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1330 Albina Ave ~ A Chronology

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S: 1330 Albina Avenue - A Chronology

FC: 1330 Albina Avenue Est. 1889

1: 1330 Albina Ave. was built in 1889 for $4900 for the Julius Alfred Lueders family. The design appears to have come from a pattern book (Shoppell’s Modern House – 1887), with significant modifications. It remained in the family until the death of son Edgar Lueders in 1971, when the estate sold off all the furnishings (including those from the estate of Frieda Frohwerk, Edgar’s sister) and family photos. The house, which was in disrepair, was purchased in 1972 by Thomas Roe and Stephen Johnson for $32,000 ($8,000 down payment). The intent was to save it and turn it into an artist's commune. The only other person known to be interested in the property (and the house next door at 1320 Albina), who was thought to want it for the land and its potential for duplexes, did not appear at the probate sale, and thus the house was saved from demolition. When the property was acquired by Roe and Johnson in 1972, an open covered porch on the north side of the house | Background | Lueders home 1905 | was totally rotted out, as was the summer kitchen. The windmill was gone, the roof leaked, and some windows were broken. All original lighting fixtures were gone, and the overmantel from the dining room fireplace had been removed. There were only two plugs in the house, one in the kitchen and one in the only bathroom, which was located on the second floor. The kitchen had been remodeled sometime in the 1940s, and what had been the kitchen had become an eating area. The old butler’s pantry, a much smaller space, had become the kitchen. Wallpaper was peeling and plaster was cracked and falling on all three floors of the house, though not severely. Nothing had been painted for years. But perhaps the worst problem for the house had been caused by intentional action: Edgar Lueders’ and his friend Walter Moresi’s wine making hobby. They had dug out a space on the south side of the house, right at the foundation, tall enough for a man to stand in but only 3-4 feet wide, to house their wine making activities. This caused the house to settle 5 inches to the south, a defect that could never be completely corrected. The kitchen still is tilted about one inch to the south. The saving grace for the house was that, even though there was some leaking, it had a decent roof on it (done by Elliot and Elliot, probably sometime in the 1940s), so the house was fairly well sealed. Only the summer kitchen and porch had major rotting problems. Animals had gained entry to the house as well, and had caused some damage to the original wiring between the kitchen and bathroom, though this fact was unknown at the time of purchase.

2: Despite the condition of the house at purchase, tenants (including Johnson, but not Roe) moved in right away. Most had been assembled by Wendy Wilde (daughter of Cornel Wilde). There were 6-10 people living in the 8 bedroom/1 bath house at various times. It was a year or more before Roe finished rehabilitating houses on Genoa and Harper St. in Oakland. He briefly moved to San Francisco, and then moved into 1330 Albina to begin working on it. One of the tenants, John Oldani, did much of the initial work, which included some roof repair and sheet rocking the front parlor ceiling. Roe began working on another house with partner Jim Vanderbeek. At the same time he was a partner in an antique store with John Koch. As a result, very little substantive work was done on 1330 for several years. Tenants certainly cleaned up and decorated their rooms, but the only significant accomplishment was the replacement of the brick foundation on the south side of the house with a cement one in 1973. The new foundation used 35 cubic yards of cement. It was dug 8' deep and filled with 6 inches of gravel and 7.5' of concrete. It was intended to accommodate the addition of a small basement. In 1975 Roe had planned to begin rehabilitating the house in earnest. He had refinanced, borrowing $45,000. After paying off the remaining $24,000 of the original loan and buying out Johnson, he had $15,000 to work with. Unfortunately, at this moment the animal-chewed wiring came to light (literally). Bare wires rested on one another, creating an arc that wasn’t quite enough to blow the fuse, but was enough to begin heating the interior of the wall between the bathroom and the old maid quarters (at the time being used as a bedroom). During the night, while everyone was asleep, the heat caused smoldering, which filled the house with smoke. Eventually it reached a flash point and burst into flames, burning the wall between the bathroom and bedroom and eventually lighting the bed on fire. There was a guest (not tenant) sleeping in that room, who was awakened by the fire. He was able to rouse the other tenants, who fled the house, many au naturale. Roe hurried to the third floor, where the smoke was the greatest, to make sure everyone got out. He ran into a recalcitrant Johnson, however, who refused to go anywhere without first finding his shorts. In an interview in 2010, Roe recalled that the smoke inhalation certainly would have killed everyone had there not been someone in the old maid’s quarters who was awakened by the flames. | First Years as a Commune

3: Aftermath of 1974 Fire | Though everyone escaped and was fine, the fire was a disaster for the house. The entire south side was consumed, and everyone had to move out. Firefighters, in an attempt to rid the house of anything that looked like it could be flammable, had shoved cardboard boxes out of the third story windows. They were filled with rare Victorian glass that Roe had collected from all over the country for use in replacing the lighting fixtures. Everything was smashed. The insurance company did tarp the house to protect it from further damage, but when it came to paying on the claim, it depreciated the value of all the materials, saying that the house was, after all, over 80 years old. The payout was tiny, setting back the restoration effort dramatically. Roe had rehabilitated a house on 57th St. in Oakland in 1971 or 1972, which he had sold to Jacques DeKervor and his wife Ann. DeKervor, a draftsman working in San Francisco, was called upon at this time to become part of the 1330 rehabilitation team. He quickly learned carpentry, surpassing Roe’s skills in a few short months, and became one of the first true craftsmen to work on the house for a prolonged period of time. Roe continued to live in the house during reconstruction of the south wing. He recalled that the bathroom was still usable, even though it didn’t have any exterior walls. Closing the house in became the first priority, and he took out a permit to add a new 9’x12’ bay to the kitchen – the only true departure from the original footprint of the house. After the first inspection of the bay, Roe decided to extend it all the way up the three floors, adding a south tower to balance the one on the north side of the house. During the final inspection, inspector Wally McMillan saw the tower and said “Ah, yes. I remember; that was there before the fire (wink wink),” and the 51’ addition was allowed to stay. | Rebuilding south side | "Open air" bathroom circa 1976

4: Next came reconstruction of the kitchen. Roe and Vanderbeek designed the space together. They wanted it to be a comfortable place for people to gather, but intended that it should have multiple purposes. The newly added bay would serve as a place to put a table for eating and to use as a desk. The space that had been two rooms would become one – a gigantic kitchen – and the old rotted out summer kitchen would be rebuilt into a separate pantry. DeKervor built a 5’x10’ island in the middle of the space, with sinks on both sides, the stove at one end, drawers and storage on one side, and filing cabinets and drawers on the other. All the fixtures and the sinks were reclaimed, from Ohmega Salvage. The countertop was made of small octagonal tiles. On the north side of the room, three old European pine storage cabinets that Roe had found in an antique store were put together and trimmed out to look like one large cabinet. With help from his father and a friend who worked for NASA, who introduced him to closed cell rigid foam, Roe insulated the left hand cabinet, tiled it, added a compressor, and created a refrigerator. On the right side he created a pantry. Belgian linen hung on the walls. Even though the dining room hadn’t been damaged in the fire, work commenced on it at the same time the kitchen work was proceeding. Chad Rudolph, one of the very best wall workers in the Bay Area, was living in the house at the time, and he volunteered to stretch fabric on the walls because he wanted to learn that part of the wall trade. Roe picked a velveteen which matched the hues of the woodwork, and Rudolph backed it with batting and then stretched it onto the walls, creating a soft wall covering. (Rudolph also hung the linen in the kitchen, but this was glued onto the walls. Both created beautiful results.) All the woodwork in the room (wainscoting, trim) was the original old growth redwood and was refinished. The ceiling lath and plaster was removed, and insulation and sheetrock were installed. Finally, the plaster ceiling medallion was replaced and painted to resemble the redwood. The tile work around the fireplace in the room is original, but the cast iron grate was removed by a tenant and sold at a flea market. | Velveteen walls and tile work in dining room | Ceiling medallion and chandelier | Detail of fabric on wall

