinity for the spirit of the place and worked to rekindle its original spark.”

Midcentury makeover by Studio Bergtraun of a Walter Ratcliff home. Photo: Treve Johnson Photography

AIA East Bay says the homes chosen for this year’s tour emphasize “landscape connections, light, views and carefully detailed materials.” Each home also expresses the influence of its owner and his or her personal collaboration with the architect.

The AIA East Bay self-guided tour is on Saturday Aug. 8, 10am-4:30pm, rain or shine. The architect for each house will be on-site for questions and discussion. Tickets are $50 ($60 day-of) and may be purchased online at, at the AIA office in downtown Oakland, 1405 Clay Street or, on the day of the tour, at the Bica Coffeehouse, 5701 College Ave. in Rockridge. Tickets can be picked up at AIA East Bay or at the Bica Coffeehouse on the day of the tour.

Four stunning homes on East Bay architecture tour (08.01.14)
Berkeley architects, homes on East Bay home tour (08.08.13)
Lovingly restored mid-century modern opens doors on tour (10.16.12)
Three Berkeley homes featured on East Bay architecture tour (07.30.12)
David Stark Wilson: Design rooted in the great outdoors (07.12.12)
Berkeley buildings are winners in architecture awards (05.03.12)
Five Berkeley homes feature on new architecture tour (07.25.11)

Want to know what else is going on in Berkeley and nearby? Visit Berkeleyside’s new-look Events Calendar. Submit your own events for free if they aren’t there already — and give them featured status for as little as $10 a day.

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...