Any student of architecture will recognize the importance of this northern California home designed in 1937 by William Wurster and landscape architect Thomas Church.
Located just east of Berkeley in Orinda, the seven-bedroom, five-bathroom was listed in mid-June for $3.85 million. The home was built in 1938, and has only had two owners.
“What really sets this home apart is the link to William Wurster and Thomas Church,” said listing agent George Bassett of Executive Brokers. “They are the holy grail of architecture and landscape architecture.”
Both were innovators of the “California” style. Church had a modern approach to landscaping and published two books. Wurster designed many notable houses in the area, as well as the Bank of America building and Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco. He became the dean of the University of California, Berkeley Architecture school in 1950, and helped create the School of Environmental Design at UC Berkeley.
The home was built on a 10-acre plot for Dick and Ruth Breuner of Breuners Home Furnishings, a company founded in 1856 by Dick Breuner’s grandfather, which is still in business today. When the house was sold in the mid-1960s, the original land was divided up into parcels, Mr. Bassett said. Besides the house that was sold, the Breuners moved to a smaller house, also designed by Wurster, on a nearby parcel that had been part of the original property, and their children took the adjoining land. As it happens, Mr. Bassett is the couple’s grandson, and has lived in the area for decades.
The current family has lived in the original house for close to 50 years. Last year, the patriarch of the family died, and his widow is selling the home.
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The home has an open layout, with rich wooden walls and cabinetry as well as oversized windows. The main floor includes a living room, dining room, large kitchen with breakfast nook and a library, as well as four bedrooms and four bathrooms. There are three more bedrooms and two bathrooms on the lower level, plus a separate apartment.
Much of the house is as it was when it was built, although some renovations have been made. “I see the buyer for this being more like a $5 million buyer who will update the vintage bathrooms,” Mr. Bassett said.
Outside, there is a pool and pool house, with a sauna and spa, as well as large patio areas and lawns by Church. The house is surrounded by trees and terraced gardens, and has ample space for outdoor entertaining.
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