Oakland, CA




In 1993 a tragic fire burned through the Rockridge district of Oakland, California. Over 1300 homes were lost. During the rebuilding period that followed, the city officials were unable to contain the demands of the victims’ efforts to increase the size and density of these hillside neighborhoods. The result is an overly developed district with awkward massing the overpowers the small lots and narrow streets.

Many residents sold their property and, in an effort to improve views, purchased nearby lots that offered an improvement. This project was among those that fared well. Moving from a non-view east side of the same street, these clients were able to design a new home with a dramatic western view.

This project recalls the forms and massing of the famous turn-of-the-century Scottish architect Charles Rennie Macintosh. Many home owners in the San Francisco Bay area are familiar with the West Coast version of the Arts and Crafts movement, but few know that there was a European version at about the same time. MacIntosh and his wife were multi-talented participants in that movement.

A re-occurring component to this design is the peaked arch form, accented with stylized columns and repeated around a square to create a ceiling pattern called the “bishop’s hat”. This theme was repeated throughout this design in hallway openings, bookcases, window recesses and even the fireplace mantel. The design also accents the stairway as a central feature with a tower, a unique “trident” railing baluster design and by placing a reading-library-sitting nook on the midway stair landing.

This project was undertaken while David was Senior Design Associate at Polsky Architects in Larkspur