Maggie + Alissa + Jess Realtors

Red Oak Realty7502 Fairmount Ave, El Cerrito, CA 94530

© Maggie + Alissa + Jess 2019

Berkeley Hills Mid-century by Hans Ostwald

Updated: Nov 12, 2019

MAJ Realtors is proud to present a stunning classic mid-century home in the Berkeley hills, the last of the homes occupied by the original owner in the Hewlett subdivision on the Berkeley Woods tract.

2717 Marin was built in 1956 by the acclaimed architect Hans Ostwald in his signature style. With this home, you’ll find a large living space atop the hillside, a flat roof, natural wood, glass-filled walls and open spaces.

In 1955, the current owners, the Baumrinds, engaged the well-established architect John “Hans” Ostwald to design and build a home for them in the Berkeley Hills. By the time of his death in 1973, Ostwald had designed 97 houses throughout the California. His last project was the St. John’s Presbyterian Church in Berkeley, completed posthumously.

They purchased a secluded double lot from Dr. Louise Hewlett who lived at the top of the hill in a home built for her several years earlier. Dr. Hewlett had a vision of a small cluster of homes inhabited by academics with an appreciation for architectural design and sold the first lot to the Baumrinds. On the western side of the carport, the original fence that once formed the border between Alameda County and Contra Costa Counties is still visible.

Consistent with Ostwald’s aesthetic, the house was designed with glass-filled walls, open spaces, exposed redwood, and copper stripping between the unpainted wood panels.

The original upstairs was typical of the open spaces Ostwald often incorporated into the homes he designed. The space has ample natural light provided by southern clerestory windows, and large northern plate glass windows. The original design of the house included use of lower windows opening onto the balcony to take in cool air, while hot air rose to exit through the open clerestory windows.

The beautiful floors upstairs are typical of Ostwald’s use of wood to bring the outdoors inside. The large dining room table was built for the house from the same boards that were used for the upstairs floors.

The design of the home reflected its use as an office where Dr. Baumrind could see patients without them disturbing the family. Clients entered by walking alongside the carport and past the Japanese garden to enter the office through the split French door. A large solarium outside the office was separated from this walkway to provide more private outdoor space for the family.

The house includes features that were unusual at the time the house was built. It was designed with radiant floor heating throughout the upstairs wood floors and the downstairs cement floor. The Baumrinds were concerned about earthquake safety, and arranged for the house to be anchored deep into the ground.

The Baumrinds had three daughters and downstairs are three small adjoining bedrooms, separated from each other by large sliding doors. At the west end of the lower floor is a large playroom. The east end houses a large bedroom for a guest or house or au pair, as well as a laundry room. The closet in this bedroom was plumbed so that it could be converted into a small kitchen. The bathroom was built with three sinks, and with separate shower and bath areas.

In 1968, Walter Brooks, was hired to modify the open living room with a conversation pit - popular at that time for creating a more intimate space for gatherings. Additional lighting was added in the kitchen and downstairs bedrooms. Radiators were also added to supplement the radiant heating.

The house remained in the Baumrind family from the time it was built until the present. This is the last of the homes in the Hewlett “subdivision” to be occupied by the original family.