Many midcentury homes were built by skilled craftsmen, using quality materials — yup, “built like a rock.” But this 1950 time capsule house — known locally as the Hellbaum House, after its original owners actually is built on and around rock — massive boulders — inside and out! The home also boasts an original elevator that has operated without issue since the day it was installed… steel kitchen cabinets painted in an auto body shop… and other beautiful midcentury modern interior features. Oh yeah: It’s for sale!
The house — which is in the Thousand Oaks neighborhood of Berkley, California — is listed for sale by realtor Ira Serkes. Note, the listing says there is already an offer pending with four backup offers. Here are the detail from the listing:
- Price: $1,100,000
- Year built: 1950
- Square footage: 2,610
- Bedrooms: 3
- Bathrooms: 2 plus 2 partial
The Hellbaum House in Berkeley’s wonderful Thousand Oaks neighborhood!
At a massive street side boulder, rising tiers of Arizona flagstone walls, steps and handmade bronze railings lead you up to the front entry (note the stone inset of the builder/owners’ initial!); the same flagstone is repeated inside at the fireplace, its raised hearth and floor to ceiling detail, and outside at walls and chimney. Three bedrooms, two and a half baths at main living level; half bath in garage; elevator from garage to kitchen.
Huge kitchen [Editor’s note: Those look like vintage Geneva kitchen cabinets — maybe St. Charles — to us) has terrific storage (auto shop painted cabinetry with chromed hardware!); an island counter; breakfast area space; Large room off kitchen includes laundry and a built in desk across one wall; ideal study/art/office space. Filtered Golden Gate, Bay Bridge, San Francisco, Mt. Tam and westward views are seen through large windows; half bath off kitchen.
Two full bathrooms have the original Naugahyde wall covering, enclosed bath tub/shower combos and vanities with chromed tube lights and mirrors. Through a wide central hallway, access three good sized bedrooms: master suite has one large closet with built in drawers, a second smaller closet and opens through sliding glass doors to a mahogany deck and back garden with plantings amid more rock; another bedroom has a built in desk, shelving and glass paned display cases.
Detached garden studio built of clear heart redwood: originally used as a BBQ shed with a fireplace, sink, built-in cabinetry and windows all around, it’s now the perfect art/meditation/separate office space. Recessed lighting in main rooms; soffit lighting in the dining area.
At the garage level (more of the street side rock … and another behemoth rock!) there’s a half bath, utility closets housing elevator machinery and radiant/water heating equipment, and many storage spaces; think installation of a translucent garage door to brighten this area for multiple uses; art; kid playspace; workshop….or park two cars and maybe a third!
619 Vincente was designed, built and lived in by its original owner for many years, and one of its current owners grew up across the street and played among the area rocks as a child.
It is noted in BAHA* and “Berkeley Rocks: Building With Nature by Jonathan Chester (Ten Speed Press)” for its innovative systems: an elevator fairly uncommon in Berkeley homes at the time, and a radiant heat system through ceiling pipes; each room has its own thermostat, and there is radiant heat under the garage floor as well
Per BAHA; “For the structure, Hellbaum purchased a Southern Pacific bridge and anchored the structure on several of the I-beams from the bridge” Look up when you’re in the garage … the beams are overhead.”
- Realtor Ira Serkes from Berkeley Homes
- Photographer Kurt Manley
- Rich Anderson from Lucidpic Photography architectural photography
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