5: The next project entailed adding two full bathrooms to the second story. In the original design of the house, the staircase to the third floor was accessed through a doorway near the top of the first floor stairwell. That area, plus the bedroom behind it, needed to give way to add the new bathrooms. Roe and DeKervor had salvaged a beautiful spiral staircase from a church that had been torn down in the Western Addition in the City, and they used the smallest bedroom on the floor, on the eastern side, for the new stairwell and laundry room. The two then created a master bath to serve the second floor master bedroom (the former maid’s quarters, bathroom, and linen closet) and a second bathroom to serve the two remaining original bedrooms. DeKervor built the bathrooms, including sink cabinets and tub surrounds. He used old hospital tubs, and the wainscoting came from Berkeley Architectural Salvage. The toilets were from the original Sunrise Salvage, and it was Roe’s idea to remove the porcelain pillow tanks and hang them on the walls, in keeping with the style and period of the house. Richard Baxter built the elongated octagon windows. Shower rooms were planned for each bathroom, but execution was delayed until much later. However, the plumbing was installed for them at this time. The south shower room was plumbed as a steam room. The design, which has a distinctive look, wasn't meant to emulate anything. It is completely functional. The arched ceiling enables condensing steam to run down to the crown molding, which is pitched back to act as a gutter. This keeps cold condensation from dripping directly onto anyone in the shower/steam room. When the shower rooms in the two bathrooms were finally completed, the tiles (new) came from Walter Zanger in San Francisco. Martin Patino did the tiling in the south shower/steam room, and Doug Dawson did the work in the north shower room. | Porcelain pillow tank above toilet | Arched ceiling in steam/shower room | Spiral staircase to third floor

6: The northwest corner of the lot had contained an old well and wind mill that had originally been used to provide water to the house. The well had long since been abandoned, and the windmill had collapsed and been thrown into it. Roe decided to reclaim the well and use the water for landscape irrigation. It was necessary to keep a pump running continuously while the well was being cleaned out to keep it from filling back up. The well, with its original brick lining still intact, was about 5’ in diameter at the top, but the depth was not precisely known. On a quiet Sunday, Roe, alone on the property, began lowering a 40’ ladder into the well. At about 25’-30’ down, he hit what he thought was bottom, stabilized the ladder, and began descending. Unfortunately, the ladder had actually come to rest on the remains of one of the structural timbers that had been used in the construction of the well. It was rotted out, gave way, and Roe rode the ladder all the way down to the bottom, becoming completely submerged. When Roe scrambled back to the top of the ladder, he was still about 12’ from the well’s rim, with no one around and no one expected. And with the rim so wide, it was only because of his height (6’3”) that he was able to spread his arms and legs wide enough to “crab” himself out. | (Not Much) Work in the 1980s | Covered well used for irrigation | Original bricks line the well | Windmill over well 1905

7: Rehabilitation was put on hold for a number of years as Roe worked on other houses in Berkeley and in the City. As mentioned earlier, he had replaced the foundation on the south side of the house soon after purchasing it, due to the settlement on that side caused by the wine making room. And because he had grown up in Ohio, where he had never seen a house without a basement, he had added a small one at that time. But in1996 he began the process of replacing the rest of the foundation and doing seismic work. He took out a permit for the foundation work in order to bring it up to code for a three story house. Friend Glenn Martin, a civil engineer who specializes in structural engineering, designed the foundation and then worked to install all the specified steel components. In what can only be described as the ultimate labor of love for the house, Roe had all the woodwork removed throughout the house (with the exception of the already completed dining room), then all the lath and plaster removed (except from the ceilings in the two parlors and the northwest bedroom). Every place there was a door or window, steel anchors were installed and tied to the foundation. Cellulose insulation was blown in, and plywood was installed and nailed off to code for shear walling. Thus, every wall in the house, top to bottom, is completely shear walled, with the exception of the dining room. Roe hired a plasterer to replaster the walls, but after seeing the entryway completed was unhappy with the quality of the work and chose to finish the work on the first and second floors with his own crew. The third floor was left unfinished until much later. While the walls were opened up for the shear wall work, Roe added all new electrical wiring and had the house plumbed for the eventual inclusion of radiators throughout. He had removed the old floor furnace years earlier and had prepared the house for central heating, but had removed all that work when he determined that the radiators would be much more efficient and would provide a higher quality heat. In 1992 work began on a new roof. The original roof had been redwood shingles, but had almost entirely been replaced by asphalt composition. The shingles over the front porch were, however, original and were in very good condition. Roe determined to restore the roof to its original redwood shingle construction because of its demonstrated durability. Through one of his connections in the construction/restoration trade, he had learned about a man in Humboldt County who had the rights to harvest stumps from old growth redwood tracts. The stumps, often 10’-15’ (or more) in diameter and 10’ or 20’ high, were not originally harvested because they were gnarly, and thus not suitable for milling. However, they were fine for shingles, though difficult to split because the graining was curved. Roe contracted with the man to custom make all the roof shingles for the house. He also made all the side shingles for a later addition to the west side of the house. (The south side shingles applied to the new construction following the fire are the only ones on the house made of cedar.) | The Structural Phase

8: Replacing the roof took 8-9 months. Except for the old tower, which didn’t need replacing, Roe’s crew rebuilt the entire roof structure for the roofer, to allow for 4” ridged foam insulation. The redwood gutters were restored, cutting out rot and filling the space with epoxy. Gutters were only replaced if they were entirely unusable. Oliver Glover, known in Berkeley for outstanding shingle roof work, was hired to apply the shingles. Between Glover’s and Roe’s crews, it is estimated that approximately 15 people worked to replace the roof. With his sizable investment sitting on top of the house, and knowing that the most vulnerable areas of a roof are the hips, Roe determined to add an element that had not been on the original building: copper tower caps and ridge caps. The huge Victorian next door to his childhood home had been lovingly and beautifully restored by his neighbor, and Roe remembered the incredible copper ridges that had been used. He contacted the old neighbor, who told him about the W.F. Norman Corporation in Nevada, Missouri, which still used the original equipment from the 1800s to stamp out the ridges. Roe got the catalog, determined the linear feet of coverage required, and placed the order. But the company offered nothing big enough for the towers or the main ridge on the house. For those, he turned to brothers Ed and Dave McKee and Kris Hill, all carpenters from Sonoma, who commuted to Berkeley daily to hand build the tower caps and the main ridge cap. (The three also rebuilt and enclosed the sunroom in 1996, and later added the eyebrow dormer to the third floor.) During the reroofing all the old downspouts were replaced with copper piping. Hill did all the hand soldering. The three added the patina to the copper, and stained and put a wash on the shingles in order to make them appear old. About one week after completing the work, a painting contractor left a note saying that the house would look so nice if only it had a fresh coat of paint. Roe, Hill, and the McKees were overjoyed that their efforts had produced the desired result. | Copper tower and ridge caps | Roofing south tower (l to r): Kris Martin, Ed McKee, Roe, Richard Morrison, Dave McKee

9: The octagonal sunroom on the north side of the house had originally been a covered open sun porch. It was part of the wrap- around porch that extended all the way from the southeast corner of the house, along the east and north sides, and ended at the back pantry on the southwest corner. It was completely rotted out. When he began rebuilding it, Roe rotated it one facet to the west in order to take better advantage of the sun exposure. He also enclosed it, but designed it with doors that continued to allow access from front to back along the porch. The design was meticulously created by Roe and Glenn Martin. Martin also provided the significant engineering required. Because of the rotation of the sunroom, the original northwest corner of the house now intruded into it. At the first floor level it had to be removed. The corner is still exposed at the second story level, with the upper stories carried by deep beams engineered by Martin and specifically built for the house. In order to accommodate the new members, the walls of the small parlor/game room were furred out by a few inches. The cantilevers are about 17” deep and go all the way to the walls of the adjoining rooms. The patio/terrace on the west side of the house had been planned when Roe first bought the house in 1972, and its concrete retaining wall had been poured when the south foundation was shored up. Dirt from digging out the basement area was placed within the confines of the retaining wall, where it sat until the patio/terrace was actually built much later. This was the area onto which south facing doors of the sunroom were to open. All the timber used in the sunroom was recycled or reclaimed. For years, Roe had been purchasing used old growth redwood whenever he found it. The 3x14 floor joists came from the demolition of De La Salle Hall at St. Mary’s College High School at the end of the block, as did other framing materials. The four fixed windows came from a building being torn down at Mills College in Oakland and had been obtained from Berkeley Architectural Salvage (BAS) twenty or more years before construction began on the sunroom. The three french doors were milled from recycled wine barrels, also from BAS. The glass, however, is new tempered. | The Sunroom 1996-97, 2006-7 | Constructing the sunroom | Second floor northwest corner intrudes into sunroom

