210 Alvarado Rd, Berkeley CA
For Sale: $2,335,000
Situated in the hills of northern California, blue shutters and a red tile roof make this piece of Berkeley real estate look like it would be more at home among the lavender fields of Provence, rather than a half-hour drive from San Francisco.
California became a state in 1850 and it's pretty difficult to find homes for sale that date any more than ten years before that. In an effort to bring some history to real estate in the sunshine state, a homeowner in Berkeley incorporated 17th century French antiquities, making the home look like it was built in 1698 rather than 1998.
"It's a new house, it has a massive modern foundation, but because of all these old pieces — which are not just a little bit here and there but are prominent to the structure — it feels like an older house of great character," said listing agent Peter Damm.
The home is currently listed for $2,335,000, and the price does include numerous French antiques throughout the home, including:
- The metal gate at the entrance to the property
- Provencal roof tiles
- The iron railings
- Arched kitchen window
- Spiral staircase in the detached studio
The most significant antique part of the home is undoubtedly the floor tiles found in the living and dining area of the main home. Once a part of a 17th century monastery in Burgundy, France, one of the tiles has two unmistakable paw prints, a mark that neither Damm nor the current owners know the history of.
"My clients bought it from the person who built the house so some of these things are anecdotal," explained Damm. The story goes is that often when mud tiles were made, they would be placed in the sun to dry. Occasionally a wild or domestic animal would come by and step into the tile before the bricks were fully formed.
"We don't have explicit knowledge of the exact animal or how it happened," Damm said.
Rather than filling the home with historic pieces, the antiques in the home are integral to the structure. Even the wood ceiling beams, measuring nearly 12 to 16 inches thick, were reclaimed from an old barn in Canada.
"None of this is what you get at the local home-building supply store," said Damm.
With current low mortgage rates, this French piece of history will run a new homeowner $12,485 a month.
View the full listing at Zillow here.
The current owners of the estate aren't sure how the paw prints came to be in the centuries-old tile floor.