Rare 'Roger Lee' Hits Market

Architect Lee's award-winning two-story home in Kensington slated for open house
Rare Roger Lee Hits Market
Bay Area homes by architect Roger Lee rarely find their way to the marketplace. This gem, for sale at $815K on a beautiful enclave in Kensington, is the exception. Photos: courtesy Celia Concus
Rare Roger Lee Hits Market
Rare Roger Lee Hits Market
Architect Roger Lee.

Architect Roger Lee did not deal in the flashy modernism of a Neutra or Lautner, nor did he lend his talents to a developer like Eichler for the masses to enjoy. A prominent practitioner of the Second Bay Tradition, the East Bay born and bred Lee designed about 100 houses before his death in 1981, and one of his most lauded hit the market recently in Kensington, in the East Bay.

The two-bed, two-bath home at 20 Reed Place, which was listed for $815,000, was actually somewhat of a departure for Lee—it has two stories too—in more ways than one.

"It's a house that has a lot of interest," said listing agent Celia Concus of Marvin Gardens Real Estate, who is hosting an open house for the property from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, April 24. "Lots and lots of people coming through. Last Sunday it was mobbed!"

"Lee belonged to a generation of architects—the last—that custom-built modern homes for middle-class, even working-class, people," wrote Eichler Network features editor Dave Weinstein in his book, Signature Architects. Weinstein said owners of some Lee houses get so much interest that they keep waiting lists in case they ever want to sell, adding, "He influenced many younger architects, and left the Bay Area with dozens of homes—although many rarely hit the market."

"Roger Lee himself built a house for his family [on this hill]…then he subdivided this little area," Concus said of the home's 1962 construction along with two other nearly identical houses on Reed. One of the three homes is presently home to architect/author Paul Adamson.

It was one of Lee's last projects before moving his practice to Hawaii in 1964. "I believe that he got an award for this little cluster of houses," said Concus.