10: Determining where to place fixed windows vs. french doors was simple: if the opening led to a porch, french doors would be used; if it didn’t, and stairs would have been necessary to walk out of the sunroom, fixed windows would be used. The paneling is old growth redwood that had been the cargo on a truck that had gone over a ravine in northern California. Roe bought the salvage rights to it and, with his crew, had to climb to the bottom of the ravine and bring the wood up piece by piece. The paneling was then designed for the room and milled on site. The ceiling is tongue and groove old growth redwood salvaged from stables in Atherton which were undergoing seismic retrofitting. (In a fortuitous twist of fate, DeKervor had moved on to working on his own, and had landed the enormous job of handling the retrofit. The owners of the stables did not want to use the material in their rebuild, so DeKervor contacted Roe, who was able to have it simply for the cost of hauling it away.) The tongue and groove material was used exactly as it had been in the stables, but the ceiling beams had to be milled at Kris Hill’s shop in Sonoma. Roe loved the idea of lots of light in a room and loved pop-ups on a roof, and thus the idea of a skylight in the sunroom was born. The McKees and Hill constructed the ceiling with a large octagonal space in the center, and Roe built a skylight in place. From BAS he obtained old fire doors from the Cathedral flatiron building in downtown Oakland, removed the wire glass, and used it to create the watertight skylight cover. (The frames of the doors later became fencing on the north side of the property, with hardibacker filling in for the removed glass.) His plan was to find a stained glass dome to go under the skylight. Originally Hill thought he might build one, but that plan was put aside and Roe began a 10 year search for the right thing. After more than 10 years, he finally gave up and in 2006 talked to his master carpenter at that time, Martin Patino, about building a clear flat obscure glass ceiling. | (t) Paneling, and french doors milled from recycled wine barrels (c) Fixed window salvaged from demolition at Mills College (with Patino mugging for the camera) (b) Tongue and groove paneling salvaged from an Atherton stable

11: Within days of the discussion, Roe dropped by Ohmega Salvage, where he found a dome of German glass that had just arrived. It was thought to have originally come from a home in San Francisco, though it had passed through several hands and had been bought by Ohmega out of a bar, reputed to be Joe Namath’s favorite in the City. It was exactly the right size for the space, and though it was a bit busier than Roe would have preferred, he bought it. The center medallion was obtained at Ohmega. The window needed strengthening and restoration, and Dennis and Marine from Starbow Studios, who handled the glass restoration, taught Roe’s crew how to do the regluing. There is a steel framework around the bottom of the dome. The dome is actually floating in place, hanging from the structural beams of the roof by cables attached to that steel framework. It was put in place and then meticulously framed in by Patino with reclaimed old growth redwood. The panels which close the gap between the round wooden floating frame of the dome and the octagonal construction of the ceiling under the exterior skylight are also floating. They can simply be pushed up and out of the way if any of the many light bulbs surrounding the dome need to be replaced. The hardware in the room came from BAS, with the exception of the door handles, which are contemporary. And in one more stroke of good luck, Roe was able to obtain an historic piece of furniture, one too contemporary for the main part of the house, but perfectly suited to the new sunroom. John Koch (Roe’s partner from his antique store days) had been hired to run an estate sale at the Knowland mansion in Piedmont, which had a room in it entirely designed by Julia Morgan, including the furnishings. The new owners of the mansion did not find a sofa in the room to be particularly comfortable for them, and they chose to get rid of it. Roe got early notice from Koch, and though he actually tried to talk the owners of the mansion into keeping the sofa so that the Julia Morgan room would remain intact, when he failed he purchased the sofa for his own use. | (t) Restoring the domed skylight (c) Installed domed skylight (b) Sunroom construction. Left to right: Ed McKee (framer), John Dalbon (plumber), Roe, Dave McKee (framer)

12: The Y2K phenomenon brought both a disaster and a blessing to Roe. A fire of suspicious origin broke out in the kitchen. Roe was working in San Francisco at the time, but neighbors saw the smoke and called the fire department. Fire damage was limited to the kitchen, where the pantry cabinet, kitchen island, and parts of the floor burned and had to be rebuilt. But smoke damage permeated the entire downstairs. Black soot covered everything. The task of cleaning it all was daunting, but only three products (and no chemicals) were used for the job: Murphy’s Oil Soap for the plaster and woodwork, dry foam upholstery cleaner for the velveteen in the dining room, and Bona for the floors. A professional cleaning company estimated $45,000 to complete the work, but since Roe had no insurance to cover the cost, his crew handled the entire job. They were so thorough that nothing had to be torn out and rebuilt due to smoke damage. The exact cause of the fire was never officially determined. Fire fighters were, however, very suspicious of its origins, and sent people, including the fire chief, to the house day after day to question Roe. But once they discovered that he had no insurance, and thus no motive to burn down his own home, they quit investigating, and the source remained a mystery. On the plus side, Martin Patino came to work full time for Roe in 2000. His brother, Rosendo, was working for Roe as a laborer at the time, and Rosendo knew Patino’s talents were being wasted in a meat packing plant in Los Angeles where he was working for $7/hr. Patino was already on board when the fire occurred, and became the main carpenter assigned to rebuild the kitchen. (DeKervor had moved to New Zealand and only returned to the Bay Area for a few months during the New Zealand winter, and so he was no longer the person in charge of all the fine carpentry.) Though Patino was only 31 years old, his experience dated back 25 years, to the time when he began his carpentry education by sweeping and cleaning up in a carpentry shop, watching and learning anything he could about woodworking. Firemen had smashed out the kitchen door when they fought the kitchen fire, breaking all its mullions. It was considered a complete loss by DeKervor (who was in town at the time) and Roe, and they thought they | A New Century: 2000 Kitchen | Fire again destroys part of kitchen | Rebuilding the kitchen

13: would have to build a new door. Patino apparently didn’t think so, but said nothing. DeKervor and Roe left to run some errands, and when they returned Patino had rebuilt it. Quickly and easily, Patino worked himself into the position of lead master carpenter, where he has remained ever since. There were some modifications to the kitchen anticipated during the 2000 repair work, but before they could be made, the floor had to be rebuilt and the island and the pantry cabinets had to be framed. Then the island countertop was changed from tiles to marble. Roe had found a slab large enough to cover the entire 5'x8' island in one piece, but couldn’t find a fabricator willing to work on it. All thought it would be too fragile once the sink holes were cut out (there are two, right across from each other in approximately the center of the island). So under DeKervor's careful management, the slab was brought into the house and fabricated in place. First, the slab was placed on its side on a narrow cart and wheeled into the house. The framework of the island had been built with an extension on the side, and the slab was tipped onto the extension and then shoved into place on the island. Once it was in place, the sink holes were cut out, but since Roe wanted a full 1" drop into the sink, a bullnose had to be created and laminated into place. The fabricator said it couldn’t be done, but DeKervor proved him wrong. Then the fabricated edges were honed and polished. In order to avoid having to do the same fabrication all the way around the island, a cap rail was created out of eastern white pine. It featured a rabbet, so the marble sits in the groove, and the lip of the pine creates a water barrier where it comes up and over the edge of the marble. The wood was treated with penetrating epoxy in order to avoid any possibility of rot. Since Roe did not want the high gloss finish typical of marble installations, the polish had to be removed from the slab. An acid was used to remove the polish, and then polishing was resumed to bring back a sheen, but not a high gloss. It has given the stone a softness not normally associated with marble installations. | Bay for eating and working | Completed kitchen repairs

