A five-bedroom home in Berkeley designed by Julia Morgan, the U.S.’s first successful female architect, whose works included Hearst Castle, sold for $3.9 million, more than $1 million over asking.
Built in 1920, the house at 33 Eucalyptus Road totals about 3,200 square feet and is in the East Bay city’s Claremont neighborhood, which consists primarily of grand, expensive homes. The property hit the market on Feb. 23 and had been asking just under $2.7 million, according to its Zillow listing. The sale closed on March 21, said The Grubb Company’s Anja Plowright, who co-listed it with realtor Colette Ford, in an interview.
“There seems to be a great appetite for homes in the East Bay, more so than ever before,” Plowright said. Homebuyer demand in the region, particularly in Berkeley and the “good areas” of Oakland, is up almost 20 percent over the last year, she said. The Eucalyptus Road home is “part of that trend.”
Prospective homebuyers overbidding by $1 million has become a regular occurrence, Plowright said. “It’s becoming increasingly clear that the market continues to go up almost every month.”
The buyers are a pair of Oakland residents, according to the Alameda County Clerk-Recorder’s Office’s online database. One is a freelance art director and graphic designer, according to their personal website, while the other has created a design tool for digital cutting machines that’s in open beta. Plowright declined to speak on behalf of the buyers, neither of whom responded to requests for comment.
The seller — a family who’d owned the estate for almost 50 years — put it on the market after the mother died and the son, who lives in the South Bay, wasn’t in a position to move to Berkeley, she said.
The two-story home is one of more than 700 residences, churches, offices and educational buildings designed by Morgan during the first half of the 20th century. She’s the first woman to receive an architect’s license in California and is best known for designing Hearst Castle, newspaper publisher William Randolph Heart’s 165-room estate overlooking the village of San Simeon that’s now one of the state’s most popular tourist attractions. She also oversaw the restoration of San Francisco’s Fairmont Hotel after it was damaged during the city’s great 1906 earthquake and fire.
Her designs, featuring tall, arched windows and detailing around roof lines and entryways, have a “regal and old-world feeling about them” that are well-suited for single-family homes, Plowright said. “They’re very livable spaces that are also elegant, symmetric and have a European flavor to them.”
The Eucalyptus Road home is on less than a quarter acre and offers two-and-a-half bathrooms and panoramic views of the San Francisco Bay, according to The Grubb Company’s sale listing. It’s about two miles south of UC Berkeley’s campus and a mile from a BART station, and has a basement with laundry and garden rooms and a workshop.