Gothic ‘Hume Castle’ in Berkeley Hills hits market at $5 million

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Michael Wan/Staff

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A stunning home overlooking a spectacular view of the Bay Area located at 2900 Buena Vista Way in the Berkeley Hills is now on the market for $5 million, according to the house’s real estate agent Bebe McRae.

Nicknamed “Hume Castle,” the house’s style mimics that of a 13th century French medieval cloister and has been designated as an official landmark since 1985, according to SF Curbed. Most of the original architecture from the 1920s is still intact today, McRae said.

The current owners, who have lived in the home for the past 30 years, are planning to sell the house and move to a smaller place now that their children are grown, according to McRae.

Originally, from 1918 to 1924, the house belonged to Samuel Hume, a former campus professor who taught in the dramatic literature and art departments while also serving as the director of the Greek Theater. His wife Portia was a psychiatrist who also taught at UC Berkeley, according to the Social Network and Archival Context website.

Alongside architect John Hudson Thomas, Hume planned and designed the house and began construction in 1928, said McRae. Thomas, who completed his graduate degree in architecture at UC Berkeley in 1904, later went on to design other Berkeley landmark houses, such as the Captain Maury House on Shattuck Avenue and Loring House on Spruce Street, according to the Berkeley Historical Plaque Project website.

“(This house is a) remarkable piece of Berkeley history,” McRae said. “John Hudson Thomas … was so influential in making Berkeley a special place.”

The Hume family lived in the house from 1928 until 1975, McRae said. The house was then briefly owned by an architect named Michael Sederin, she added, who remodeled the kitchen. The current owners have lived there since Sederin’s departure.

The 5,746 square foot house includes a solar heating system, a koi pond and a grand terrace, according to SF Curbed. The exterior of the house, which is constructed out of stone, surrounds an inner courtyard of Gothic arches. The Gothic motif is also recreated in the interior of the home, resulting in “castle-like imagery” composed of domed ceilings and heavy wood beams.

The average size of homes sold in Berkeley over the past six months have averaged around 1,700 square feet, according to Shahin Tabib, a Berkeley real estate agent. Hume Castle is more than three times this size, though Tabib added that there are other larger, more expensive houses in different parts of the Bay Area.

Contact Jennifer Wong at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @jenniferwong_dc.

Contact Roann Pao at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @roann_pao.

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  • Nunya Beeswax

    Homes in the Professorville neighborhood of Palo Alto are currently fetching between $3 and $11 million. Everybody wants to live here, apparently.