14: Finally, the marble was sealed. Unfortunately, it began to erode around the sinks and had to be resurfaced. This time, it was sealed and waxed (with marine wax). The waxing must be repeated every six months; it repels water and keeps the marble from eroding again. Once the marble was in place and fabricated, attention turned to building drawers and doors for the island and for the pantry cabinets. All drawers are hand dove tailed. The pantry cabinets, including the freezer and file drawers, were all built by hand, and a slab of French limestone was used as a countertop. It, too, was fabricated in place, in much the same manner as the marble countertop. Pantry trim is bleached redwood. The stove and a work area traded places during this remodel. The stove was placed against the dividing wall between the kitchen and the pantry, and the work space was added to the end of the island. The new copper hood over the stove was built by Patino completely from scrap metal from Lakeside Metals in Oakland (for $1.50/lb.). Roe designed it, and Patino built a wooden shell to go under the metal and give it shape. The scrap metal copper sheets were molded to the form. The hood’s guts are standard Thermador. It is supported on iron fabricated by Walter Mork Co. The hood is able to slide right off each arm with the removal of two pins. Warming trays above the stove on either side were made from brass toilet paper holders found at Ohmega Salvage. (There is an example of the toilet paper holder in its original use in an upstairs bathroom.) The holders weren’t vintage; they were made by an artisan specifically for Ohmega Salvage, but their weight made them perfect for repurposing to hold ceramic dishes as warmers. There was a small area to the left of the stove that contained dead space. Roe decided to reclaim it by creating a dumbwaiter. The task turned out to be an | Copper hood and warming trays over reconfigured stove | Pantry cabinets | Dumbwaiter moving shelves Pantry limestone

15: engineering nightmare. Finding the right winch to fit in the space; getting the pulleys and counterweights to work correctly; finding a winch that had the right brake so the dumbwaiter wouldn’t break loose: all these tasks proved to be far more difficult than imagined. But with five movable shelves, the space is no longer wasted. Once the island and pantry were rebuilt, attention refocused on seismic upgrades for the kitchen walls and the tower. Twenty-three hold downs were added to the tower, and all the siding had to be removed to accommodate double plywood construction the entire length of the wall. Steel corbels were placed under the wooden ones in the bay. The east wall was totally reframed and rebuilt, with three layers of plywood shear walling added (two outside, one inside). The kitchen windows came from Wisconsin. Each is made of two separate windows cut on the mullion and then glued together. Roe found them while hunting for antiques for his store and bought all that were available for $1 each. (Some were given to next door neighbor Doris Treisman for use in a studio she was building in her backyard.) Roe chose Marmorino Venetian plaster for finishing the walls. The 16th century technology consists of slaked lime putty, ground marble, and pigment combined into a paste, and then troweled onto the wall in layers, with each layer allowed to bleed through to the next to give a deep, rich surface to the wall. It produces a very durable, hard surface which is easy to clean and breathes in a wet environment, so it won’t grow mold. Roe and Patino took approximately 10 days to complete the work, which required perfect troweling. They then rubbed all the walls with a clear paste wax for an extra layer of protection. | Seismic work | Seismic work

16: Roe had been using the large second floor bedroom in the northeast corner of the house as his own. When it became time to build a master suite, he very much wanted to include a library/sitting room, and the south side of the house, where the servant’s quarters, linen closet, and original bathroom had been located, provided the perfect space. When the house burned in 1974, the wall between the bathroom and the servant’s quarters had been destroyed. Though the linen closet was unharmed, it was removed when the fire rubble was cleared, leaving the space as one large room. There was a natural division to that wing because of its original layout: the hallway to the servant’s room became the entrance to the sitting area and library, and the old bathroom and linen closet, with the addition of the space gained from the tower extension, was now longer and wider and perfect for the bedroom portion. The master bath had already been completed, with access from the library. And so, in 2004, work began to create a master suite. Patino was the master craftsman in charge of the project. He built the library cabinets (salvaged old growth redwood), and since ebonizing was a fad in the 1880s, Roe felt it was appropriate to include it in the design. Strips of redwood were lacquered black and glued into place on the edges of the raised panels and faces of drawers. Once in place, everything (including the ebonizing) was waxed. Roe decided on shallow (10”) open bookshelves; drawers are 15” deep. The fireplace in the middle of the cabinetry is black cast iron. It is a reproduction of an 1880’s design, and was purchased from Okell’s in San Francisco. The surround and mantel are made of the very hardest black granite, and were fabricated in the workshop on site using a skilsaw and at least three diamond blades. It had to be hand carried to the second floor of the house. The metal flue of the chimney is capped on the roof by a copper crown fabricated by Walter Mork Co. in Berkeley. The flue is tucked behind the cabinets in the third floor apartment. The flooring is recycled 1x4 tongue and groove Douglas fir from Caldwell Salvage yard in San Francisco. It is the same flooring used in the sunroom and pantry. Roe had purchase all that Caldwell had at the time, since there was enough to use in large areas, and had stored it for years waiting for this project. The floor was sanded, but not enough to remove all its character, and then finished with the Bona system. The corner closets posed their own set of problems. Roe had obtained a very heavy piece of brass pipe from Lakeside Salvage, then rented a | Second Floor Master Bedroom | Master bedroom/sitting area | Entrance to the former servant's room | Crown on flue

17: huge bender from Big 4 Rents. The idea was to create a curved hanging bar in the triangular space. Though they ended up bending the bender in the process, Roe and Patino eventually were able to get a perfect arc to the brass and install the rod to perfection. (And they were even able to fix the bender!) In the south closet, Patino built a shoe cabinet to hide the kitchen vent from the stove. A window door on the west wall between the two closets was installed to give the feel of being on a balcony and to provide light. There had been no window in the space originally. The angle on the door is for seismic protection. (Corner braces stiffen the wall, as opposed to door openings, which weaken it.) The door, from Caldwell Salvage, is not vintage; it had to be rebuilt to accommodate the space. The trim throughout the suite was milled to match the rest of the house. Most is made of curly redwood from C&K Salvage in Oakland. Roe had purchased it many years prior and had stored it for use during the house restoration. It was ripped to the needed sizes, then sent out for beading to El Cerrito Lumber. The windows were purchased from Truitt & White in 1974. | Cabinet built by Patino from salvaged old growth redwood | Roe decided to add corbels to the opening between the library and bedroom to make the two spaces distinct. The precedent of adding corbels had been started during the kitchen remodel. Roe designed them and Patino fabricated them, and they were placed on both sides of the opening. The redwood crown molding is from Beronio Lumber in San Francisco and the rosettes from Victoriana, also in SF. They are plaster, painted by Roe to resemble redwood. (The original purpose of rosettes was to hide the effects of the soot coming from the gas lights that would have illuminated the room. Without them, there would have been large smudges on otherwise plain ceilings.) Walls were finished with Imperial plaster on wire lath, tinted with a bit of ochre pigment, and very hard troweled to produce a smooth and more refined finish. The plaster produces a hard, abrasion-resistant surface that can withstand use in all kinds of applications, including prisons and insane asylums. Roe used it because it is so long lived and serviceable. With a base coat (which fills up the lath), scratch coat, and finish coat, the plaster ends up 7/8” – 1” thick. Because the master suite was new construction, the thickness was easily accommodated. (However, on the first floor, where the same type of plaster was used, it had to be applied in a different manner in order to end up the same thickness as the original lath and plaster. There the plaster was applied as a veneer directly onto the plywood shear walling, forming a plaster weld on the plywood. It was not tinted.) Seismic work, as described elsewhere, was completed in the master suite during this rebuild.

