Friday, August 14, 2009

Biz Stone Selling Northern California Nest

SELLER: Isaac "Biz" Stone
LOCATION: Greenwood Terrace, Berkeley, CA
PRICE: $575,000
SIZE: 808 square feet, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: Designed & constructed by well-known Northern California Architect William Wurster, this mid-century cottage is a terrific example of Wurster’s signature modern style. Accentuating the use of natural light & open space, Wurster created a peaceful & stylistic home within a small footprint. Wurster, the namesake for UC Berkeley’s Wurster Hall, built this cottage as his own personal studio in 1960. The cottage features 2 bedrooms and 2 baths and is located just above Cordonices Park nestled in the Berkeley Hills.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Maybe we're just too old, too much of a Luddite or just too dedicated a contrarian, but as far as Your Mama is concerned tweeting and twittering and all that one-to-many network nonsense is for the birds. The last thing we want to know is what every damn person we know is doing every minute of the day and nobody needs to know that we're sitting here in our underpants having our second Kahlúa and coffee at seven in the damn morning. Okay?

This Twitter bizness was co-founded by a social media maven named Isaac "Biz" Stone who also had his hands in the creation of blogging communities like Xanga, Odeo and Blogger, the very software Your Mama uses for our little online endeavor. Anyhoo, some time ago we received a missive from a gal we'll call Diamod Lil–not Diamond Lil the drag queen, but another Diamond Lil–who whispered in our big ear that Biz recently listed his shingled, William Wurster designed cottage in Berkeley, CA for sale with an asking price of $575,000. We'd like to claim we're breaking some sort of real estate news here, but the truth of the matter is ol' Biz tweeted (or twittered or whatever) that he was selling his house a long time ago.

Regardless of our thoughts and opinions on the matter, this little thing called Twitter is quite popular with the teen and pre-teen populations not to mention celebrities like that alleged Christian/nekkid model/orgasm queen/publicity slut Heidi Montag and her equally mortifying huzband Spencer Pratt, Tila Tequila (whoever that is), and May/December duo Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher who are under the not entirely false impression that a lot of people care about their every thought and action.

But we digress...property records reveal that Biz picked up his itty-bitty 808 square foot nest in January of 2006 for $550,000 and listing information shows the tiny 2-story cottage, located in the foothills just north of UC Berkeley on leafy Greenwood Terrace, includes just 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.

The apartment-sized house was originally designed and built in 1960 by noted and influential architect William Wurster as his personal studio. In 1928 Mister Wurster built the Gregory Farmhouse in Scotts Valley, CA that many consider the prototype of a classic California Ranch house. The architect worked in a warm but no-nonsense style that bridged the gap between old-school, period revival extravaganzas and the more austere architecture movement–let by modern masters like Le Corbusier and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe–that was beginning to take hold among people rich enough to hire architects to custom design their domiciles.

At some point Mister Wurster's studio was converted to an upside-down private residence with the primary living spaces on the second floor. The living and dining room includes a wood burning fireplace, one large, floor to ceiling window, a skylight, shiny bamboo floors and a bunch of furniture from Ikea which makes Your Mama think the house is staged because what new money new media mogul would have a $299 Klippan loveseat from Ikea? What little we can see of the kitchen indicates it has been updated if not entirely upgraded and includes open shelving and stainless steel appliances.

A large sliding pocket door separates the living room area from the office or second bedroom space which has another faboo floor to ceiling window and leads to the home's primary pooper. The master bedroom, on the ground floor, has a gorgeous, organic Redwood ceiling, a nice amount of closet space and storage, and a small but nicely renovated bathroom. Also on the ground floor, in a basement like spaces, are a bunch of storage cabinets and laundry facilities.

Although this house is smaller than most apartments, Your Mama thinks this would make a stylish and well-located home for the child of a rich former hippie sending their child off to UC Berkeley to learn about free love, recycling, and how to organize a sit in to get McDonalds to start serving goat milk for the lactose intolerant.

