Will Jazz Icon Dave Brubeck’s former mid-century treehouse in NorCal sway a buyer for $3 million?
A stunning mid-century modern home that towers 16 feet into the air recently hit the market for $3 million in Oakland, California.
The unique residence was built in 1953 for the jazz legend Dave Brubeck And his wife, Iola. The couple lived in a four-bedroom, 2,652-square-foot residence from 1954 to 1960. The beloved musician died in 2012.
Just a few years ago, the stunning Wilton, Connecticut home where the great modernist jazz musician lived with his family when they moved to the East Coast was listed for $2.75 million.
As for Brubeck’s excavations in Auckland, the property on top of a rocky outcrop presented a challenge.
“The home’s unique design is its most impressive feature,” says the listing agent. Emma Morris, from Red Oak Real Estate. “Architect, Beverly D. ThornHe is best known for his use of steel in residential construction. At the time, Bethlehem Steel was promoting steel products to architects across the country. Thorne was known for using the strength of steel in extremely difficult topographic designs.
Morris explains that Brubeck struck up a great friendship with Thorne, and they spent several years discussing ideas for the house before arriving at the final design. The result is a house with distinctive steel beams that appear to float above the landscape.
“Most modern homes are built on a hillside lot on a slope or slope, with the house clinging to the side,” Morris says. “This house has 2,300 square feet of flat living space that slopes down. The rock in the living room looks like it’s piercing through the belly of the house. You don’t see this type of design every day. When you walk into the house from the driveway, you see the bottom of the house and the rocky ridge.”
This same rock supports a curved glass pane that served as Brubeck’s work desk. It was in this house that the Dave Brubeck Quartet rehearsed. It’s where Brubeck conceived the idea for “Time Out,” the first jazz album to sell a million copies; It is where the hit songs “Take Five” and “Blue Rondo à la Turk” were written.
Offering a natural and melodic flow from the interior spaces to the exterior, the striking design remains largely the same. A variety of thoughtful interior renovations have been made over the years.
“Brubeck made a number of updates after moving in, as his family continued to grow,” Morris points out. “He expanded the living room space and music performance space and added two studio units underneath the house. The current owner purchased the house in 1974 and remodeled some of the bedroom spaces as they were originally set up almost like train cabins, all in a row.
The house’s kitchen and one of the bathrooms were remodeled in 2004.
Morris notes that the house was built “at a moment in time” when the post-war common people were trying to “live in a new way,” adding that Thorne “published the modern house to the masses.”
She believes the next owner will be someone with a passion for mid-century modern architecture.
“It will definitely be someone looking for an architectural statement as their home,” she predicts. “The house is really a piece of history. … I can see it being used as a primary or secondary residence. It’s in a great location for the Bay Area, as far as shops and location. It’s in the heart of where you want to live and work.”