18: The Little Porch From Hell | Long before the second kitchen remodel, Roe knew he wanted to add a downstairs bathroom/laundry area. There had originally been a tiny toilet in the corner of the pantry, and the laundry area was in the basement Roe added in the early 70s. Work began on the porch addition, which was to accommodate these two needs, in mid 2002. The deck off the kitchen had been built with Roe’s first kitchen. Richard Baxter had done all the lattice work. Gathering the materials for the bathroom, figuring out the plumbing given the limitations set by the shear walling, and trying to come up with a seamless appearance to the bead board on the wall separating the porch from the deck were some of the difficulties that gave this project its moniker, “The Little Porch from Hell.” Work commenced on the shell in this order: the floor was built, posts erected, railings and bead board installed. (The floor joists and foundation walls are new, pressure treated wood, but virtually everything else is salvaged.) Roe had collected shutters that he wanted to use, and these were used to figure out the window openings. The 1” redwood bead board, roofing materials, and all walls came from another of Roe’s projects, 853 Hayes St., S.F., where they had been removed for seismic retrofitting. Patino routed out the posts so the bead board would fit right into the slots and would be secure. The flooring is the same tongue and groove material used in the sunroom. | Deck off the kitchen | Salvaged shutters

19: When work then began on the bathroom, Roe already had the sink he wanted to use. It was of Tennessee Marble, and finding enough marble to complete the rest of the work in the bathroom was a first priority. The quarry it had come from had been shut down for years, but just as the bathroom project was slated to start, Roe found out that it had reopened. He was able to get stone for the walls, ordered as 12x12 tiles, then cut into 3x6 subway tiles. The nose and cove is a standard old fashioned Douglas fir profile from Truitt and White, and the Douglas fir bead board came from Beronio Lumber in San Francisco. The rail molding was originally from a bank in San Francisco, procured through Ohmega Salvage. There was a limited amount of it, so the shower stall was designed to match the quantity available. The space between the windows in the bathroom had been shear walled, so the sink could not be vented in the normal manner. Instead, it is vented through a brass pipe coming out of the half wall of the shower enclosure. It doubles as the support for the shower curtain. The shutters came from Ohio, scavenged in the 1960s from a commercial building slated to be demolished. The plaster is the same as that in the pantry, except that it has a smooth finish and has been waxed, which makes it darker. | Bathroom Exterior of porch, with kiwi vine

20: The Shop | Even though it was just dirt with a tarp over it, the area on the west side of the house, where part of the original wrap around porch had been, had served as the construction shop throughout the years of work on the house. But with the completion of the Little Porch from Hell, it was time to rebuild the patio. So in 2005, work began on a new shop. The site selected was where a garage had been added in the 1920s. The garage had completely collapsed by the time Roe bought the house, but when clearing away the debris he found a Rolls Royce radiator cap. The shop was constructed with no nails, except in the roofing. Everything is bolted together. It is built so that only the back wall is stationary; the other three can all slide out of the way at the same time. Patino designed and built all the doors, using old glass from Mills College. The floor is made of floor joists (3x12 to 3x16) salvaged from the 1973 demolition of De La Salle Hall (built in 1927) at St. Mary’s College High School at the end of Albina Ave. The saw has a dust collection unit, which hooks up to all the power tools used. The wire glass skylight (the same wire glass from the fire doors of the Cathedral flatiron building in Oakland used in the sunroom skylight) was built in place by Patino. The shop was built in a U shape to accommodate an old walnut tree that had been growing on the property. The tree eventually died, but was left in place for a few years because of its beautiful shape. It was finally removed in 2008 and replace with a Tristania Conferta (Brisbane Box from Australia). In March 2011 a brick patio was added to the north side of the shop. The bricks came from McNear Brick & Block in San Rafael, and had been salvaged from something that had been torn down on the McNear property. They were cut and laid to replicate the pattern of the front pathway. | Patio adjacent to shop | East side sliding window wall | Lawn off shop patio

21: Aerial view - building the shop, with walnut tree | Interior of shop during construction, with framing to accommodate walnut tree

22: One of the first things removed from the house after Roe bought it was the gravity-fed heater on the first floor. He planned to put in a forced air system in order to get heat to the other two floors of the house. The 1974 fire provided the impetus to remove the old system, but it wasn’t until 2010 that everything fell in line to replace it. During the 36-year gap, Roe had scrapped the idea of forced air and had instead embraced the idea of radiant heat, since cast iron radiation is one of the most comfortable, durable, and quiet ways to heat a room. Cast iron radiators heat up slowly and cool down slowly to give a very gentle, even, radiant heating, heating objects instead of air. Since the 1950s less expensive copper finned convectors have come to predominate the market, but the heating is harsher, having more of an "all on, all off" effect. So Roe traversed the country on a mission to find older radiators. Finding the greatest number of appropriate ones in the Midwest, he stockpiled them in the barn of his parents’ home in Ohio, and only after their deaths in the early 1990s did he move the cache to Berkeley. Several of the radiators came from a huge mansion located on Lake Erie. Owners were remodeling, and the plans called for the contractor to pull out all the radiators and piping to put in forced air. Both Roe and the contractor winced at the idea that forced air could possibly effectively (or economically) heat the enormous amount of space in the home, given the kinds of winds that blow off the lake, but someone else’s misguided idea became Roe’s good fortune. As his house was reconstructed after the fire, and as other renovations and restorations took place, Roe took every opportunity to install ductwork for the heating system. All first and second floor electrical and piping work was done when his crew was installing shear walling; third floor work was done when the old flooring was ripped out and ultimately replaced with a new plywood subfloor. But either for lack of funds or lack of time, the system remained incomplete for decades. It was decidedly not for lack of appropriate old radiators. Roe had collected scores of them, working from a plan he had mapped out, showing the exact number and EDRs (Equivalent Direct Radiation, which refers to the sizing of a radiator to the space being heated) needed for each room, before he even began his hunt. He had ended up with several extras because he had developed a bit of a fetish for them. He | The Heating System | Examples of radiators throughout the house

23: knew where each radiator was to go, and Patino and crew had cleaned them, sandblasted and painted them, and gotten them completely ready for installation. They had used paint normally used on engine blocks, which is designed to radiate as quickly as possible to keep the engine from overheating. Cadillac Gold was selected for its high metal content, which allows radiation almost identical to unpainted metal. (Note: The painting was done in a way that protected the integrity and efficiency of the radiators. The usual system of applying house paint, done by homeowners for aesthetic purposes, seals the radiators and thus reduces their ability to release heat. Heating efficiency is decreased by as much as 70 or 80 percent.) Roe had determined that the radiators, boiler, and manifold should be installed at one time, rather than piecemeal, and so completion was held up by unfinished work on the third floor apartment. The last of the piping was laid on the third floor in 2008, but as had happened several times before, everything came to a halt while the crew went to work on another building, this time to complete work on the Hayes Street flat. Work resumed on Albina in September 2009. A year later, it was time to begin thinking about completing the heating system. In September 2010, after getting bids from several companies, Roe selected California Plumbing of Oakland to build the manifold and install and connect the boiler to the system. While California Plumbing began its work, Patino installed seismic holds to each radiator to keep them from tipping in an earthquake. Like most specialized tasks for the house, this one proved to be daunting. It needed something that would thread, so that one plate could be affixed to the wall behind, and two others placed on the inside and outside of the back column of the center section of, each radiator. A threaded rod could then be screwed through each of the plates, tying them together to secure the radiator to the wall. Roe included Ashby Plumbing in his search, partly because it was a very old plumbing store and partly because it had a very old clerk (who may have actually been the owner at one point) still working, who knew everything that was hidden away in every nook and cranny of the shop. This gentleman remembered some cast iron plates

24: tucked away on a shelf which perfectly fit the need. Roe bought the entire supply for around $2.50/plate and had them painted with the same Cadillac Gold engine block paint to match the radiators. A friend later found the same plates online from a supplier in England at the cost of about $20 each. Since each radiator required three plates, and there are 32 radiators in the house, the savings was huge. California Plumbing began working on the installation of the boiler and building the manifold the first week of October. All second and third floor piping originated in the boiler room, but the entire first floor piping still needed to be run. Cal Plumbing stubbed in the plumbing for each radiator on the first floor, and then began creating the network of pipes while Patino and his crew began distributing radiators throughout the house, connecting them and seismically attaching them. With the exception of in the sunroom, where large, appropriately sized radiators were switched out for smaller, more aesthetically pleasing ones, everything matched Roe’s original plan. Even though the radiators weighed hundreds of pounds and had to be walked up to the second and third floors, Patino was able to complete his tasks before Cal Plumbing was able to complete running all the piping for the first floor zones. Cal Plumbing recommended that Roe consider installing a new hot water heater to take advantage of the efficiency of the heating system. So an indirect water heater – a large stainless steel tank with a smaller tank inside– was installed along with the new modulating boiler. Water from the boiler circulates outside the inner tank, heating the water inside that is utilized in faucets throughout the house. The modulating boiler can range from 45,000 to 175,000 BTUs, depending on demand. Nine zones were set up for the system: kitchen, pantry, parlor/dining room, and sunroom on the first floor; bathrooms, master bedroom suite, and other two bedrooms on the second floor; and bedroom/bathroom and everything else on the third floor. The individual radiators in each room can be modulated, so zones which cover a large area with multiple radiators can be tempered to accommodate individual needs. | Zone markers | Vintage gauge | Zone markers

