“WELCOME TO PARADISE”
This extraordinary Upper Rockridge property has an impressive provenance. It sits on the site of the 1911Julia Morgan-designed Red Gate Mansion, which burned in the 1991 Oakland fire. In 1997 Billie Joe Armstrong, frontman of the band Green Day, enlisted noted architect Mark Becker to custom-design this bright and luminous French Normandy-style home, and the result is a true gem. Private and gated, the home sits on a generous half-acre lot with grace and balance. Using the original Red Gate brick steps, the patio and porch are a lovely entrée to this enchanting home. The foyer is dramatic and engaging; the high ceilings, curved staircase and vintage chandelier set an inviting tone, and hint at a Spanish Mediterranean influence.
The living room is both grand and imminently livable: over 300 square feet, it has windows on three sides with gorgeous tree-filled outlooks and panoramic views, a beautiful fireplace and an oversized bay window seat. Off the living room is a serene private library/office with wraparound windows and built-in bookcases, and both rooms access a private terrace that overlooks the pool. The dining room has custom touches, French doors that open to the front porch, and expansive views of the bay. The distinctive antique light fixtures here and throughout the house were sourced from the storied French flea market at St-Ouen.
The eat-in kitchen is an entertainer’s dream and architecturally rich - bespoke details such as the beautifully patinated antique copper and iron tiles, the high ceilings and windows, the textured slab on the outsized island and chef-quality appliances make this a kitchen a visual feast. A family room off the kitchen is a great place to gather, either around the fireplace, television or window seats. A sound-control console is cleverly concealed here, with state-of-the-art technology. French doors lead out to a terraced yard with lovely landscaping and amazing views. The patio, with its fire pit, is an ideal spot to savor the sunsets or count the stars.
Upstairs, two charming bedrooms share a bathroom and another bedroom has an en suite bathroom. All have angled ceilings and bay views. The master suite is spectacular - views in two directions that capture the length of the bay, a private balcony, fireplace, a Fortuny lamp, built-in nooks and and a coved inset for the bed make this space feel artisanal and luxurious. The roomy bathroom is equally grand, with double sinks, a spa bathtub with an indulgent view, and a large, bright shower with a skylight window. The walk-in closet has two separate wings with lots of space, light and storage.
The lower level has a guest suite with a private bathroom (with an distinctive decoupage decor of Green Day fliers from their Gilman Street shows). A media room with a wet bar is cozy and seductive; French doors lead out to a private yard. As an encore, behind a discrete sound-proof door is a singular feature from another time: a two-room professional recording studio and three sound-proof practice booths. Though there are countless unique details that set this home apart, this space perfectly captures the spirit of the original owners’ creative passion and professionalism, and evokes images of late night jam sessions and some serious music-making.
The gated driveway that is accessed from around the corner leads to a three-car garage and a tree-lined car park. This private entrance to the house is beautiful and practical; a door leads level-in to the kitchen, and a few steps down in the garden is a separate entrance to the studio. A raised bed of herbs and vegetables is handy to the kitchen, then behind another gate, shaded by tall redwoods, is a saltwater pool with a cabana, fireplace, bathroom and outdoor shower. A handsome hedge around the garden offers lots of privacy and greenery.
This coveted neighborhood has excellent public and private schools, with freeway access and BART nearby for commuters. For those seeking urban amenities, College Avenue's famed shops and much-lauded restaurants are two blocks away, and for nature-lovers Lake Temescal Park is just up the hill. Market Hall, the 2 nearby Farmers' Markets, Safeway, Trader Joe's and the Village Market make this a food-lover's haven.
Along with the glamour, elegance and the countless luxuries, this home is imminently comfortable and livable, in a fantastic location. A rare and wonderful find.