Montclair is an area of Oakland above Highway 13 between Broadway Terrace and Park Boulevard, with properties built from the 1920's to new construction. The appeal is the woodsy setting and in many parts of Montclair you will get the feeling that you are away from it all, yet so close to the city vibe. 5687 Florence Terrace is a 3 bathroom, 2+ bedroom home, currently on the market for $698,000. The cool thing is you are only two blocks up from Mountain Boulevard which is a straight shot to Montclair Village, (a retail and restaurant district of this area), yet you feel like you are in a very private, lush nook. Set back from the street, with drought resistant perennials flowers and paver-stone hardscape this house is very striking and handsome. Once inside the three sets of french doors to the grand balcony will capture your heart. The simple and tasteful white decor is minimalist, meets Shabby Chic, meets East Coast beach house. The owners of this house have done tons of upgrades from structural improvements to fantastic cabinetry and this house is truly a move-in and hang your artwork house. This property has been renovated tastefully, yet it retains all of the essence of 1923 the year it was built, making it a must see.
Have you driven or walked by the corners of 11th and Broadway and 41st and Piedmont in Oakland and remarked about the murals that depict the Key System Stations that operated streetcars and bus lines throughout the East Bay (and a commuter rail and ferry to San Francisco) from 1903 until 1948 and wondered who this talented artist is in our midst? His name is Rocky Rische-Baird and this native of Northern California who splits his time between the Bay Area and the village of Putney, Vermont. Rische-Baird self describes his art as representative of the unity between nature, self and the idea that the human mind retains past memories. However it is interpreted, his art has an other-worldly quality that is mesmerizing and gives us a peek into Oakland’s unique history. Love them!
Wow, this week my son Miles is graduating from Redwood Heights Elementary School! Ten years ago, when my husband and I purchased our home in this neighborhood, I was so excited that my children would be attending my former school. I have been a Redwood Heights parent for the last nine years, kindergarten - 5th grade for both my daughter, Nia and son, Miles. I love my neighborhood, very down to earth, yet full of life. Recently Redwood Heights home prices took a slight dip in price, making this a great time to consider a move to this neighborhood.
This charming neighborhood, with a neighborhood association established in 1944, is the perfect place to purchase a home. From storybook Tudors to mid-century ranch homes and prices currently ranging between $550,000 - $750,000, this neighborhood is full of value. Redwood Heights residences like myself appreciate this satisfying community with Redwood Heights Elementary School and Recreation Center at the heart. I really enjoy the social nature of the neighborhood - it is common that folks wave to me as I am driving or walking during my daily chores.
Above you will see the newest addition to Redwood Heights Elementary, our retaining walls are now studded with a handcrafted mosaic mural the vision of neighbors and artists, Claudia Goodman - Hough and Pam Consear.
This summer enjoy the outdoors as the recreation center with “Movies in the Park” at dusk on select Fridays. Grab a sweater and a lawn chair and head over to 3883 Aliso Ave.
June 25 - The Wizard of Oz
July 9 - The Princess Bride
July 24 - Bolt
Residents participate in an annual Oaktown Scavenger Hunt put on by parents of Redwood Heights Elementary, just one of many community events hosted by Redwood Heights Elementary School parents.
Oakland is the home of amazing people, both past and present, and James and Henrietta Latham were no exception. James, a Wells Fargo representative and his wife Henrietta, had three children, Charles, Milton and Edith and were dedicated to the value of all living things, including the way children were educated. His brother Milton, a prominent California senator, was the 6th governor of California. James died in 1876 and Henrietta remarried a Mr. Dwight, continuing her passion for “the speechless ones” through watercolor painting, and by writing one of the first vegetarian cookbooks, published in 1898, called The Golden Age Cook-Book. The gorgeous bronze sculpture located at Telegraph and Broadway in Oakland was a gift from their children as a tribute to their humanity. Created by Raphael Charles Peyre, a French sculptor, it depicts several scenes including a cherub restraining a man from beating a donkey, and the bowls surrounding the base were intended as horse water troughs. Henrietta Latham Dwight died in Paris in 1909 and was buried in Oakland in 1910.
