Houses are homes when the people living inside of them create the atmosphere of contentment. Homes are bastions of peace and love when the owners imbue four walls with great memories. We were delighted when one of our clients, who is selling their home on 1827 Capistrano Avenue in Berkeley, wrote a “love” letter about their family home. On the market soon for $1.125 million, this home is not just about the bedroom count and floor plan. The spirit of how well loved and lived in this home is becomes apparent in this letter and we look forward to finding a buyer who can feel the special energy of this home.
Portal To the Sierra And A Sanctuary For the Soul In Berkeley
I believe that houses have souls, that they absorb the stories of former owners in the wood and paint. This house has a good soul, and our family’s 13 years here have been memorable. Listen closely enough and you will hear the joy of our daughters’ births, first steps, midnight visits from the tooth faeries, nightly improvised good night stories told of a fictional girl, Solana, as the kids drift to sleep, spontaneous dance parties, raucous Thanksgivings, lemonade stands, fiddle concerts put on by the kids to collect money for refugees, and many a rainbow chalk hopscotch drawn from one end of the block to the other.
We will miss working in the back office, gazing into a wall of coastal oaks and a redwood that was planted years ago by a previous owner. The morning sun streams through the front windows of the house and the skylights, and lying on the master bed, every morning treated to the sight of squirrels frolicking among the branches. On hot days, three sets of French Doors open from the dining room and both plus rooms, and the side deck transformed into a playground sanctuary for the kids. We strung up lights on the Pittosporum on the side deck, which lit up like fireflies during dinner parties. We love the backyard, particularly on starry nights, when everyone sits around a fire under the oak, making s’mores. I always felt it was a portal to the Sierra, because it felt like we were transported.
The kids relished the deluge of water from their bathroom shower, and the deep tub, which when they were little, accommodated both kids and one adult. There is so much to love in this house! The vaulted wooden ceilings in the spacious master bedroom, and plus rooms, which were designed by an architect who once lived here, the accessibility into the house, convenience of the layout, hardwood floors, skylights, decks, and the proximity to Solano Ave, which hosts the yearly Solano Stroll. The Stroll is one of the largest East Bay food, music and art festivals, and home to countless Mexican, Chinese, Italian, and Thai restaurants that dot the street like sprinkles on an Iscream ice cream cone (the kids favorite). But what makes this house so very, very special to us is what one cannot easily see.
You cannot see the strong sense of community that exists here, which we witnessed from the first day when our neighbors across the creek, who arrived with wine and bread in hand and smiles on their faces, graciously welcomed us; or the yearly surprise packages left for the kids at the front door by the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus (a.k.a. our lovely neighbor just to the west), or know that many a late night, I would be lying in bed, only to receive a late text photo from another neighbor of his backyard fire, inviting me to come over with my guitar, and a drink or two, after the kids were asleep, and join him and several other neighbors in a spontaneous jam by the fire (many of the people on the block are amazing musicians). Every Wednesday night was designated “Sushi Night” in our house, and the kids would delight in knocking on various neighbors’ doors to distribute a portion. The spontaneous giving of food is invariably reciprocated. You cannot see the murals (a labor of love) that my 80 year-old mother, the artist extraordinaire, painted across the walls of our first child’s room when she was an infant.
The yearly block party is hands down the best in Berkeley, as we have a master smoker of meats, who takes it as a personal challenge to surprise the block with his latest BBQ masterpiece, the music runs late, everyone pitches in to rent a jumpy house for the littles, and the block elders, provide all of us an oral history of the block. Halloweens are magical, thanks in part, perhaps in whole, to our neighbors who construct haunted houses, complete with strobe lights, plastic body parts emerging from the soil, fog, and eerie music…and an outdoor bar offering juice to the young, and other kinds of spirits to the old. Many of the houses throw open their doors to serve food, and we stopped counting the hundreds of pieces of candy we distribute to the throngs, which have only increased over the years. With many of our neighbors we celebrate all the special occasions—graduations, birthdays, new jobs, an Oscar nomination (true story)—as well as are there for each other in more challenging times. On full moons, our kids in their pajamas gather a few of their block friends for what we call “Full Moon Walks,” around the block before bedtime, and they delight in playing hide-n-seek by the moonlight. The Capistrano Creek that runs in back of the house all the way up and down the block serves as a natural playground; and Old Stoneface Park and Indian Rock, which is the community’s choice for viewing sunsets, all provide a sacred place for the kids to connect with nature. Yes, this house has a good soul, it is so very special to us and so is this community that you may soon join. We hope that a new owner will fall in love with this house and neighborhood as much as we have over the years.
The home at 1827 Capistrano Avenue will be featured on the Berkeley Hills Realty website soon. If you are looking for the attributes that this home offers with a sense of community, soul and surrounded by nature, please attend our open house on Saturday or Sunday, March 25th and 26th, from 2-4.
For more information about this listing or others in Berkeley or the East Bay, please contact us at (510) 524-9888.