There are questions over who the architect(s) are of the home at 170 Hillcrest Rd in Berkeley, which is listed at $1.3 million. Photo: Courtesy MLS

‘Questionable’ Julia Morgan home now pending sale

A two-bedroom home in Berkeley’s Claremont neighborhood that went on the market last month at $1.3 million, got unwelcome press recently. The home, at 170 Hillcrest Rd., is described as a “Craftsman home with exquisite façade, designed by Julia Morgan and Edna Deakin.” Julia Morgan, of course, was the prominent Bay Area architect who designed many local homes, as well as Hearst Castle. However, it seems she may have had no involvement with this Berkeley residence. The Chronicle quoted a (possibly exasperated) Daniella Thompson of the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association, saying: “I recall having refuted this Julia Morgan claim in the past, but those who want to believe will persist in believing. Julia Morgan did not collaborate with Edna Deakin. The building permit for 170 Hillcrest Road lists Edna Deakin alone as the architect.” This flap doesn’t seem to have deterred a potential buyer, however — the house has just been listed as “pending sale.”

Controversial Berkeley housing case makes national headlines

The home at 1310 Haskell St. which became the focal point of a long battle over building new housing in Berkeley. Image: Google Maps

A protracted housing debacle in Berkeley that played out over more than two years was picked up by the New York Times to illustrate a country-wide issue, namely how people living in single-family homes in residential neighborhoods often resist the construction of denser housing nearby. Berkeleyside first reported on the case of 1310 Haskell St. in March, after an application to replace one dilapidated home with three new ones triggered contentious debates, lawsuits and egg on the face of the city of Berkeley after its own attorney and a judge ruled against it. The author of the Times story, Conor Dougherty, acknowledged Berkeleyside and the importance of local journalism for his reporting, and that of others, in a tweet on Dec. 1, writing: “For all the competition, journalism is a shared enterprise. This story rests on the backs of great state & local reporting by @berkeleyside and @dillonliam (my alma mater @UTSanDiego and so many others.”

Building for density, even in Berkeley

1911 Ninth St. in West Berkeley. Photo: MLS

The brouhaha over the Haskell Street case (see above) shows what happens when obstacles are put in the way of density. But there are many examples, even in Berkeley, of multiple houses replacing single houses or being erected on vacant lots. Check out these two cases, both on Ninth Street in West Berkeley, where three new, architect-designed homes were built (and then sold) on a single lot: at 1911 Ninth St. (pictured above), and at 2008-2010 Ninth St.

Up for grabs: Mid-century home designed by Daniel Liebermann

Daniel Liebermann designed home at 200 Panoramic Way, listed at $3.8 million. Photo: Climb Real Estate

A stunning hillside home designed by noted architect Daniel Liebermann, at 200 Panoramic Way, has yet to find a buyer after 74 days on the market. The five-bedroom, five-bathroom, 5,598-square-foot home is listed at $3.8 million ($1.17 million up from when it last sold, in July 2007). The house includes many of Liebermann’s signature design elements, including being constructed on a radial frame with curving exterior walls, part of his penchant for “radial architecture.” Liebermann, who apprenticed with Frank Lloyd Wright, lived, most recently, on a compound in Inverness, and died in 2015. While the home oozes originality and beauty, it could do with a little TLC, according to Curbed SF, who wrote recently: “… recent additions, like halogen track lighting and (mortifying) vessel sinks, mean that this space is ripe for a gentle yet thoughtful restoration. But nothing too drastic, you hear? The foyer and staircase alone are worth the steep price tag.” Check out more photos of the home.

A curved staircase in the Daniel Liebermann-designed home at 200 Panoramic Way. Photo: Climb Real Estate
A bedroom at 200 Panoramic Way. Photo: Climb Real Estate
A bedroom at 200 Panoramic Way. Photo: Climb Real Estate

Don’t miss the Neighborhood Guides in Berkeleyside’s Real Estate section: from Albany to Uptown Oakland, these area profiles, curated by local real estate experts, include information on housing inventory, neighborhood hotspots, lifestyle, walkability and commutes.

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...