Spectacular on Many Levels

This 5,500-square-foot, four-level spec home, which luxury home builder Todd Dworman sold before completion last year, seems to cascade down its steeply sloped site, providing nearly every room with a fantastic view of San Francisco Bay and the surroun...

October 01, 2002

 

"This is where you sell the house," says builder Todd Dworman, describing the kitchen and its adjoining family room as "the place where people really live. We looked at everything when we designed this space, from how to get the best views to making sure that it was well laid out for cooking and entertaining." The kitchen features custom cherry cabinetry, granite counters and a hand-hammered steel backsplash with a copper finish.

This 5,500-square-foot, four-level spec home, which luxury home builder Todd Dworman sold before completion last year, seems to cascade down its steeply sloped site, providing nearly every room with a fantastic view of San Francisco Bay and the surrounding area.

"I recognized that this was a tough location," Dworman says of the narrow East Bay site he selected. "But I knew the views would be unparalleled."

The $2.6 million California Mediterranean home features a street-level garage, courtyard and entry vestibule from which three floors of living space descend down the hillside.

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Floor Plans

Dworman says the topography and the importance of maximizing the view dictated a multilevel design. "We decided to make the dramatic slope of the lot an asset by making the entry a centerpiece circular staircase within a square tower." Not only does the staircase give the house a pivotal focus, but the combination of wrought-iron and cherry finishes in this space transforms it into a sculptural element as well.

 

Flagstone terraces, such as this one off the breakfast nook, extend living space to the outdoors on every level of the house.

Dworman also incorporated an elevator into the home. "It's the first one I've done, but the homeowner really loves it," he says. "It really only amounts to about 1% of the cost of the house, and that's not much considering the accessibility it adds to the living space."

While the entry tower functions as a central connection for all levels, it also separates the main-floor living areas from a multiroom flex space. This self-contained area is an element that Dworman likes to incorporate into all his residential projects. Featuring its own entrance from the outside, the private area can be used in various ways as a home office, an in-law or guest suite, au pair accommodations or even rental space.

With its indoor and outdoor entertaining space on every floor, Dworman describes the home as "dynamite for entertaining and also completely comfortable." But he says his philosophy is that a house is sold from two places the kitchen and the master suite and in this house both are exceptional.

 

The formal living room features views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge out of floor-to-ceiling windows. Exposed cedar beams accentuate the vaulted ceiling. The fireplace features a solid slab granite surround.

On the main floor, which is one floor below the garage, the kitchen features Brazilian cherry floors and cabinetry and imported granite countertops. It's designed to be as efficient as it is beautiful. "It is completely commercial, not just in looks but in function," says Dworman. He eschews using too many appliances in this key space, choosing to emphasize "quality rather than fluff."

One more floor down, the master suite has spectacular views in the bedroom and bath, a circular limestone shower with multiple shower heads and more than 50 linear feet of customized walk-in closet space.

"I find that most clients really appreciate a high level of quality in their home," says Dworman, "but sometimes they wonÆt notice this on their own. You have to make sure to point out these features to them."

Style of Home - California Mediterranean

Location - Oakland, Calif.

Total Square Footage - 5,500

Market Value - $2.6 million

Hard Costs - $275 per square foot (excluding land)

Builder - TJ Enterprises, San Francisco

Architect - GLLZ Architects, San Francisco

Spec Home - Wide range of buyer markets, including singles, families and empty nesters; home office potential

Major Products Used - Appliances: KitchenAid (refrigerator), Fisher-Paykel (dishwasher), Wolf (range), GE (microwave) - Cabinetry: Diablo Valley Cabinets - Doors: Sierra Pacific (exterior), Well Hung Doors (interior) - Flooring: Brazilian cherry - Fireplace: Heatilator, Everest - Plumbing Fixtures: Elkay - Windows: Sierra Pacific - Exterior: stucco - Roofing: MCA Clay Tile - Garage Doors: Summit Door Co.

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