We have no knowledge of his real estate plans or activities, but Your Mama presumes Biz is moving on (or has already moved on) to larger digs more suitable to a budding Silicon Valley honcho who probably makes money hand over fist even though Twitter is yet to turn a profit.

31 comments:

angeleyes said...

Different, tranqil, and soothing.. it kind of cleared my head of all the clutter from the previous post, with all due respect for Whoopi's right to decorate her home any way she pleases. A bit on the small side, but I'm loving the bright and airy, crisp, wood-warm ambience, and large windowed views of the lush greenery surrounding this home. Really, really nice architectural design and some drool worthy materials come together and blend beautifully with nature here. A+ in my book.

Mama, I haven't been bitten by the Twitter or any other internet social networking bug either, so why is the mental image of you sitting there in your undies sipping on Kahlúa and coffee between keystrokes at the break of dawn suddenly spurring an interest? lol

Great home and article, many thanks.

Anonymous said...

Great write-up Mama. This cottage is in a fantastic area on a tranquil street. The wall heater next to the door is classic. Can't count how many of those I had and saw in my years in Berkeley. As you pointed out, this is perfect for the rich kid or for a young professional or couple buying their first place. Love the Berkeley brown shingle in a wooded setting. Not too far from campus, but also close to North Berkeley lefty foodie heaven.

Rochelle said...

Oh gosh, I am totally with you on this Twitter thing. Same with Facebook. I don't feel the need to let everyone know that (a) I just vomited a bad pastrami sandwich or (b) a boast-post that I'm packing to go to Palm Springs rightthisminute. Stoopid. And easy for stalkers to track one's every move too!

Anyway, I love that house. It is right up my alley. If my dollar-and-a-dream comes through, I'll be looking at something like this for my future abode.

Anonymous said...

As I get older and close to retirement, I find I don't need great rooms, formal dinning rooms, dens, offices and multiple potties in my life.

I love this. Close to San Francisco and Marin yet surrounded by the intelligence of UC Berkeley.

I love it. Now the price, half a million, not so much.

The Preppy Pauper said...

This house definitely has architectural merit, but Mama what is that thing beside the front door? A giant unsightly air vent? A conceptual art piece? I think anyone who tours this house will be left scratching their head trying to figure out what exactly that monstrosity is.

lil' gay boy said...

Great bungalow, lovely 'hood too.

I must confess that for a brief moment I followed the riots in post-election Iran on Twitter; but like many others past puberty, I really don't need to know what every single friend/acquaintance/celebrity/whatever is thinking/doing/eating at every single microsecond of the day.

Asinine.

Anonymous said...

I fail to see anything about this place to make it even remotely praiseworthy from an architectural perspective. Next, please.

Lola said...

Preppy Pauper are you being sarcastic? It is clearly a wall heater. I suppose you don't read others posts due to a narcissism issue?

Anonymous said...

Preppy Pauper: That monstrosity is a wall heater. It was the upgrade from having a radiator, I think, back in the day. I had one in a few apts in Berkeley when is school there. My acupuncturist in Berkeley still has one in her office. I think adding duct work and vents/HVAC to an existing building is pretty major work, so with a place that size, the wall heater works okay... It is really unsightly, though.

White Chocolate Mess said...

almost perfect, and one of the best looking spaces I've seen here lately at any price. I'd live there in a heartbeat. Sweet and light and calming. Thanks, Mama. Sometimes small is better!

Anonymous said...

Who would have thought that you could pack so much visual interest and style into an 800 sq. ft. house. That in and of itself is an achievment. Well done.

Anonymous said...

3:47, Mama focuses on real estate belonging to celebs of one type or another. If serious, you're following the wrong blog because celebs in general aren't noted for their praiseworthy architectural taste. This little gem is a keeper.

Anonymous said...

Would somebody please tell me why this house "has architectural merit" and is "almost perfect - one of the best looking spaces I've seen here lately at any price"??? "Really, really nice architectural design and some drool worthy materials" - are you kidding? Seriously, I don't understand - this place seems so plain vanilla (not in a good way) to me. It just looks like a shingled box with some windows cut out - I know of much more interesting detached garage apartments. I fail to see anything high-end about this place...perhaps one must have gone to Berkeley to get it?

