Page Street Townhomes Go Vertical
An eco-conscious urban oasis with a diminutive footprint sprouts in Berkeley’s Ocean View district.
Photo by Ramona d’Viola, Ilumus Photography
Four newly finished Berkeley townhomes—802, 804, 806, and 808 Page St.—hit the perfect trifecta for infill development: a skilled architect, an enthusiastic investor, and a willing seller. Architect Matt Wadlund, principal of Wadlund + Design Studio, recently found himself at the right place and right time in Berkeley’s Ocean View district.
“The owner of the property approached me about an infill development,” said Wadlund, “and I had investors looking for a project. It all came together pretty nicely.”
Better known for its chichi shops and au courant restaurants, the upscale Fourth Street retail district was carved from a gritty nexus of heavy industry several decades ago. Today, mixed among the mélange of manufacturing, add a brewery, a coffee roaster, and a cluster of aging single-family homes for a vision of what this area looks like from an urban planning perspective: ripe for infill development.
What was once a blighted compound surrounded by slabs of concrete and chain-link fence has been transformed into a hyper-modern eco-conscious urban enclave. Four 1,350-square-foot townhomes share space with a newly designed medical devices research and development shop as part of the agreement with the property owner, an industrial designer and manufacturer.
“This mixed-use approach reflects the neighborhood’s ethos,” said Wadlund. “It’s aggressively urban by design.”
With little room to spare, Wadlund maximized every inch of the property in thoughtful and purposeful ways. Clad in dark gray metal, the four units (and R&D shop) share a paver stone and decomposed granite driveway with covered carports for each unit. The driveway material allows water to percolate back into the ground instead of the sewer system, one of the many thoughtful design elements found throughout Wadlund’s projects, including one around the corner.
“The new owners will get a book on how to ‘use’ their home,” said Wadlund. “From solar to gray water and natural cooling techniques, these townhomes utilize the best practices for high-density, low-impact urban design.”
Photo by Ramona d' Viola, Ilumus Photography
Each home’s diminutive footprint is made up for in verticality. Enter the ground floor to a sun-drenched en suite master with private outdoor patio. Instead, the suite could serve as a home office or an Airbnb rental. Versatility abounds. At approximately 300 square feet, the room is made spacious by floor-to-ceiling windows and the outdoor access.
Walk up a flight of stairs to the sleeping quarters where Wadlund’s use of opaque materials and high window placement allows for an unexpected abundance of natural light while maintaining a modicum of privacy. One room features shoji-screen inspired sliding doors that open up the space completely, turning the area into another versatile, multipurpose room dependent on an owner’s needs.
Up another flight of stairs is a spacious aerie with bird’s-eye views of the beautiful bay. This inviting room is where most of the living happens, because the multifunction space acts as living and dining rooms with a built-in window seat that lends a cozy charm to an otherwise hyper-modern dwelling.
The condo’s efficient kitchen, equipped with energy-sipping appliances, provides plenty of counter and cooking space.
“I specified these homes with smaller refrigerators, perhaps one of the largest energy consumers in the home,” said Wadlund. “People who live in this neighborhood will most likely be eating out a lot, so we downsized the fridge and used the extra space for storage.”
Are you ready to summit? The ultimate climb and the structure’s third flight of stairs leads to a rooftop patio accessed via a sliding hatch that doubles as a skylight. At the push of a button, the hatch slides back allowing passage to the roof—and jaw-dropping panoramic Bay Area views. Designed to accommodate the living room’s high ceilings, the rooftop provides a platform for the home’s solar panels and a cozy little nest to take in the world.
Looks like you’ve made it to the top.
808 Page St., Ocean View district, Berkeley
1,350 square feet
Agent: Rudy Gonzalez, Red Oak Realty,