Sunday, March 15, 2009

Oakland Tour of JHT Houses: 1910-1914

I spontaneously ended up touring 5 of Thomas's 8 Oakland houses (from the outside) yesterday so I started a collection of just the Oakland houses, as a start. I recommend viewing them in slideshow mode.

JHT Oakland House Photos

Conners House, 1012 Ashmount and [unknown owner] 1016 Ashmount
Today I ventured out to 1012 Ashmount Ave., in Oakland, which is currently for sale. I'd hope to see an open house, but the house wasn't open. However, I did get to see the outside and was seriously wowed. Perhaps this is the best study Thomas did before Wintermute (which he did the following year.)

The house around the corner at 1016 Ashmount is another very fine Thomas house, far more horizontal than 1012.

1012 was built for Conners, the managing editor of the Oakland Tribune and it has a commanding view with spectacular views of the Bay.

1012 Ashmount Photos (exteriors)
1012 Ashmount Photos (interiors, from realtor's site)
1016 Ashmount Photos

I also went off to see some of the nearby Thomas houses, including:

Dow House, 820 Calmar (1912)
A very fine Secessionist/Prairie style house where Thomas has nicely punched out the sides to exploit the spatial possibilities as he did so often in whatever style he was working in.

Dow House, 820 Calmar photos

842 Santa Ray (1910)
A fine shingle style - tweaked with some Secessionist touches, including the massive stucco covered side suports and again the punched out windows on the sides.

842 Santa Ray photos

Jackson House, 1121 Mandana, 1914
A California Prairie style house that was one of the first houses to be built in the area, this impressively sited house also has an incredible commanding view - in this case, looking straight down the street toward downtown Oakland like it was the grandest allee of all time.

One of the owners, Jacki Schier, was kind enough to let me see some of the inside rooms as well and shared a few details about the house with me:

• The capacious three car garage was added in the 1920s.
• Inside the house, the back has been moderately expanded, enclosing a former porch, to build onto the kitchen/den area and a bathroom installed where once there was a coat room. The original maid's room was remodeled to be part of the kitchen.

The house has only had three owners: the Jacksons, the Hunts, and the Schiers, who bought the house in 1973 as a young married couple and raised their family in it.

• During the Hunts ownership, the Hunt family added a third bedroom and a bath upstairs filling in the space under the upstairs eaves - which you can see on the upper right in the photos.
• The outside and the inside of the house were painted pink when the Schiers purchased it from the Mrs. Hunt.
• There is a lovely copper trim over the fireplace and the trademark JHT squares.

I'm hoping to find an old photo of the house when it was the first thing on this hillside. Does anyone know of one?

Jackson House, 1121 Mandana photos

Locke House, 3911 Harrison (1911)
Another masterpiece, this house took my breath away. A stunning jewel, it should have been protected from being squeezed in by the huge looming apartment building on one side and the large Victorian mansion on the other, but it is still a shining example of Thomas's Secessionist work at its sculptural finest. I am dying to go inside sometime and see the top room, which has windows on all four sides. On Sunday, it appeared that the main front rooms are housing a business and the former living room serving as a conference room.

The garage in the back is yet another example of the attention to complete design - i.e. so far, all the garages I've seen are works of art. Mine is - and it made me laugh when I first saw the property to see how beautifully designed it was.

• Locke House, 3911 Harrison photos


While I hadn't planned this as a tour, afterwards, I realized this would make an excellent tour for anyone interested in seeing a fine variety of styles. If you have to prioritize, the starred houses are Must See's but all these houses are worthy and they are very close together. They're too far to comfortably walk to and fro between (especially the Locke house) but you could, depending on how inspired you are.

If I have enough inspiration, I'll map it out and post it here later:

1910: Shingle/Craftsman - 842 Santa Ray
1911: Viennese Secessionist - Locke House, 3911 Harrison St.*****
1912: Viennese Secessionist meets California Prairie - Dow House, 820 Calmar St.
1912: Secessionist style: 1016 Ashmount
1912: Secessionist/Fusion Masterpiece: Conners House, 1012 Ashmont *****
1914: California Prairie - Jackson House, 1121 Mandana **

1 comment:

  1. Certainly this is A GOOD TOUR IDEA for us we can arrange this types of tour and I hope you will help us again and again and again.