May 302014

“Pick of the Week” is a home I’ve recently toured in person which I believe makes for a great buy based on its status as a Great Home Design in a Great Location for a Great Price!

6624 Saroni Drive Oakland

Hello friends,

Okay, wow! Let’s begin by stating that this custom home built in 1959 is a product of the illustrious architect Beverly Thorne, who by the way is most famous locally for building the “Brubeck House” just five years prior for famous jazz pianist Dave Brubeck and his wife Iola. For their home it was an idea that developed after they used a war bond that Dave’s dad had purchased for him to buy a piece of land on Heartwood Avenue in Oakland’s Montclair hills in the late 1940s. In 1954 the Brubeck home became somewhat of a sensation among the architecture critics of the time and Beverly Thorne had come to find fame as an architect early in his career. In fact, Ed Sullivan actually did one of his shows from the house! Check out this article in the jazz website for some pretty interesting stories told by Mr. Thorne himself. And for more, check out this one in, which expands more on his work locally. Using some of the modern construction techniques, particularly utilizing steel I-beams and cantilevers, Thorne’s designs had a strikingly modern and dramatic appearance to them. And by attaching his structures by the use of these huge steel I-beams to bedrock and to outcroppings in these hillside home sites many of the challenges of hillside construction could be overcome. Another particular feature of the Thorne home is the cantilever, which uses the strength of an I-beam and a counterweight on one end to enable the other end to extend out a long distance, unsupported from underneath. It’s a fantastic design element that especially stands out in homes with great views from the hills where grand balconies or even entire wings of homes can be built upon these extensions. And in this wonderful 5bd/2ba home on Saroni the use of the I-beam and the cantilever are both well represented as both a product of the era and of this individual architect as well. But without going into too much overkill on each an every design element for this one I think I’d rather just point out how walking through felt like visiting an architecture school or museum. I immediately noted the primary horizontal I-beams, as one passes right by their enormity as you walk down the stairs to enter the home’s front door. But beneath them, and in the space outside the front door is this lovely patio shaded by the parking deck at the street level which on a hot day (as Thursday’s tour day was) this shady spot felt just as pleasant as could be. And being around 15×15 or so it was big enough to set up a nice arrangement of outdoor furniture and really enjoy the space. Inside the feeling was open and full of light. The large back deck beckoned despite the heat, and peering around I was reminded of my own architecture classes in college and found myself feeling buoyed just by being there. As was the custom of the era, the kitchen is set apart— which is a departure from our current era with exposed kitchens— but the living and dining were open to one another and a slidable rice paper partition separated the study/office from this room. Just a beautiful environment on this main level with the family’s spacious living quarters down below. And while this one may strike some as in need of some cosmetic updating there is no question that anyone with an appreciation of architecture in general, but most specifically mid-century I-beam and cantilevered residential architecture, will see the wonder of this home on Saroni. Huge thumbs up for this one! You can see it yourself this Sunday, or of course just contact me for an appointment!

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 Posted by at 11:08 am