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65 Wildwood Gardens | Piedmont

THIS PROPERTY HAS BEEN SOLD

LISTING INFORMATION
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MLS#
40486849
Price
$815,000
Type
Single Family Home
Bedrooms
2
Bathrooms
1
Sq. Ft.
1,494
Age
100 years
Lot Size
0.21 acres
Pool
N
Garage
N
Date Sold
Feb 1st, 2011
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DESCRIPTION:

PRICE REDUCTION! This cottage feels like a tree house - a bird observatory in a lush garden. The antique Spanish tiles, the original door latches and the patina of the old floorboards exude History. New work in an old house should abide with the original… but one can also imagine taking advantage of the perfect orientation of the site to harvest sun and rainwater along the slope, and thereby create a 21st century green home that preserves the indigenous oak canopy and perpetuates a peaceful simplicity for generations to come. The kids will walk to one of our state’s best public schools and downtown San Francisco will be but a stone’s throw away…


Updated On: July, 16 2019
 
CONTACT
 
Christophe Rat

Christophe Rat
415.283.8894
email Christophe
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
In the early 1900s, Frank C. Havens acquired a 7.5-acre oak-covered parcel of land in Piedmont. The famed architect, Bernard Maybeck, was hired to design a house that would reflect Frank and Lila Havens’ deep interest in Oriental arts and philosophies… and later Louis Tiffany was commissioned to complete the interior decoration. The construction of this magnificent mansion lasted 12 years and combined teakwood from a maharajah’s palace and Burmese and Cambodian logs. Scores of Indian and Japanese artisans carved the teak panels and beams, sometimes under the water of the tiny stream down in the canyon to prevent the wood from cracking. In 1918, five years after Frank’s death, Lila planned to create a woman’s colony; an original community of independent “women thinkers who with their minds or hearts or hands are accomplishing the world’s work”. The project stalled, and the original property, with its expansive views and mature oaks, began being subdivided to create one of the most exclusive communities in the Bay Area, the Wildwood Gardens.

Today, the local folklore believes the Havens stables stood on this secluded piece of land at 65 Wildwood Gardens, but the steep access, far down from the carriage house, makes it questionable. When Piedmont historian Gail Lombardi came to visit, she remembered an old Oakland Tribune article, referring to one of the “strategic sites…, with rough winding stairways and picturesque trails to lead to them”, and she recognizes “the broad saddle which reaches down into the canyon and from which the most gorgeous views at Wildwood are obtained”, which was the proposed site to build a community kitchen and a dining room for Lila’s women colony. The location and the layout of today’s property perfectly fit further descriptions in this 1918 article.

Would 65 Wildwood Gardens be the first and only house built according to Lila’s vision? One can notice the latter side expansion, but the core of this building retains the integrity of its original construction dated 1910, not 1918. Why was this charming cottage built in such a remote and pristine place in 1910?

Perhaps 65 Wildwood Gardens was originally built to accommodate J. Kamiye, one of the few living masters of all three Japanese, Indian and Chinese architectural arts, brought over from Japan by the Tiffany Studios to oversee the construction of the Havens’ mansion. He must have lived somewhere, while his craftsmen “camped for years by the brook that flowed at the bottom of the ravine”… The cottage was then remodeled to prepare for Lila’s plan and remains, hidden by the trees, a unique place with intimate, framed views of Oakland and the Bay with San Francisco on the horizon beyond.

If you wish to see the property, call Christophe at 415/283-8894 to set an appointment.