Every first Friday of the month, with the next screening on June 4th, the Great Wall of Oakland presents a curated screening of video art and films from artists in Europe, Canada and the United States. A series of 100-foot by 100-foot moving images are projected onto the back wall of 2201 Broadway. The Wall faces West Grand Avenue between Broadway and Valley Street, next door to Luka’s Taproom and Lounge in Oakland’s Uptown district. Don’t miss this dramatic cutting edge motion art! Click here for more information.
The other day, I showed this property...perfect neighborhood, fantastic price, (bank owned) and potential! There was one big problem, water damage. I emailed these pictures to one of my favorite lenders and she said this damage could make it difficult to obtain a home loan. (If a buyer purchases this property with a loan, the damage might need to be fixed before escrow can close.) Perhaps this home is the perfect property for an all cash buyer, one who is up for some work and doesn't have to worry about an appraisal or loan. (Remember, you might be pre-approved to buy a house, but the house also needs to be approved too!)
Richard was raised in Nebraska and Madeline grew up in Massachusetts. As fate would have it Richard and Madeline met on a blind date in Egypt. Madeline worked for the State Department and Richard for the Caterpillar Tractor Co. They fell in love, moved to Beirut, Lebanon and started their family. The Minards, now a family of 5 were ready to move back to the US and raise Steve, Kathy and John. Out of all of the places on this continent, they chose a premium lot in El Cerrito, California. With no family in the area, they moved to 1764 Julian Court in 1962, planted roots and had a wonderful life.
Richard worked as an engineer for a non-profit and Madeline was in the PTA, was a Brownie troop leader and loved to golf at the nearby Mira Vista Country Club. The Minards 1/2 acre lot produced gorgeous blooms and supreme vegetables, that the family happily shared with all of the Julian Court neighbors. Madeline used the harvest from their garden to cook her favorites: Tabbouleh, Tomato Chicken Curry and almost anything from her beloved Julia Child cookbook. Steve, Kathy and John loved roaming the back yard, digging forts, finding lizards and tunneling through the tall soft grass right before it was cut.
The Minards could have lived anywhere in the world, but they chose this fine piece of land high on an El Cerrito hill.
Save the date! On April 29 The Oakland Zoo will host a screening of the movie “Return to the Wild, a Modern Tale of Wolf and Man.” The reception begins at 6:30 in the Marian Zimmer Auditorium at the Oakland Zoo with the screening beginning at 7pm. The film is appropriate for children 12 and older and the cost is a sliding scale of $10-$20. Get the details at www.oaklandzoo.org. Pack a lawn chair, dress warm and head on up to Redwood Heights Recreation Center this Friday, April 30 to see the Pixar movie “Up.” Snacks are available from 6:30 to 8:30 for $4.00 with all proceeds going to the scholarship fund for summer day camp and after school Rockets. The movie begins at dusk, approx. 8pm. Call 510.482.7827 for a list of all the Friday night movies through July.
Oakland Museum of California is newly remodeled! Saturday, May 1, celebrate the transformed museum with 31 hours of continuous free programs and events. Festivities begin at 11am with a Native American Ohlone blessing, and of course the continued discovery of the story of California. For more info visit museumca.org.
Stop by L’Amyx Tea Bar, 3437 Lakeshore Avenue, Oakland, on May 7 from 5-7 pm and enjoy a complimentary beverage and reception launching a solo exhibition of the recent paintings of Lorrie Fink, oils inspired by the organic forms found in nature and the cycles of life. This Washington D.C. raised artist has been the Bay Area since 1974, with her first solo exhibit at EBMUD Gallery in 2008.
For images or further information about this exhibit, please contact: Lorrie Fink, (510) 326-1990; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, web site: http://www.lorriefink.com.
It is a buyers market, right? Foreclosures and short sales are on the rise, so buyers get out and buy properties at rock bottom prices! Well I will definitely not dispute the data that the news provides, but I will say in the Oakland and Berkeley area, I am seeing things that the news is not covering.
1. There is a lack of quality inventory! I believe sellers are afraid of this market and are choosing to stay put.
Homes in select areas such as, Berkeley, El Cerrito, Albany, Alameda, North Oakland, Temescal, Rockridge, Crocker Highlands, Haddan and China Hill, Sheffield Village, Oakmore, Dimond and various other districts of Oakland and are experiencing multiple offers due to the lack of inventory. These homes are often selling over the asking price. (If they are in good condition and are priced right.)
