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Berkeley’s Saxophone House Blows Onto the Market to the Tune of $2 Million


Now jazzing up the market in Berkeley’s Claremont Hills is an offbeat abode known as the Saxophone House. Built in 1996 for an amateur musician and jazz aficionado, the noteworthy residence was designed by Lucia Howard and David Weingarten, husband-and-wife principals of Ace Architects, an Oakland-based firm known for its fanciful and flamboyant postmodernist style.

Descending three stories down its hillside lot, the four-bedroom, 3.5-bath home’s distinctive design incorporates a pair of gilded towers resembling the bells of two soprano saxes, as well as a chimney edifice that calls to mind the curves of a tenor sax. Three more brass horns adorn the house’s façade over its triple garage, while horizontal bands wrapping around a section of its upper level along with the treble-clef railings lining exterior balconies evoke sheet music staff.

Capped by a massive skylight, the home’s interior takes its cues from the late-’70s/early-’80s interpretation of 1930s Moderne — let’s call it Disco-Deco — with twin spiral staircases, copious use of illuminated glass blocks, and a top-floor suite that features a semi-circular bedroom with custom-made round bed, two walk-in closets, and a vast primary bath that conjures the louche decadence depicted in such 1980s-excess film genre classics as “American Gigolo” and “Scarface.”

The 4,083-square-foot residence also features a formal dining room, a glass-cube-encased built-in bar, a step-down den with gas fireplace flanked by walls of glass, an open-plan kitchen with hardwood floors, quartz countertops, and sizable center island with induction cooktop, an office, and a self-contained guest apartment.

Outside, there are multiple patios and decks offering expansive treetop and hillside vistas. Last sold three years ago for $1.48 million, the unique property is now asking $1.997 million. Derek Han of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Reliance Partners holds the listing.

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