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This lovely 1890 Victorian in Bella Vista combines the graciousness of the past with the comforts of modern updates to create a home filled with style and charm. Set on a deep lot, with a beautifully planted back yard, it is truly a gardener’s delight.
The front yard creates a nice welcome with its simple landscaping of Japanese maple, fig, rosemary and lavender. The fragrance of a honeysuckle vine greets visitors at the door. Inside, the large living room is filled with light from two sides of windows; high ceilings, a bay window and warm oak floors signal elegance from another era. The decorative molding and vintage ceiling medallions are yet more architectural fine points. The dining room has a beautiful fireplace and original built-in cabinets and drawers. The kitchen has a big, open feel - granite counters and a stainless range are modern touches, while the generous pantry spaces add some vintage charm.
Down the hall is a full bathroom and spacious bedroom overlooking the backyard. A bonus room provides a space for an office or study, and the laundry area is conveniently located off the kitchen.
Upstairs are two bedrooms and a full bath. The main bedroom has a large picture window that brings in lots of light, while angled ceilings add a cozy touch. A smaller bedroom has a nice view of the back garden.
The backyard is full of fabulous surprises. Out the back door is a roomy patio ideal for outdoor entertaining, complete with a pizza oven. The patio is bordered with beds of lush bushes, flowers and herbs. A grassy lawn area has wonderful California native plants and delicate flowers and rose bushes, leading to bountiful beds of vegetables such as corn, squash, tomatoes, peppers and sunflowers. With its layers of lovingly-tended landscaping the yard is enchanting at every turn, and is a true garden-to-table experience.
The Bella Vista neighborhood has a sunny microclimate, a mixture of all lifestyles and is close to everything. Nearby are the restaurants and shopping of Park Boulevard in Glenview; the farmers' market and shops on Lakeshore Avenue; and the Thai, Pizzeria and Filipino cuisine found in the neighborhood. Commuters will find plenty of public transportation, and easy access to the freeway makes excursions farther afield a breeze.
This home is not only handsomely historic, but it is also bright and modern with a spectacular garden, a combination of qualities that is uniquely Oakland.
The Bella Vista neighborhood is one of Oakland's best kept secrets - close to everything, quiet at night and genuinely a mixture of all lifestyles. A few blocks away in neighboring Clinton are several excellent neighborhood restaurants: Michelin recommended Champa Garden (Thai/Laotian), Philomena (Pizza and Beer), and Kainbigan (Filipino). Portal Restaurant and some of Oakland's best taco trucks are also nearby. Sunny all the time, it is a quick trip to Lake Merritt, the farmers' market and the excellent shopping at Lakeshore, and is near to the Glenview neighborhood, with the delights of Park Sushi, Bellanico and Park Burger.
The neighborhood has a rich history. Several mansions were built in the area, including Arbor Villa, the estate of Francis M. “Borax” Smith. The mansion stood between East 28th Street and East 22nd Street until the Great Depression when it was demolished and the property sold off in parcels to build more modest homes. The line of tall palms down 9th Avenue which ran along the eastern border of the property, is all that remains today of the fantastic estate.
Nearby in Clinton, the Ellen Kenna House, an 8,000+ square foot Victorian masterpiece designed by Augustus Laver, still stands on East 21st Street near 12th Avenue. Across East 21st Street and behind a row of more recent homes, stands Cedar Croft, once the home of John J. Valentine, a gun slinging stage coach driver who rose to become president of Wells Fargo Bank. It is rumored that Wyatt Earp, Doc Holiday and Black Bart were among the guests at Cedar Croft.