2. The sweet spot price range is between $300,000 and $700,000 (This is the price range that the bulk of today's buyers are in.)
3. Buyers are getting frustrated by the lack of quality inventory.
4. Buyers have to feel that they are buying something of value. So it is important for sellers to show off their homes properly, fresh paint, refinished floors and no clutter!
5. Buyers like homes that are move-in ready, but have room for their family to grow or areas that can be enhanced and improved.
6. Original details are key, buyers like homes that show off their history. Often homes that are completely gutted leaving no memories of its past get overlooked or are not buyer's first choice.
7. FHA loans, loans that require a very small down payment of approximately, 5% down, accounted for about 30% of the transactions in the Oakland and Berkeley area last year, (this is an approximate after to speaking with two reputable mortgage lenders and speaking with my general manager about Red Oak's production.) This is a good loan, if managed by a competent mortgage provider, but consumers should know there are many people out in this market place that have enough money to place 20% or more down on a home. I am finding with many of my clients that family members are willing to loan or gift down payment money, as they feel real estate is a good investment and they want to help their children find a place to call home.
When you are ready to buy or sell a home, ask a real estate expert what is going on in your neighborhood. Often the national and statewide statistics differ from what is happening locally. If you are a homeowner and you are on the fence wondering if you should sell your home, perhaps now is the time to sell. As always free to email or call me. - Deidre (email@example.com.)
Last week I voted 401 Avon my favorite house from Broker's Tour. With a much smaller house in Temescal selling for over $700,000, this house is priced right. 401 Avon is a huge 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom at 1694 square feet, (according to the MLS) has great upgrades and light. Henry Mather Green and Charles Sumner Greene were influential of the craftsman era. (Mather and Green combined arts and crafts with inspiration from China and Japan.) Giving a nod to its Japanese influence, the seller of this property added shoji screens. This property is listed with Leonard Carrillo of Red Oak Realty.
The East Bay just keeps getting better and better. If you think Oakland and Berkeley are sleepy cities, then you are certainly mistaken! Once Ozzie's Fountain Shoppe amid-century pharmacy and soda fountain is now the Elmwood Cafe. This cafe was thoughtfully renovated and the owners did their best to savage the essence of its former space. Located on the corner of College andRussell, Elmwood Cafe is open from 7 am - 10 pm daily.
Curator, Lonnie Lee is hard at work renovating her new art gallery in the Uptown area of Oakland. This space will feature local art in an historic old building. This space was a former stable, auto garage, furniture repair shop and then home of United Glass. Lonnie Lee was the proprietor of Vessel on Ashby Avenue in Berkeleya boutique that I loved a few years back. Vessel Gallery in Oakland's revived art district will surely be special. Look for Vessel Gallery to open May 15th, 2010.
Kakui will come to Montclair Village, bringing a handsome sushi spot. This space housed Jamba Juice and is next door to Noah's Bagels. When I walk by I get glimpses of the owners vision and I am super excited.
New from Saint George Spirits in Alameda is Firelit Spirits from distiller Dave Smith. This yummy liqueur is made with Blue Bottle Coffee and distilled brandy. The coffee is roasted at Blue Bottle Coffee in Oakland and this liqueur is distilled in small batches in Alameda.
Coming soon to the corner of Adeline and Alcatraz in Berkeley, Addie's pizza. The owners of Sweet Adeline Bakeshop are renovating the old Spud's Pizza spot. If you have tasted the baked goods that chef, Jennifer produces at out Sweet Adeline's Bakeshop, then you are as excited as I am about her upcoming pizzeria.
Wildly popular Labels Consignment Shop in Walnut Creek will open up a sister store on Ashby Avenue near College. This place was voted the best place to buy a designer handbag by Diablo Magazine!
Governor Schwarzenegger, is trying to pass a statewide tax credit for new and existing home purchases starting May 1st, 2010. Click Here to read more. I have a few concerns about where the funds are coming from within the state's budget, and how long the funds will last. What do you think?
I sold this mid-century modern home last year. (2009)
Last year I had the privilege of working with Julie and Alastair. After many happy years in their mid-century modern home in Lincoln Heights, they had out grown this swanky two bedroom, 2 bathroom pad. Their family had grown to five and life had created a new chapter in Alastair's homeland, New Zealand. I really loved working with Julie and Alastair and was happy to see a glimpse of their new life overseas. (Above is the exterior of their former California ranch, below is their new New Zealand retreat.)
