Last week I was in love with a modern, mirrored box, in the hills above artsy San Miguel de Allende in Mexico, and this week my must have is a stunning 106-year-old cottage in the hills above artsy Berkeley, California.
And even better, the Ericsson-Bray House, an historic Arts and Crafts home is up for sale … for the first time in 106 years! To be fair, it’s not at all the same cottage, built by designer-builder Carl Ericsson, it was back then, having undergone several renovations and add-ons by architect John Hudson Thomas—brother of original owner Nora Bray—in 1921 and 1929. According to the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association, the home’s living room, dining area, kitchen, and stairwell were part of Ericsson’s original floor plan, while Thomas later extended the entry hall and added both a library and a bedroom in 1921. Thomas returned to the home in 1929 to oversee the addition of a piano alcove and conservatory off the living area, as well as the addition of a "secret" gable room above the conservatory, accessible from two of the original upstairs bedrooms.
The entryway opens to the living room on one side and library; in the living room, a large hearth features original clinker bricks and a solid redwood mantle, with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the backyard garden; and, as it is throughout the house, original features include redwood boxed beam ceilings and board-and-batten paneling, as well as vintage light fixtures and door hardware.
The conservatory retains many original features, including natural, gray-toned stucco walls that match the exterior of the home, and connects to the dining area, which comes complete with built-ins and vintage light fixtures. The kitchen features original cabinetry, as well as a vintage stovetop and modern appliances. Above the sink is a beveled-glass bay window, and in the corner next to the refrigerator are stairs that lead to the lower level.
Upstairs there are 3 spacious bedrooms and one bathroom. A carved wood, high gabled room with various charming built-ins: desk, twin bed and ladder leading to an attic storage space, bring to mind an English turn of the century cottage. The basement level has a bedroom, bathroom and laundry and connects to the garden on the south and to the garage on the north.
A rear view of the home shows how portions of the original shingle cottage merge with the stuccoed additions. A covered outdoor area extends from the lower level and connects to the multilevel backyard garden where raised vegetable beds rest on an elevated portion of the garden.
In total, the residence now offers five bedrooms and two full bathrooms spread out across over 3,000 square feet and three levels. The property is secluded on a charming tree-lined street in Berkeley’s Northside neighborhood and can be had for just $1,450,000.