25: On December 3, 2010, the heating system, rated at 96% efficiency, was turned on. The boiler ran day and night for several days to start the system. The gas bill went up by $300, but the electric bill dropped by $200. And instead of only one or two rooms being heated, the entire house was heated. Of the 32 radiators installed in the house, all over 100 years old, only one had a small leak in it after installation, and that one seems to have sealed itself up with rust. The only other problem was in the largest kitchen radiator, which was backfilling from the return line. It was repaired in January 2011. In a final homage to the wondrous heating system that had been created bit by bit over 36 years, the plumber (Gerald, owner of California Plumbing), on his own, located two vintage temperature and pressure gauges to use in the boiler room. | Boiler, manifold, and indirect water heater

26: The third floor space had originally been two bedrooms and a large open space/playroom/third bedroom. It had been converted over time to various uses, including storage space and a shop (when the south tower was built and when the roof was replaced). But once Roe had abandoned the idea of creating a commune, he knew that he eventually needed to make the house as versatile as possible to protect it from becoming a target for tear down or apartment-type development. Capitalizing on the stability of families, he thought that designing the house to work for a multi-generational family would be ideal. From this thought the idea of a third floor apartment emerged. If provided with all the usual amenities, it would be perfect for a downsized older generation, have a fabulous view, yet be small and intimate. The rest of the house could then be used by one or more younger generations. So in April of 2009, work began in earnest on the third floor conversion. The layout was basically predetermined. The old northeast tower bedroom would remain the same. The location of the bathroom had been determined 25 years earlier when plumbing pipes had been installed. And in anticipation of the location of the kitchen, an eyebrow dormer had been installed on the east wall when the roof had been redone. There would be a large studio space at the top of the staircase to the third floor (Roe had been trained in art, and had at one time thought he would become a sculptor). A living room would adjoin it, and the dining room would be located in the new south tower. The old northwest bedroom would give way for the bathroom and a dressing room area, as well as for an elevator, which would be installed on the north side of the porch. (The third floor is cantilevered over the second floor, which would allow an elevator to come off the wrap- around porch on the outside of the house at ground level and up through the floor of the third level into the dressing room.) At one time the bathroom was designed to be small with a low ceiling dormer, but it was changed to be large and cantilevered, adding another small tower to the house. The galley kitchen, though designed for only one person, was left open to all the surrounding spaces so that the occupant would still be part of whatever was going on in the | The Third Floor | (t) Construction of eyebrow dormer (c) Completed eyebrow dormer (b) Studio windows

27: apartment. All space was considered valuable, so storage was included wherever possible, even under the low roof lines. The idea of having an outdoor area was always part of the plan, though figuring where to put a staircase to a rooftop patio was problematic. What began as a spiral staircase in the northwest corner of the studio became a straight staircase on its southeast side in order to create a place for the refrigerator, which now tucks neatly under the staircase, thereby saving space in the kitchen. The door to the rooftop patio is like a boat hatch or storm cellar door. It is very heavy, so Patino designed and installed a counterweight system so that it can be safely opened and closed. The living room and studio windows are the same as those in the first floor pantry. They are from a lumber mill in Redway (Humboldt County), CA. They have been installed so they can come all the way out, but Patino has also created a chain support system so they can be tilted into the room to be washed without having to be removed. The flooring throughout the third floor is new Douglas fir milled from an old growth tree. Roe searched for it for a couple of years before finally finding it at Lopensky Moulding in San Francisco. It is sealed with polyurethane. All the woodwork in the towers is old growth. The old north tower has the original redwood door and trim; the south tower has new redwood that was milled to match that of the north tower (Roe had collected this wood and held it for years specifically for this purpose); the west tower is Douglas fir from Van Arsdale Lumber in San Francisco. The stairwell leading to the third floor and the wood siding on the east wall is 1” thick flat grain Douglas fir. It was originally used as the partitions between the nuns’ cubicles at Dominican School in San Rafael, which was torn down in the early 1980s. It was salvaged by Berkeley Architectural Salvage, where Roe purchased it, knowing he would use it on the third floor, but not exactly sure how. Patino meticulously crafted the handrails of Douglas fir. | Adding the third floor bathroom tower Siding from nuns' cubicles at Dominican School line the stairwell

28: North Tower (Moorish Room) - All the molding, the door, and the windows are original. The configuration of this room remains as it always was, except that the ceiling was originally 12’ high and flat. It was removed to open up the space. All the ceiling joists were removed, and the steel structural members to tie the walls and ceiling together were engineered by Glenn Martin and fabricated by Walter Mork. The installation was difficult because it was a retrofit: instead of being the first thing installed, that everything else was built to, it had to fit into the existing structure. The visible redwood beams are decorative, and rigid insulation was sandwiched between the original construction and all the new wood. There are three levels of lighting in the tower: two levels of soffit lighting, spot lighting shining up into the night sky decorative wallpaper, and the ceiling fixture. The torchiere light was purchased at Charles and Charles Antique Wholesaler in San Francisco many years ago. Thought to be an English tourist item, it is pierced metal work, probably from the 1880s and originally an oil or candle lamp. Roe placed a light bulb on a little stand in the base of the lamp in order to have the interesting light patterns safely illuminate the room. The hanging fixture is contemporary. From Sahara in Berkeley, it is of the same type of metal work as the torchiere and was bought specifically for the space. Bathroom – The toilet in this bathroom has a long history to it. The seat came from a commercial building owned by Roe’s father in the small town of Coshocton, Ohio. When the front apartment in the building needed remodeling, Roe asked his father to salvage the toilet and the tub. The tub was too heavy to save, and for some reason his dad saved only the toilet seat, not the bowl itself. Roe spent years trying to find a bowl wide enough and long enough to go with the seat. He finally discovered one at Ohmega Salvage. The plumbing lines had already been installed years before, and when the toilet was finally put into place, the seat extended about one-half inch too far to the side for the bathroom door to open completely. It meant that either the door had to be cut down and the opening narrowed or the plumbing had to be moved. Patino chose to move the plumbing – no small feat in a space already completed. But the prize toilet seat is now happily ensconced on the throne. | Hanging fixture | The prized toilet seat

29: The chandelier in the bathroom was from Charles and Charles and had hung in the dining room of the third floor long before work began on the apartment conversion. It was moved to the bathroom when another fixture was found to be unsuitable for the space. The vanity is made of an Indiana limestone slab from Ohmega Salvage. Roe wanted it made in the style of Victorian sinks, with the surface recessed to leave a drip ledge. Fox Marble, in San Francisco, quoted $2800 just to do the routing. Baker Marble, in Oakland, sensing the possibility of a new product to market (after all, who really wants a sink that has no water barrier around it?), offered to produce the entire vanity – sink hole, recessed area, skirt, etc., for $1100. It took Baker longer to program its computer to make the required cuts than to actually cut the limestone, but it now knows how to do it and the company may now add a line of sinks with a Victorian recess to its offerings. The antique brass leg for the vanity was purchased on line as part of a pair. It was short (the typical Victorian vanity was only 28”-30” high), and Roe wanted this vanity to be about 35” high. Patino scavenged parts to add several inches to the leg, making it a very unique support. Walker Zanger Tile Co. in San Francisco was the source of the European limestone tiles in the bathroom. The slabs used on the window sill and on the top of the half wall are pieces found and salvaged over time. Patino built the medicine cabinet, the shower fixture is a reproduction, and the vanity fixture is an American Standard single hole mixer from the 1920s or earlier. It is plated in nickel, not chrome; chrome came into use beginning in 1929. The windows are from Ohmega Salvage, and the wooden rail molding on top of the wainscoting was milled at Lowpensky Moulding to match the stone rail molding in the shower. Dressing Room – Though Roe had no plans to install it, this space is where the exterior elevator would enter the third floor. The light fixture is a reproduction from Rejuvenation Lighting. The raised area in front of the storage cubbies hide the 2x10 cantilever beams used to construct the west tower housing the bathroom (the original beams are 2x6), and the soffit at the southern end of the dressing room hides the heating pipes. | General view tile and windows | (t) Shower and vanity (b) Antique brass vanity leg

