Originally built in 1914, the home that now occupies 5589 Lawton Avenue was rebuilt just ten years ago, with an integral emphasis on craftsmanship, sustainability, and livability. Every aspect beyond the front steps was constructed as part of this undertaking, yet the elements that make up the home reveal storied dimensions, many appearing as if they might have inhabited this place for the past century. By virtue of the owner’s professional expertise in visual arts, it conveys a stylized earthy-elegant aesthetic, gives prominence to natural design components, and extends its living space, savoring its haven-like surroundings. Its serene indoor-outdoor environment offers the mecca of Rockridge within steps. Yet from the home, its cottage and luxuriant garden, one would have no awareness of the proximity to that hub.
The hamlet of Rockridge, unique in its composition as both an alluring residential neighborhood and commercial district, nears the top of the walkability spectrum. It captures the idyllic duality of a charming livable area that lies on the verge of the shopping, dining, entertainment, and BART mix of the commercial quarter, renowned for being as tony as it is casual, current as it is established, and useful as it is enjoyable.
The shingled exterior, suggestive of Arts-and-Crafts style, is in good company on leafy Lawton, among well-preserved homes rich in architectural character. Beyond the façade, the home embodies a genre of its own, blending antique elements, custom woodwork, innovative design and built-in components. Three floors of comfortable splendor include an open floor-plan main level whose back wall opens nearly entirely to a veranda. It overlooks and connects to a meticulously composed garden, showcasing groupings of roses, hydrangeas, a graceful magnolia, and level lawn, all outlined by hornbeam trees that create a privacy screen. Within the garden a detached cottage contains a full bath. Two spacious, cathedral-ceilinged bedrooms plus a balcony and full bath occupy the top floor, and a lower-level studio space offers a separate entry.
A timeless aesthetic juxtaposes with contemporary advantages. All custom crafted, casement windows and French doors, cabinetry, Douglas Fir floors, walls, doors and ceilings abounding with beams were specially stained and treated to age through a natural progression. While elements take on a time-honored tone, they incorporate modern qualities: windows and doors are all double paned, and radiant heat lies beneath floors throughout. The kitchen orbits a hand-built birch island topped with brushed stainless that cleverly conceals refrigerator and freezer drawers amid cabinetry, across from which are similarly faced double dishwasher drawers, all by Fisher & Paykel. An antique stone sink is set amid durable PaperStone countertop with a leather-tone appearance.
An airy sanctuary, the second floor and its spacious bedrooms benefit from vaulted ceilings. Both grant garden outlooks, the master from a private balcony that also offers wide-ranging views of treed hillscapes. Within the master, a dressing area-closet designed with screens instead of doors adds to the airy, open effect. Intermixing new fixtures with a vintage freestanding tub, the bathroom additionally incorporates a natural-stone-clad shower. Similarly, the main-floor powder room expresses heirloom characteristics.
The lower level, presents an industrial-chic area for work or play and capacity for storage in its generously proportioned closets.