foreclosure tours in Stockton, CA (via NPR)
Wende Cragg's Arts & Crafts appliques

a very special bungalow in Oakland, California

Stephen Coles (whose eyes, unfortunately, are drawn much more to what I often remind him are the sterile, soulless lines of Mid Century Modern) emailed me yesterday with a heads-up on a particularly pretty bungalow in Oakland, California's Rockridge district, photographed inside and out by Flickr user The Jaundiced Eye, a regular in the Hewn & Hammered photo pool on that site. The house is, of course, TJE's own residence, and it really is an especially comfortable, attractive and well-designed space. It is, in the author's own words,

A Japanese pagoda-influenced California Craftsman. Get a load of the sleeping porch up top. This place is huge, but what makes it really remarkable is how intact it is. No one screwed it up. Not even the kitchen!

And how did he manage to snag such a showpiece home in one of the most architecturally desirable neighborhoods in the Bay Area? Therein lies a story:

This happened very quickly. I found it on the web while I was in Florida visiting my parents and sent Len an email. He dealt with the rest of it himself. When he picked me up from the airport he drove me to the place and parked in front (about 11:30pm). encouragingly, we drew the attention of several suspicious neighbors who actually came out of their houses. I liked that people obviously keep an eye on the neighborhood. The next day Len met the realtors and the owner and brought our house resume that showed all of the work we did on our 1910 Edwardian in SF. The owners really like Len. About two days later they offered it to us. They had rejected over 25 other offers because they didn't think the people understood what the house is, or how to care for it. Fortunately the lease on our SF townhouse expires on April 14th, so we are ready to go. The new house is in Rockridge which is part of Oakland. It is a largely Arts & Crafts neighborhood that is right next to Berkeley, a block away from College Avenue which is a hopping little street with restaurants,clubs and a European style market. I think we will be very happy here. I already have dibs on the top room with the sleeping porch for my office.