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An architectural masterpiece in the heart of the Elmwood, 2729 Elmwood Avenue is a 5432 square foot, 6BD/5.5BA Beaux Arts and Crafts home that is the essence of 1920s elegance blended with contemporary convenience. Originally known as the Cairns House and designed by renowned architect Walter J. Ratliff, the home was recently featured in Architectural Digest (September 2021) as a sophisticated example of modern sustainability. The personal residence of distinguished NYC architects, the home has undergone an MN Builders $1.5M+ modern renovation that thoughtfully honors Ratcliff’s original work, retaining the arts and crafts detailing that blends seamlessly with stylish modern updates including a sleek chef’s kitchen with breakfast room, opulent modern baths, smart technologies, and a robust state-of-the-art solar and Tesla Powerwall battery system.
A luxurious showplace, the home is decorated with Fornasetti patterned wallpapers and distinctive chandeliers, pendant lights, and glowing sconces of leaded-glass. The open foyer is lined with recessed redwood paneling, and in the sun-washed living room an eight-foot stone fireplace rests beneath the original bas relief frieze designed by sculptors Domingo and Jo Mora. Wide windows with diamond pane leaded-glass panels - many with original glass - fill the rooms with natural light and warm the gleaming hardwood floors. The home’s 18 rooms include a formal dining room that seats 14+, a family room on each floor, a sunroom, and six bedrooms - two with en suite baths and two with a shared bath.
The expansive chef’s kitchen has been beautifully updated with a Calcatta marble island and breakfast bar, a wall of pantry cabinets, and Miele appliances, including a professional-grade double gas range and integrated refrigerator and dishwasher. The adjoining breakfast room features built-in bench seating, corner windows, and a glass door opening onto the lush rear garden. Convenient for entertaining, the adjacent butler’s pantry/kitchen includes a Sub Zero undercounter beverage refrigerator, built-in Miele coffee maker, full-height Miele wine fridge, and Miele freezer. Port St Laurent marble countertops and sink provide prep space, and a Miele dishwasher simplifies cleanup.
Also on this level, French doors open onto an en suite bedroom with luminous corner windows and a redwood box beam ceiling. The full bath features subway tile walls, a walk-in shower with frameless glass door, and a floating sink.
Upstairs, the loft-style family/media room serves as a central hub between the two wings of the home. One wing houses three bedrooms - each with their own charming features - two joined by a shared bath. The other wing includes the primary suite with a luxurious modern bath, an additional bedroom, a second bath with the original wood-and-marble sink, and a sunroom that was likely once a sleeping porch commonly found in homes of the era.
Large enough to be furnished as a combination bed and sitting area, the home’s primary suite is a gracious, light-filled retreat with a coved ceiling and a series of wide windows overlooking the neighborhood. A spacious walk-in closet/dressing room by California Closets separates the bedroom from the opulent spa-like bath with decorative Ann Sacks tile wainscoting, marble tile floors, expansive stone-topped dual vanity, and large walk-in shower with soaking tub and steam.
The rear garden is an ideal outdoor space with brick patios for entertaining, and an easily accessible gas valve will power a grill for neighborhood barbecues.With plenty of room for a children’s play area, the lush lawn is surrounded by mature trees and planting beds of abundant greenery, flowering shrubs, and an organic herb garden.
Centrally located in the charming Elmwood neighborhood with its walkability score of 98(!), this home is mere moments from the historic Elmwood shopping district - a retro-chic area known for its independent shops, restaurants, and cafes. With easy access to public transportation, the home is also close to the UC Berkeley campus, Rockridge BART, and miles of hiking trails in Claremont Canyon Regional Preserve and Tilden Regional Park.
The much sought-after neighborhood of Elmwood has a rich architectural history. Early 20th-century houses, estates, and some of the more notable homes designed by prominent turn-of-the-century Bay Area architect Julia Morgan can be found in this neighborhood. The local shopping district centered on the intersection of College and Ashby avenues is a bustling hive of activity, featuring an array of gourmet eateries, boutique shops, cafes, and restaurants. Residents of Elmwood also enjoy an easy walk to public transportation, a library, and parks. For an only-in-Elmwood, experience, visit Mrs. Dalloway's, a shop that combines a bookstore and garden supplies, or Rialto Cinemas Elmwood, a Berkeley city landmark that houses a three-screen cinema. In terms of hyperlocal culture, Julia Morgan Theatre offers camps and classes as well as performances of music, dance, and theater throughout the year.