This stunning home in the hills of North Berkeley is located at 2330 Vine Street.  It was originally conceived as a dance studio for the Marston family in 1930, but went far beyond that simple conception, as seen above.  

It reflects the elegant  living space of Elizabethan and early Tudor designs where a great hall was the centerpiece of the home, and guests moved freely from one portion to another, often with a great table against a far wall for dining, and satellite tables around the room.

  Large crossbeams support the high vaulted ceiling, and the Elizabethan construction is reflected here with a brick lower level supporting half-timbered upper walls.  

A reverse perspective illustrates the expanse of this dramatic space that is further enhanced with a stunning central chandelier, and a full length wall of floor to ceiling windows that reveal the gracious formal gardens just outside. 

In its original construction, the far arched open space was probably the stage upon which dancers would perform to this hall of appreciative attendees.  

This distinctive window, with its graceful central arch is composed of small artfully placed mullioned windows, which are the cornerstone of this style of architecture.  

This spectacular, and gracefully curved exterior of the home anchors the stunning gardens in the rear of the residence.   While they are perfect for entertaining and holiday parties, they are equally perfect as a soothing private retreat. 

The front entrance to the home is surrounded by a garden, and the distinctive peaked front entry is topped with a handsome carriage lamp.  

Upon entering the home, the architecture once again reveals it historical roots.  A sturdy entryway with a thick wooden door and large peephole was a standard requirement in its time.  

Upon entry, guests are immediately made aware of the immense brick fireplace at the far end of the room.  With a set of side doors for firewood and tools, it represents yet another characteristic of an Elizabethan great hall, as does the balcony above it.   

Most of the great halls required a musician's. loft.  Here music would be played for the enjoyment of the guests below.  Currently, the spot could become a quiet library or office space.  

The far opposite of the room reveals this peaked half-timbered entry  into the dining room.  A truly stunning set of floral stencils above the entry was created by Janette Spencer.  

As indicated earlier, this residence was originally conceived as a dance studio, but has since been adapted to use as a private home.  As such, it offers 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom for its residents.  The kitchen is small, but efficient, and includes a refrigerator, gas range cooktop, and a floor to ceiling china cabinet.   

A gracious bedroom offers so many subtle amenities, all of which create a tranquil sanctuary.  A corner placement of multiple mullioned windows create a perfect bench seat site.  The soft deep golden colors of the hardwood floor contrast handsomely with the dark wall trim all around the room.  

A unique and appealing personal fireplace adds to the charm of this room, as does the continuation of the half-timbering to the right.  A bathroom is just to the left. 

This outstanding home is truly stunning, and part of Berkeley's architectural history.   It was designed by Eldridge "Ted" Spencer, and would be a daily treasure to own.  Please call me with your questions and interest at 510-517-6280.  The residence is being offered for sale for $1,695,000.  

(Listing Courtesy of Nancy Lehrkind of The Grubb Company)  

Posted by Bruce Wagg on


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