If you are a fan of mid-century modern architecture (and I count myself in that club), you’ll be interested in a newly listed example of the style at 1175 Spruce Street in north Berkeley.

But before even perusing the photos, you may be stopped in your tracks by the price. At $399,000, this home, in this location, surely must be worth a second look. It patently needs work — but for some people that makes it part of the attraction.

It’s small — 912 sq ft and with just one bedroom — and is described as a “classic 50s moderne”, designed by architect Karl Kolbeck.

The house has many of the features one associates with this style of architecture: slab floors, deep overhangs, walls of glass and a design that allows for passive solar. Also included: three skylights, redwood soffits and clerestory windows.

It reminds me of a beautifully remodeled mid-century home I visited in San Francisco last year. That one was bigger — which isn’t difficult — but the potential was similar.

Illustration by Barbara Tapp.

Tracey Taylor

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...

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3 Comments

  1. Alan: Could well be the case. The other thing to note about this property is that it’s a 6,000 sq ft lot in a desirable area. Could be that someone will snap up the listing, tear the house down and start afresh — assuming there’s anyone left out there with the wherewithal to do that sort of thing, Mitch Kapor excepted (:

  2. The “classic 50s” were part of the era when energy efficiency wasn’t even on the map.

    It’s cute, but could this be the most un-insulated house design in Berkeley?