A historic 106-year-old mansion sitting on three-acres in Berkeley is on the market for $5.995 million.
A recent price drop on the majestic 12,000-square-foot Beaux-Arts Spring Mansion brought the tag down from $7.5 million, according to SFGate.
“It is a very unique property and it will require a very unique buyer,” Chan told the Bay Area news website. “We knew that from the very beginning. We knew that someone would need to have a certain wherewithal to absorb such a palace.”
The owner of the estate, who lives in Thousand Oaks, commissioned an update of several key elements of the gleaming white main house, according to the listing. Listing agent Herman Chan of Bay Sotheby’s International Realty brought in HGTV host Cora Sue Anthony to revamp the interior, which is designated a City of Berkeley historical landmark.
The two-story main house at 1960 San Antonio was built of steel-reinforced concrete over an 18-month period from 1912 to 1914. It has seven bedrooms and 6.5 baths, with seven ornately carved fireplaces throughout the house.
Six half-moon concrete steps lead up to a grand entry portico and an arts-and-crafts front door opens to a vaulted entrance hall where a 30-foot tall atrium rises to the original stained glass skylight.
The magnificent of the house is apparent in the video above, which was provided by Chan.
“Four massive Tuscan columns support the wraparound second floor gallery,” the listing reads. “An Italian marble fountain sits in the center of the hall. Impressive as this is, the real show stopper lies beyond: A 15-foot wide grand staircase leading up to the second floor gallery. Oak is used lavishly throughout the house—in moldings, bookcases, and doors. The doorways are over a foot thick, and the doorway openings are appropriate for huge rooms.”
Inside, the architect’s eclectic influences are obvious, whether it’s Vienna Secessionist, Arts and Crafts, Egyptian, or Gothic elements.
The home needed tweaking before being marketed, according to realtor.com.
“The trick was, how do you keep the integrity of the house but make it so that anyone can live here?” Anthony told realtor.com. “Staging is like makeup. You want a nice foundation to highlight certain features, but you don’t want to be clownish.”
For example, the “gaudy” interior paint was replaced with neutral tones, according to the real estate website. The red carpet covering the staircase was replaced with a toned-down pattern.
The house offers splendid views of the San Francisco Bay from Marin County to the South Bay. In addition to the main house, the property has a detached gymnasium/dance studio, tennis court, a cottage, two reflecting pools, and a smaller house. These amenities are in need of restoration, the listing says.
The mansion was built by John Hopkins Spring, an entrepreneur who developed much of North Berkeley and Albany, and was instrumental in the building of Berkeley’s Claremont Hotel. Spring began buying land in the East Bay prior to the San Francisco earthquake. He made millions after 1906 selling to San Franciscans who fled the city for safer locations across the bay. In 1912, he commissioned John Hudson Thomas to design a grand residence designed to promote his development of the Thousand Oaks area. The result was an imposing structure on the nearly bare hillside that was visible for miles even, reportedly, from San Francisco.
The Springs moved into the mansion in 1914, but Spring lived there barely a year and sold the mansion after his divorce in 1918. Sixteen acres of the original garden were subdivided and sold. The house and remaining acreage became the Cora L. Williams Institute of Creative Development. Williams offered a holistic and creative children’s education method. After her death, the home transformed into a liberal arts college.
In 1975 the estate once again became a private residence.