Roger Lee with Flavor Galore

MCM architect's house for sale in Berkeley Hills a scrumptious treat on two tasty levels
Fridays on the Homefront
Appearing much fresher than most 72-year-old homes thanks to earnest period restoration by its present owner, this new Roger Lee-designed listing in the Berkeley Hills reaches the market looking absolutely beautiful, with tasty updates and wonderful views of the bay and its bridges. Photos courtesy Thomas Westfall

One thing you know when considering a home designed by mid-century modernist Roger Lee is that there aren't that many left like it.

After all, the Chinese-American master architect only created 100-some structures, although most were MCM homes in the Bay Area.

This limited inventory contributes to the attraction of a beautifully restored new listing in Berkeley that in some ways feels like two of these rare homes in one.

"The upper level and lower level are so different, [though] they complement each other," says realtor Thomas Westfall, who recently placed the home at 100 Parnassus Road on the Multiple Listing Service this month as 'coming soon.'

Fridays on the Homefront

"It just feels like going into a different home. It's a totally different vibe," Westfall remarks of the visually quieter lower story in a home with one bedroom, bath, fireplace, and separate entrance at each level. The realtor with Compass in the East Bay plans to formally list the 1958 home next week for $1,325,000 and consider offers the first week of October.

The house was originally 1,598 square feet on a 6,500-square-foot lot, although, Westfall contends, "It does not feel like [only] 1,500, to be honest."

What it does feel like is one of those Berkeley Hills houses with wonderful views of the bay and its bridges and communities.

"The views are spectacular," agreed the realtor, who sold a Roger Lee in Orinda four years ago. "You look right down into Oakland—and it should. It's an East Bay home."

Master architect Roger Lee

The house feels fresher than most 72-year-old homes thanks to earnest period restoration by owner Christa Martin, a designer by trade who lives in an MCM home in Southern California.

"We had a pest inspection and saw that some work needed to be done," Westfall said of some dry rot, adding, "So, we had all the Section 1 [certification] stuff done before we painted."

The house was roofed in charcoal-hued composite tile in June, the hardwood floors upstairs were refinished in July, it was staged in August, and the exterior was painted that same charcoal color this month.

"The owner was concerned about putting on a good roof," said the realtor before gushing about the hardwood. "They're beautiful, beautiful, beautiful floors!"

Fridays on the Homefront

The listing's presentation also has a few Eichler connections: Westfall said he and stager Jennifer Bennett both live in Eichlers, so the luan kitchen cabinets and newly added radiant heat in both bathroom floors are familiar to all concerned.

Martin bought the house in 2011 from the family of its original owner, concert pianist Jean Gray Hargrove. Hargrove was a benefactor and namesake of the music library at nearby UC Berkeley, her alma mater, where Lee graduated from the School of Architecture in 1941.