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Berkeley Open House: Historic Studio Built For A Piano Teacher (PHOTOS)

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This article comes to us courtesy of California Home & Design.

By Philip Ferrato

One of Berkeley's great Arts & Crafts Style houses, and in impeccable original condition, the Maybeck Studio will be open on Sunday. It's a rare opportunity to see one of Bernard Maybeck's most interesting houses.

Sometimes called the Maybeck Studio, or the Kennedy-Nixon House, this acoustically perfect space was built by the Nixon family as a live-in studio for Alma Kennedy, their daughter's piano teacher, and later joined to the Nixon's earlier Maybeck house next door by a bridge. The original house was built in 1914, it all burned down in 1923 and was immediately rebuilt under Maybeck's supervision.


The 3-bed, 3-bath, 2-half-bath house was designed for entertaining– it even has a separate catering kitchen– and the main room can hold a few dozen of your best friends. Stucco on the exterior, inside the landmarked house has been crafted in unfinished clear-heart redwood and still holds some of the original furnishings.

With outstanding acoustics, the chapel-like studio space was later used as a private jazz recital hall and recording studio and is currently owned by a composer. It's probably a great place for a wedding, although we sense that using it as a event space would be frowned upon by the authorities.

Bernard Maybeck was one of the first American architects to have been educated at the Ecole de Beaux Arts in Paris, straddling the 19th and 20th Centuries and becoming what might be described as a "proto-modernist" especially in his use of materials. While he did a number of buildings in the Neo-Classical style (ie. San Francisco's Palace of Fine Arts) he was always under the spell of the France's 19th Century Medieval Revival, making it modern with a classically Arts & Crafts approach in redwood. We had a look at earlier this year at Curbed SF when house was originally listed for $1.995M. Reduced this past week to $1.85M, this may well be its first open house. Open on Sunday, Jul 22 from 2 to 4:30.

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