30: Dining Room (South Tower) – The little window came from the Sutro Mansion when it was being torn down during construction of the Sutro Tower. The contractor who was demolishing the house had salvage rights, and Roe bought it on the site. The windows in the south tower were ordered through Truitt and White and built by a cabinet shop. (These are Roe’s least favorite windows in the house and an example of why he always tried to find vintage materials to use. The windows are double hung, but the cabinet shop did not put on the ‘tails,’ the small appendages that should be affixed to the stiles of the upper sash. These provide structural support to the tenon and are aesthetically pleasing. But because it is a quicker way to build windows, the shop constructed the windows with a bridle joint, not a mortise and tenon one, and skipped adding the tails.) The chandelier in this space was purchased at Harvey Clar’s Auction House in Oakland in the spring of 2010. It is a very high end, expensive, hand made fixture from no later than the 1920s that just happened to be, in Roe’s words, “the world’s ugliest chandelier.” But he wanted something with some scale to it, and it turned out that it was hard to find things that were both big and beautiful. Victor Electric in San Francisco wired the piece, noting that its type of casting hadn’t been done since the 1910s or 1920s. Roe thinks the piece could be a contemporary conglomeration of old and new, with the beautiful wrought iron work on it being newer and the bronze finial castings probably older. Studio – This is the area where one enters the third floor. Roe calls it the studio because he originally intended to use it as such. (As a college student, he studied art and began working in clay, bronze, and stone. Doing independent study while enrolled as a graduate student at Ohio Wesleyan, he went to New York to become a sculptor. After a year he abandoned New York and returned to Ohio, to Ohio State University. He invented a new form of art which he called animal panels, using animal organs from local slaughter houses, which he tanned like leather. The university said it couldn’t classify the works as either sculpture or paintings, so it had no department to place him in and he was summarily released from the school.) The light fixture in this area is considered by Roe to be the world’s second ugliest chandelier. He purchased it at the | Dining room (South Tower) | Third floor studio | Baseboard detail

31: Alameda Flea Market in 2009. He thinks it dates to the early 1920s and probably came out of the lobby of a modest ‘aspiring’ hotel, like the kind in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco. The lobbies in these second rate hotels were often quite fancy, even though the rooms were very basic. He recalls that he paid about $250 for it. The skylight came out of a Victorian Chinese laundry in San Francisco. It hadn’t been used as a skylight; it was a decorative interior high window letting in light from a plain exterior high window. It is etched glass, purchased in San Francisco probably at a garage sale. The ‘spider’ window at the roofline peak was purchased from Urban Ore more than 20 years ago. Roe believes it came from an immense Dutch gambrel building. He turned it on its side to use in the house. The round window on the front dormer was built to resemble a porthole (it had been a rather clunky looking square window). The nautical influence exhibited in various places throughout the house is the result of Roe’s great interest in boats. Living Room – The chandelier in this room also came from the Harvey Clar Auction House in Oakland. It probably dates from the 1920s and is unusual because of all the copper done in the manner of wrought iron. It had to be completely rewired, and it was quite difficult to feed the wire through all the arms. Patino built the cabinet for the living room. It needed to cover the duct work from the fireplace on the second floor as well all the piping for the radiators. That dictated its design. He made it as wide as he needed and as narrow and tall as he could to still be functional. The jog in the center, which covers the ductwork, was supposed to house a fireplace, but nothing was ever found that would fit in and not stick out too far into the room, so the project was abandoned. The cabinet wood is Douglas fir. The countertop of the lower cabinet is made of Amapola wood, a light, straight grained, easy to work tropical wood much like balsa. Roe had purchased it to use in the first floor laundry area, but he found a piece of Douglas fir that he thought would be better there. The Amapola therefore got repurposed to the third floor. | Studio chandelier | Living room cabinet | Living room chandelier | Dining room chandelier

32: The baseboard on the south wall hides the radiator pipes, and the little cubby on the north wall provides access to bleed air from the radiator system. The beams in the living room, like those of the north and south towers, are recycled redwood. Kitchen – Patino also built all the cabinets and drawers for the kitchen. Those on the interior wall are all standard depth, but those on the exterior wall are deep to take advantage of the sloping roofline. The drawer pulls are Victorian late 19th century/early 20th century window lifts out of trains, and were purchased from Ohmega Salvage. Unfortunately, there were not enough of them, so Roe had to have additional ones cast at California Casting in Richmond. Early consideration had been given to finishing the eyebrow dormer, which had been built by Kris Hill, in wood. Plaster was ultimately chosen in order to be able to add a light fixture. Because of the compound curves involved, wood would have had to run the wrong way (east to west instead of north to south). The faucet, vintage American Standard, was difficult to install because the roof was in the way. In fact, it had to be bent at the base to a 45 degree angle to follow the roofline, and then the gooseneck had to be opened up so water would not spray back toward the wall. The refrigerator is a Sub Zero, and its placement determined where the stairs to the rooftop patio had to be built. The range is a Gaggenau, and the Viking oven is a wall mount that was placed on the floor because there wasn’t enough height in the space to do otherwise. Rooftop Patio –The grates used as a fence on the rooftop patio were radiator covers from some old building. Roe found them at Lakeside Metal in Oakland, where they were going to be chopped up and melted down for salvage. He bought them by the pound. | Vintage faucet | Rooftop fence | Detail of drawer pulls | Custom cabinets

33: In 1972, when Roe and Johnson bought 1330 Albina Ave., there was a lawn in front, an old privet hedge streetside and along the north side of the property, and an unpaved driveway that curved around to the west, where a garage had once stood. There were seven major trees growing on the property: a large old English walnut on the west margin, a cypress mid way on the north side, a huge old oak on the north property line, a Monterey pine in the northeast corner of the property, a pepper tree between the oak and the pine, a magnolia located near a cypress, and a Norfolk Island pine in the front yard. Everything on the sides and back was weedy and overgrown, and blackberries were taking over. Roe could get no sense of what the landscaping might have been at one time. But Victorians were interested in everything exotic and were very experimental. And because Roe loved tropicals, it was a perfect match to surround the house with plantings in the Victorian style. (Roe’s love affair with palm trees began when he was a child. In 1960 he took a road trip to California with high school friends. When he saw palm trees in the Bay Area, he thought it meant that it was a warm area. He returned in September 1966 and enjoyed a typical Indian summer. Then November hit, and he learned how cold and damp it could be. He remembers hating it because the weather seemed so bone chilling. But he had established himself in the area, so he stayed. The presence of palms had fooled him about the weather, so he determined that he would learn more about these beautiful plants.) In the late 1970s/early 1980s, Roe drew up a site plan of the yard, including additions to come years later, and spotted in the large items that would anchor everything. All were part of the palm family, including king palm (archontophoenix cunninghamiana), Guadalupe palm (brahea edulis), Senegal date palm (phoenix reclinata), slender lady palm (rhaphis humilis) and broadleaf lady palm (rhapis excelsa), fan palm (trachycarpus), Costa Rican bamboo palm (chamaedorea costaricana), and European (or Mediterranean) fan palm (chamaerops). King palms were the first trees Roe planted, beginning in 1980. Many were killed in the freeze of 1982-83, but many survived and became the cornerstone of the landscaping. | Landscaping | Linden trees along parkway | Norfolk Island Pine in center

34: In 1982 Roe took a plant purchasing trip to Southern California with friend Tom Ruge in order to gather palm specimens that werenÂ’t available in Northern California. He had some concern that SoCal plants wouldnÂ’t survive in the Bay Area, but had experience with seeing what were supposed to be house plants surviving outside, so he decided to try out some palms. They rented a truck, drove to SoCal, and when they had filled the truck with palms, they came home. The trip took about 10 days, and when they got back Roe did all the planting. He had lots of failures, such as royal palms (roystonea regia) and areca palms (chrysalidocarpus), but lots of successes, too. And there was no question that he was hooked on palms. The soil type in the yard was somewhat clay, but not too bad. Because his philosophy was to grow according to what the soil would allow, he did not amend or fertilize it. He believes that the plants grew at only about 10% of the rate they would have if he had fertilized, but because they grew slowly they were less tender and better able to acclimate to the growing conditions. Ever on the lookout for different types of palms, Roe developed a little nursery in the back yard. He collected as many as 100 plants in containers, and used them both for infill under the anchor plants and replacement of failures. He frequented Palm Society auctions and became familiar with many palm brokers throughout the state, such as Golden Gate Palms in Point Richmond and The Palm Broker in San Francisco. His purchases were generally expensive and were for items not normally available in retail nurseries. He also collected cycads, specifically zamia and encephalartos, which look very much like palms, but are not closely related (the misnamed sago palm is part of the cycad family). The first major tree to be lost in the yard was the magnolia. It was a grafted hybrid and probably a very expensive tree when the Lueders planted it. Roe has no | Jubaea Chilensis (Chilean Wine Palm)