CockSearch2009 said...

Wow!

Wurster was doing oversize double-hung window parodies well before Robert Venturi!

Thanks, Mama, for sending me on a journey of discovery here. I was totally unaware of Wurster until tonight.

Anonymous said...

9:06 please upload some photos of those "much more interesting detached garage apartments" and provide the link. This I gotta see. Also, no one said this is a high end property. It's a very nice bungalow, nothing more, nothing less.

PoshLady said...

I really dont see the architectural merit in this place. It just looks a bit boring.

Ed said...

The architectural merit of this place is in the fact that it was designed by William Wurster AND was his personal studio.

It's not that this is a masterpiece, it's a piece of California's architectural history. Obviously some people will not care about that and others will.

Personally, I like tiny houses. Hate all the Ikea stuff but this could be a very comfortable, very well located house for someone who does not want or can not afford something more grand.

Anonymous said...

This looks much like my end-unit condo - exept mine is twice as big and half as expensive, and to be honest with you, I don't think my condo has any architectural merit. I think it's a cute little cottage, but I would not go as far as praising it in archtectural way. Better than a standard 80s suburban house - yes; intresting archtectually - no. And somehow it seems overpriced to me.

Anonymous said...

This is not a "nice bungalow" - it is nothing more than a box with unusual (and unattractive) windows. Furniture by IKEA. The Twitter guy a celebrity? Celebrity geek, maybe. I keep forgetting that $$$ = celebrity these days...

NewYorkQueer said...

just for those two huge wonderful windows, though I must say one would have to moniter the G&T situation least there should be a terrable accident.
odd to see one of the wealthy sell at a reasonable price without those cele-bratty price bump expectations. it could almost entice me to the west coast.

Anonymous said...

9:06 PM/9:44 AM - Great job grinding the discussion to a halt. I keep forgetting that mouthy critic = knows it all these days...

Alessandra said...

I, for one, always find the spaces that architects design for themselves to be highly interesting and have merit simply from an educational standpoint of what a professional finds important, rather than what a client requires from a commission.

To me, this is a lovely space. It is well-defined and great light. The price doesn't seem outrageous, either, given the location and provenance.

Sheri Smith said...

I just LOVE you! 8-) You made me smile just when i needed to! (I've been trying for a YEAR to sell a home via an essay contest... only one who made out was GE state tax board, PayPal and my attorney) If you ever come to Hawaii PLEASE look us up (www.CastleInHawaii.com) You are an AWESOME writer (even the disclaimer down below) Right On! Sheri

Sheri Smith said...

oh and PS we're not celebrities but if any read your blog, the sweetheart cottage we were trying to sell (via essay contest) is now available thru traditional IN THE BOX method... you can see the home here even tho the contest is pau (hawaiian for finished, over, done): www.WinHawaiianHome.com. Blessings! Sheri (again)

Anonymous said...

All I'm trying to understand is WHAT it is that you guys find so interesting about this place. Seriously, would someone please enlighten me on this one?

Chris said...

Mama this place is too insignificant to merit a comment. We expect bigger and better things from you.

Anonymous said...

Please give us a Monday "fix," Mama!!

sherri dee said...

A bit high for the neighborhood in this market...

David Toluca Lake said...

Look's like high end IKEA.

Too cold for me.

Stephen said...

almost perfect, and one of the best looking spaces I've seen here lately at any price. I'd live there in a heartbeat. Sweet and light and calming. Thanks, Mama. Sometimes small is better!

Kramerwxeb said...

I just LOVE you! 8-) You made me smile just when i needed to! (I've been trying for a YEAR to sell a home via an essay contest... only one who made out was GE state tax board, PayPal and my attorney) If you ever come to Hawaii PLEASE look us up (www.CastleInHawaii.com) You are an AWESOME writer (even the disclaimer down below) Right On! Sheri