54 Vicente Road
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Sweeping panoramic and Bay Views from this Modernist Masterpiece
Set in the lower Claremont Hills on an expansive lot within a short walk to shopping and coffee, this 5-bedroom / 5.5-bath property is an expression of utmost luxury and exclusivity. Designed by famed Bay Area architect David Stark Wilson, the home is perfectly situated for maximum privacy, comfort and enjoyment. Designed in absolute harmony with its surrounding nature, it has soaring ceilings, beautiful detailing and perfectly combines industrial and natural materials with precision and poetry. A most unique property for distinguished buyers.
This dramatic home with its saturated colors, pitched roof lines and vaulted ceilings, is comprised of three separate structures, two of which are connected by a glass hallway separating public from private rooms. This transparent breezeway allows for views out to the courtyards and the San Francisco Bay. Built around a stunning courtyard with a pool, spa and several seating areas overlooking the view, the courtyard acts as an outdoor living space and is perfect for entertaining, relaxing and enjoying the Bay Area’s almost year-round spring-like climate.
Enter the main house up a generous granite cobble stone driveway through a striking stainless-steel hinged door into a dramatic 2-story dining, living and kitchen area. The vaulted living room with its polished concrete floors, walls of integrally colored plaster and a bamboo ceiling panels that have exposed hardware and add a geometric industrial touch. From the dining area, floor to ceiling windows open to the view and the outdoor seating areas. The masterfully designed kitchen is built around a large central island that features state of the art appliances, gorgeous vistas and is flanked by a spacious walk-in pantry, laundry area and adjoining office space. A spacious wine cellar is temperature and humidity controlled.
The second wing serves as sleeping quarters with the master bedroom and bathroom on the second floor. A deck off the master suite affords sweeping views of the bay and San Francisco and was designed to make it harder to see into the bedroom windows. A lavish master bath with concrete countertops, walk-in shower and beautiful tilework overlooks the olive grove. Several additional bedrooms and a guest suite each have their own en-suite bath. A cozy family room is perfect for relaxing.
The third structure, a spacious 3-car garage with a luxurious apartment above. Perfect for guests or staff, the apartment has its own kitchen and sweeping views of the Bay.
Breaking the home into “wings” allowed the architect to create two distinct courtyards – one that is protected and the other that is open to the wind and breezes of the Bay. The raised rectangular pool jets out between the structures as a water feature towards the Bay and casts wonderful reflections on the walls of the surrounding structures for a constant sense of movement. On the inside courtyard, the lines of the pool are echoed by the rectangular solar heated spa that has a more private and protected setting.
Countless custom details throughout the home are magnificently conceived and masterfully executed by accomplished craftsmen. The stainless-steel front gate has cutouts of the buildings H-shaped floor plan. The striking custom walnut cabinetry throughout the house was milled from a single walnut tree with a particularly picturesque grain. Exposed concrete walls and heath tiles throughout create a wonderful combination of industrial and natural materials. Numerous skylights bring in an abundance of natural light throughout the house. On the outside, red steel columns support the pitched roofs of each structure and create a distinct rhythm in contrast to the home’s solid zinc shingles.
In addition to his masterful design, Wilson also incorporated many energy saving features such as cellulose insulation in the walls and a geothermal system that is perfect for heating and cooling, depending on the season. The home is built with two separate solar energy systems for the home’s electricity, heating and for the pool and hot tub. The Lutron shades are automated throughout the house in accordance with the location of the sun and the lighting and security system can be altered and controlled easily.
The landscaping of the expansive lot echoes the architectural character of the home with repetitive rows of tall grasses and a large orchard of olive trees. By giving the landscaping a rigorous geometry, the plantings are as architecturally compelling as well as drought and fire resistant. The outdoor BBQ area has a luxurious cooking and grilling station for entertaining “al fresco” dining. The environment, local and global, was never far from the architect’s mind.
A unique luxury property for the most distinguished buyer in one of the Bay Area’s best locations close to everything.
- "California Cool - Residential Modernism Reborn" by Russell Abraham, The Images Publishing Group, and
- Metropolitan Home of June 2008
54 Vicente Road is located in the coveted Claremont neighborhood, which straddles the Berkeley and Oakland borders and features lush landscaping, curving streets that hug the canyon hills, and open space. Homes on the leafy side streets provide old-fashioned Berkeley elegance, with turn-of-the-century brown shingles, revivals, prairie-, custom contemporary-, and Tudor-styled structures offering residents a place to call home within the landscaped confines. The landmark of this area is the majestic and nearby Claremont Hotel Club & Spa, a vast Victorian edifice perched on 22 acres in the hills. Three outdoor pools, 10 tennis courts, a full-service spa, a fitness club, and three onsite restaurants deliver stunning views, and the resort has become popular with generations of locals as a luxurious getaway.
Elmwood's shopping district on College Avenue in Berkeley offers old-fashioned shops, access to the Rockridge Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), grocery stores, bookshops, and flower stands. Restaurants, a movies theater, and a bakery are all a short walk away. The Claremont Canyon Regional Preserve is 208 acres of open space managed by the East Bay Regional Park District and more than 200 acres outside of the canyon owned by the University of California, Berkeley. Garber Park, a 13-acre oak-and-bay-tree woodland south of Claremont Avenue, is owned by the city of Oakland. Trails reward ambitious hikers with panoramic views of San Francisco Bay.