California Nothing

I really admire good Architecture. I chose the word admire, because I really don’t know enough about Architecture to know good from bad. I know a unique house when I see it, and sometimes the really unique ones just look odd to me. Have you seen the new home on Linda Mesa on the West Side of Danville? I’m sure the architect and owner did, and got “great architecture” – but I don’t get it.

As some of you know, I’ve been on a REAL Spanish Colonial, early California Ranchero kick of late – as reflected in my Pick of the Week several times recently. I am pining away at buying an old original rancher somewhere in our Tri-Valley area and re-developing it into a true turn of the century Ranchero. Good luck with that, Nan, since I don’t even know what that is, let alone have any idea how to make it happen! But I like the idea of something unique. As you know – I like old homes, I like unique homes, I just like homes with character!

The one look I get so tired of is what I’ve coined “California Nothing”. Big Builders often take this look from here, and that look from there and mush it all together to create what I call California Nothing. The homes are stylish, but have no style. They are functional for sure – and every square inch of space is maxed out and put to use. But there is just no design to these houses.

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A few years ago, after reading Loving Frank by Nancy Horan, I went on a Frank Lloyd Wright research binge. I grew up in the Chicago area, and my Mom was a big Frank Lloyd Write fan. So while I was doing all this FLW research I came across some examples, and architectural philosophies right here in the Bay Area that demonstrate his style – take a tour in Berkeley someday. Many of our classic Craftsman homes are an off-shoot of Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs – the clean simple lines and highly functional space, bringing the outdoors in, and capturing lots of light. During this Frank Lloyd Write binge, I even travelled to Chicago and went through HIS original home and toured the greatest collection of his designed in Oakpark, Illinois, outside of Chicago. His classic final home was Taliesin in Wisconsin, which he duplicated in Phoenix at Taliesin West. Pretty cool if you get a chance to see them.

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So last weekend when I got a note in e-mail about a “pocket listing” in Round Hill in Alamo, I was intrigued. It stated that the house was a David Burton custom and a very unique architectural style. No kidding!! Candidly, when I drove by it, it just looked like a big, ugly square box perched on a hill. The inside was REALLY cool with high ceilings and really unique sky lights. But the outside had no (yes that would be NONE) windows on the front and sides of the house, and it truly looked like a brown cereal box lying on its side.

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And then I saw these pictures!! Look at what this house looked like in 1967 when it was built. This was, we believe, the second home built in Round Hill! Look at the land around this house! This home is on Roundhill Drive – there was nothing else there when this home was built! Seeing it stand alone, and seeing its true architectural style shed a whole new light on this house! No pun intended, as all the light in this house – and its VERY light and bright inside – streams in along the walls from skylights circulating exterior roof line. VERY Unique!

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It’s now all overgrown with HUGE Ponderosa Pines and Redwoods – so you lose the lines of the original house. Whoever buys this home should take the time to clear out around it so it looks cool again, not just like a brown cereal box!!

If you are interested in this, or any other home, please let me know! or give me a ring at 925-855-1955 today!


Disclaimer: This information is provided for reference only and is deemed reliable, but not verified or guaranteed. Listings may or may not be by Nancy Benvenuto or The RE/Max Collection. If your property is currently listed with a real estate professional, it is not our intent to solicit those listings. 


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