Set on an acre of land that is both maintained garden, rural and natural. A stream defines one side of the boundary and there is a large fenced area that is toddler safe for their youngest son. The house is circa 1930's that has been carefully restored. It has 3 bedrooms with a sun-room that is easily used as a bedroom if they want. There are french doors all around the house leading onto various decks and out into the yard. On the property is an old 'bulking shed' where they used to hold large bundles of tobacco when the property was used by tobacco farmers. This shed is huge, almost like a small hanger. The 'blokes area' is a small, well built unit off the shed and also has a wood fireplace in it. There is another shed as well (which was originally used to dry hopps, and is called a hop kiln.) There are about 30 fruit trees, and the gardens are simple but lovely. How dreamy is this?
Over the past two months, I have been preparing this beautiful cottage for the marketplace. I think this is the perfect place to have the ultimate dinner party. Every house has a story to tell and the cottage at 3915 Laguna lets the imagination take flight. For me, the discovery of the history of a home is a labor of love and is as important as the home itself. Christina and Richard transformed their Dimond Cottage into a masterpiece and it is an honor to represent them in the sale of their first home. Each home I market has a story to tell. Please call me when you are ready to tell the story of your house. Click here to view the Laguna Cottage.
Matthew Kowalski is showcasing his art at my office. Red Oak Realty, 2099 Pleasant Valley Avenue in Oakland. I love the bright colors!
Matthew Kowalski: Artist Statement
“I create my Radical Relief art using found objects as a printing medium. Finding the objects I use is random and up to fate. I am driven by curiosity in my search for and discovery of these tools, society's discards. I get a great sense of satisfaction knowing that I am turning someone’s garbage into gold and making my small contribution to stopping the waste running amok in our world. It makes me feel good knowing that everything we need is here, all around us; we don’t need to make more."
The buds are swelling and we are now witnessing signs of Spring! Soak up the flowering magnolia's and plum blossoms before the petals drop to the earth. Now is the time to plant your tulip bulbs, trim your rose bushes down and remove the rusty leaves and start weeding your garden beds while the soil is moist.
Here are a few of my favorite places to grab quality food on the run. Cafe 15 is in Downtown Oakland at 597 15th Street behind the State building. This is owned and operated by husband and wife team Lauren and Arash Ghasemi (Arash was a chef at Eccolo restaurant on 4th Street in Berkeley, which is now closed). Cafe 15 believes that sustainable, quality food doesn't have to cost a fortune. All of the food is made from scratch on the premises. I have tried a few of there salads, they are wonderful, full of flavor and very satisfying. I plan on trying the oyster po' boy next. Cafe 15 is open Monday - Friday for breakfast and lunch.
Summer Kitchen Bakeshop is in Berkeley near the corner of College and Ashby, and they claim to be take away re-imagined. Owners Paul and Charlene were inspired by Martha's Vineyard, the rolling farmlands and the summer kitchens built long ago behind the old farmhouses. This shop is spic and span and very cozy. Here you can walk up to the counter and choose from a good selection of grab and go items like the buttermilk fried chicken, panko and herb crusted chicken tenders and my favorite the cauliflower and olive salad. There are picture perfect cupcakes, sweet loaf breads and tarts. There is a made to order menu featuring sandwiches, salads, specials and the wood burning hearth produces pizza's and also makes the whole restaurant glow.
Amba in Montclair Village, serves falafels, fries, hummus and a few tasty salads. All of the food is vegetarian, kosher, fresh, flavorful and affordable. This is a great addition to Montclair Village and is a great alternative to your typical take-out. Please note they are closed on Saturday.
What is your favorite place to grab quality food on the run? Leave a comment or email me, I would love to hear from you.
This view comes FREE with the purchase of 1 Kelton Court #5B. I love 1 Kelton Court! 1 Kelton Court is on a cul de sac a few blocks away from Piedmont Avenue in Oakland. This is the perfect building for folks who want to be close to everything and yet live in a quiet building. (One of my clients purchased a unit in this building last year.) 1 Kelton Court #5B is currently listed with of Linda Elkin of Red Oak Realty.