2830 Garber Street, Berkeley
A plugged-in San Francisco tipster crosses the bay and reports on 2830 Garber Street:

I saw it yesterday and I have rarely seen so much traffic at an open house. It has 3 bedrooms and 2 baths on the top floor, and all of the bedrooms have Golden Gate and Bay View Bridge views.

It was built by the well known architect George Plowman as his personal residence and it is perfect example of Arts and Crafts architecture. The kitchen has been updated, but otherwise all the original details in intact.

2830 Garber Inside

It also has a basement area that could be used as an Au Pair residence or rented out to a student.

This area of Claremont Court is probably the best neighborhood in Berkeley and compares favorably with Rockridge or Noe Valley. This home would probably cost double this price in Noe or Forest Hill, if you could even find it.

And no, our tipster is neither an – much less the – agent nor has any vested interested in the sale of the property (as far as we know).
∙ Listing: 2830 Garber Street (3/2.5), Berkeley – $1,150,000 [Grubb Co.]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by kthnxybe

    Niiiice. Now THAT is my idea of a home.

  2. Posted by dub dub

    Fun, more “real east bay” listings!
    If you aren’t a peninsula commuter, these nabes are a better value than the usual suspects in SF, in my opinion. I actually think they are nicer in an absolute sense too.
    An unmentioned point is that “real east bay” lot sizes are generally larger than SF counterparts, so it’s not all about house square feet. It’s amazing how an extra 1000 or so lot makes you feel less like a zoo animal.
    As an example, I believe this property’s lot size is at least 50% larger than the twitter bigshot’s “mansion” in Noe valley (one of them anyway).
    If you are going to pay solvency taxes, these are the ones to do it on, that’s for sure. I think this house is underpriced (in this market), for what it’s worth.

  3. Posted by Tall Guy

    I also think it is underpriced. And I am finally happy that someone has a clue out there. This should draw attention and should I say, arrive at a higher price and faster transaction than if they pride-priced too high (like most the real-SF stuff)?

  4. Posted by corntrollio

    Wow, $1.15M in a nice neighborhood buys more than a 1000 sqft 2/1? Does not compute.
    But seriously, no idea if the price is right, but this looks like a nice place.

  5. Posted by polip

    the pictures look really dark…
    not sure if that is by design or if that is preferred for this type of house

  6. Posted by kthnxybe

    Looking at the link to Great Schools from the property website, the high schools in the district don’t look promising. Which could account for the “underpriced” unless someone has more information on that end? Great if you don’t have kids though.

  7. Posted by Mole Man

    There is a lot of richly stained wood. It is kind of odd that the living spaces are relatively dark while the sleeping areas are brightly painted and get a lot of light. What the photos do not show is how the craftsman design promotes access to sunlight and cross circulation of air. This is not just some stale condo box with too much light on one side and none elsewhere.

  8. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    This was me, all typos are my fault. Mole Man is right, even with the dark wood, there is a lot of light. This is the classic Arts and Crafts style, with lots of dark paneling. You could always paint it I guess (though the gods of architecture would punish you a future life for sure).
    The only thing slightly less than perfect about this place is the 5000 sq ft lot, which as dub dub pointed out, is big compared to Noe Valley lots, but still kind of smallish for this neighborhood. There are plenty of parks nearby.
    You either love Berkeley High or you hate it, there seems to be no in between. I know when I first started at Cal, I looked at the Berkeley High kids with envy, there is so much more going on there than at the podunk Central Valley High School I went to. But there is also gangs and violence, just like any big city school.
    Berkeley also has some kind of lottery for their grade schools, though I think Emerson is a charter school. You will have to get someone more familiar with the whole process there to break it down for you. Dub dub? Do you have kids? Can you tell us how Berkeley does school assignment?

  9. Posted by dub dub

    ^^^ I live in the Oakland foothills, but I assumed Berkeley’s school issues are no worse than SF’s, so I ignored that important consideration. Fortunately we have a decent foothill elem. school (geographically assigned), so we have several years before considering the solvency tax.
    There is/was also a maybeck (?) for sale just south of this house for a “decent” price (in this zombie market).
    One of my favorite parts of Berkeley is the Monterey/Hopkins area, which qualifies as Real East Bay because it’s walkable to N Berkeley Bart.
    I wish SS would get serious about its East Bay posts. I don’t know of any EB-specific resources, but if NVJ can suggest them here — you know what they said about Nixon and China! :-)

  10. Posted by Mosh

    There’s only one public HS in Berkeley. It has students from rough areas as well as students from areas where people like Michael Pollan, George Smoot, Oppenheimer live(d), many of whom send their kids to BHS. Ambitious BHS students can and will take classes at Cal. Near this Garber address you also have two of the Bay’s best high schools in CPS and Head-Royce.

