Size: 1100 square feet on the ground floor, 400 on the second floor
2 bedrooms, plus a playroom and office
This home in Berkeley’s historic Elmwood neighborhood has both a colorful past and future. When the owners purchased their main home they inherited a dilapidated house in their backyard that was built in 1908. This house was most likely an earthquake shack that was thrown together after the San Francisco earthquake of 1906
A New Avenue partner architect and local contractor worked with the owners to bring a new future to this collapsing backyard cottage. The new home was designed in compliance with the zoning rules and kept some of the original walls. The owners both have a great eye for style and a mind for sustainability. Some of the original redwood was salvaged and used in the new home and sustainable and alternative options – like spray foam insulation, metal roofing, cement siding and radiant floor heating – were used in the new construction.
The new home is now almost 1500 square feet. There are two bedrooms and a bath on the first floor and two rooms and a bath upstairs. The upstairs rooms could be a 3rd and 4th bedroom but instead are currently used as an office and a playroom.
This home was built with sustainability in mind and also serves as an investment strategy for the owners. The home is located just up the street from several coffee shops, restaurants and stores on College Avenue. With a BART station and all these amenities nearby the neighborhood achieves a perfect walk-score of 100. It is a prime rental apartment for UC Berkeley students or young professionals, and it is in an area where rental for homes like this range from $4,500-$5,000. The monthly financing cost for this home is just over $1,500 per month. For this family, the cottage is a great annuity that is paying the tuition bills for two daughters who are in college.