  11. Posted by dub dub

    College Prep and Head-Royce are in the Oakland foothills, BTW
    just sayin ;)

  12. Posted by EBGuy

    One of my favorite parts of Berkeley is the Monterey/Hopkins area, which qualifies as Real East Bay because it’s walkable to N Berkeley Bart.
    I visited the home of someone who bought there recently. A nice house with a yard; nothing overly special (but I was still jealous — a garage, a yard!) The house was around 1500 sq.ft. and sold for $850k+. They are currently a single income family (albeit a doctor) but the whole thing seems insane to me (as does most Bay Area real estate). My own zip, supposedly, saw recent sales prices average 105% of asking…

  13. Posted by EBGuy

    Berkeley (elementary) school lottery explained: slice Berkeley into 3 diagonal zones from the southwest to the northeast. Each zone, roughly, contains a school in hills, one in a more economically challenged area and one in between. Neighborhoods are divided into approximately 4 block areas that are characterized by a variety of economic and social factors, including race. Parents can specify preferences, but there is a lottery system that balances the schools to equally distribute the students from different classes of neighborhoods. The system has withstood court challenges as, for example, the actual race of a child does not determine where he or she will go to school; it is the aggregate circumstances of their neighborhood that are taken into account. Ask me next year if I think the system is fair… actually, the “bad school” (furthest from the hills) in our zone would be our local choice, and we would be happy sending our kids there. I suppose I might feel differently if I spent a million+ for a home in the hills and my kids were getting bussed to the flats.

  14. Posted by Debtpocalypse

    I wish SS would get serious about its East Bay posts. I don’t know of any EB-specific resources, but if NVJ can suggest them here — you know what they said about Nixon and China! :-)
    Berkeley/Piedmont/Rockridge listings, inventory & pricing gets debated by a few of us here: http://www.bayareahomegirl.com/

  15. Posted by dub dub

    ^^^ bayareahomegirl.com: Thanks! Looks like it only took me a year to find :)

  16. Posted by dub dub

    ^^^ debtpocalypse — and you mention the linden ave maybeck house I mentioned above, so you pass a smell test :)

  17. Posted by Debtpocalypse

    My deodorant supplier will be delighted.

  18. Posted by salarywoman

    Berkeley has always been more affordable than SF and the peninsula. I’m not sure why. If this house were in Palo Alto the asking price would be, at a minimum, double, and probably higher. That’s a huge disparity for areas that are so close and in many respects so similar.

  19. Posted by anon

    The east bay is cheaper b/c the commute to the penninsula from the east bay is hell. Most people involved in tech don’t want to move there. Tech still drives job growth in the bay area. You never know when your dream job will be located in the penninsula and not SOMA. I have seen many people move to the EB only to be stuck w/some ridiculous commute when they land their new job on the penninsula.

  20. Posted by anon

    Sorry – that should have been peninsula

  21. Posted by GreenSpan

    pretty dang beautiful; but, it looks like it’s pretty much lot line to lot line.
    hard to imagine buying in berkeley and getting about 10 feet of clearance from your neighbors on either side and little or no yard.

  22. Posted by Mosh

    @GreenSpan
    Berkeley’s population density is about the same as Philadelphia’s or a little less than Boston’s. So space is still tight, though less so than in SF.

  23. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    It is not lot line to lot line, it is on a 5000 sq foot lot. It is close on one side, but there is a driveway and some space on the other side and what would be a large yard by SF standards in the back, as well as a small front yard.
    House is pending now, btw.

  24. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    Closed yesterday for $1,160,000, which is $10k over asking.

  25. Posted by Wishitwasmine

    The restoration work including the new redwood gutters on this residence are fantastic, and the buyer is about to enjoy one of the best examples of Arts and Crafts design in the Bay Area. Are we invited to the housewarming? Charge admission to the charity of your choice, and I’ll be first in line. Please try to resist the urge to paint the dark wood which is a part of what makes this house so unique and valuable.

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