35: idea why it died, but chose not to replace it because of its proximity to a cypress tree. The next to go was the pepper tree (shinus molle). Oak root fungus killed all the pepper trees in the area, and the tree finally fell over onto the neighborÂ’s junker car. Because of its placement between the oak tree and the Monterey pine, it was not replaced either. The Monterey pine met its demise in 2003 or 2004. It was mildly afflicted with a blight that had been attacking Monterey pines throughout the state. Though the tree had seemed to be improving, Roe thought it might become a problem in the future, and in light of the experience with the pepper tree, decided that the pine should be removed. He replaced it with a rare Chilean wine palm (jubaea chilensis). The common name refers to the past use of the sap from the trunk of this palm to produce a fermented beverage. The sap is also boiled down into a syrup and sold as miel de palma. Unlike with most other wine palms, collecting the sap of the jubaea chilensis requires cutting down the tree, which has severely reduced its population in the small geographic area of central Chile where it is endemic. It is a very ancient species of tree, and the palm with the largest circumference left on the planet. This particular specimen was salvaged by The Palm Broker from the yard of an Oceanside Craftsman cottage being torn down by a developer, and was trucked to the Bay Area. When the huge old oak tree crashed down in a windstorm in June of 2007, it crushed the vintage Alaskan birch camper shell on RoeÂ’s truck, which was sitting in the driveway. It poked through the roof of one room of the house next door and came to rest with the canopy blocking all the windows on the southwest side of the neighbor two doors away. It made 20 or 30 families of squirrels and countless birds homeless, | Cupressus Macrocarpa (Monterey Cypress)

36: but broke only two windows on the north side of 1330. The loss of the tree was tragic, but it provided another rare opportunity for Roe. A friend, who was the president of the Palm Society, was scouting trees for Golden Gate Palms and noticed a Phoenix reclinata in the Danville area. It is a very rare North African (Senegal) tree, and the friend asked the homeowners if they were interested in selling it. They were, so Roe was able to buy the tree through Golden Gate Palms and replace the oak with a large specimen tree that he had put on his anchor list back in the 1970s. The final tree to be lost was the English walnut. In 2005 the new shop had been built around the tree, so when it died and was finally removed in 2008, it had to be replaced. Roe chose Brisbane box (tristania conferta), which is not a palm but rather a close relative of the eucalyptus. There are still two old trees remaining on the property: a cypress and a Norfolk Island pine. The irrigation system was installed in the mid to late 1980s. It was done all at once, with the ability to modify it. There are 14 zones, though one is being held in reserve and is not hooked up to anything. All the valves are located in the old chicken coop/potting shed south of the shop. The pipes to all the zones run under the driveway and along its south side. There is a separate map of the entire system. In 2005 or 2006, work began on the fence and new pathway to the house. Roe had an 1890s or so English Victorian fencing section from an | Phoenix Reclinata (Senegal Date Palm)

37: antique outlet, but it wasn’t enough to run the full length of the front of the house. So he hired a metal fabricator from Oakland to copy it for the front, and he used the original pieces on the north side of the yard. The new fencing is made of welded mild steel, while the original was riveted wrought iron.The fence was originally intended to be shorter, but it was necessary to increase the height to keep out the deer that had recently acclimated to the neighborhood. Patino crafted a short masonry wall exactly like what would have been in a Victorian yard (the masonry would keep the iron from rusting as it would if it were planted in dirt). The rounded curve at the top was harder to produce, but more functional since it lets water readily run off. A special aggregate with more river rock in it was used so it would look pretty when exposed, which was intended to give the wall an antique look. In order to accomplish this, the forms were removed early enough to be able to water blast the wall and knock away some of the material. The technique worked perfectly. The pathway to the front door is made of old foundation bricks that were salvaged when the foundation was replaced in the early 1970s. The same brick was used for the pathway off the back porch and by the chicken coop. In spring 2011 a lawn was added to the space adjacent to the shop patio, in the area formerly used by Roe as a nursery for his palms. | Tristania Conferta (Brisbane Box)

38: Building forms for masonry wall | Old chicken coop/potting shed | New pathway to front door | Installing front gate with Juvenal Lonzano

39: Woodwork – All woodwork throughout the house is natural and coated with clear paste wax or tung oil and clear paste wax, which never breaks down and never peels. It should be vacuumed and rewaxed every few years. As the wax layers up, the patina will become more and more luxurious. It can also be cleaned with Murphy’s Oil Soap. Walls – All walls are raw plaster, with the exception of the kitchen, which is Marmorino Venetian plaster that has been clear paste waxed. If the walls get dirty or marred, they can be scrubbed (with Murphy’s Oil Soap) or lightly sanded (with 220 sandpaper). Ceilings – Ceilings throughout the house are sheet rocked and painted with latex. (The sheet rock was installed over the original ceilings in the second story bedrooms.) Floors - The floors have a Bona polyurethane finish throughout the house. The Bona floor care system should be used to maintain them. Kitchen counters – To continue to repel water, rewax with a clear marine wax every six months or so. Exterior – Roe originally finished the exterior wood shingles and siding with a solid coat stain, a fairly acid green with lots of yellow. The color was mixed by Roe to replicate the look of old weathered wood. The stain was then covered with a wash in umber, which was left on for a while and then wiped off to continue toward the look of old paint. The trim and railings had an orange-brown stain coat, washed with the same umber as the shingles. His plan was to periodically put linseed oil on everything so the color and surface could be maintained without additional paint build up. However, several additions and repairs caused the siding to have a variety of finishes, and oiling would only magnify the differences. In spring 2011, when it was time to refinish the exterior of the house, the original oil-based solid coat stain was no longer available (due to EPA regulations), and Roe began experimenting with other types of finishes. He eventually settled on Cabot Solid Color Acrylic Deck Stain in custom colors for the shingles, siding, trim, and railings, and high gloss yacht enamel (Ep1Fanes Bootlak #19), at $45/qt., for the windows and doors. | Upkeep of The House | Patino with Roe in master bedroom library Roe with roof cap for third floor bathroom Roe planting Jubaea chilensis

40: Epilogue | Tom Roe died in the early hours of May 13, 2011 - a Friday the 13th. He had spent the better part of his life saving houses in the Bay Area by lovingly, meticulously, and expertly restoring them to a prior glory. While he oversaw astonishing home transformations more than once, the Victorian at 1330 Albina Avenue in Berkeley, which he called home, was truly his masterpiece. He would agonize for weeks, months, sometimes years, trying to accomplish his vision for the house. He wasn't a purist. When he detected flaws in the original design of the house, he altered the design. He incorporated modern technologies that would protect the house, or make it more livable. He added flourishes just because he liked them. But he always remained true to the spirit of the house, and never lost sight of the fact that he was preserving a slice in time. He employed true craftsmen over the almost 40 years of work on the house, rarely giving in to economic pressures that made him consider cheaper, mass produced elements for it. He taught, nurtured, and truly befriended those who worked for him, challenging them in ways that let them exceed whatever they thought their potential might be. He wasn't always an easy man to be around. He was intensely private, and he was mercurial, with a legendary temper. But he tended to make friends for life, and when he was diagnosed with bone cancer, people came from all over the country and from as far away as New Zealand to make certain they got to see and talk to him at least one last time. When he was so weak that he could barely eat, he would marshal the energy to sound strong when someone called. He would greet those who just dropped by with his usual smile and hello, even though he was so tired that he would sometimes fall asleep in the middle of a conversation. Tom said he had always intended to write the story of the house, but those who knew him well knew he would never do it. It is a story that deserves to be told, and it was my honor to be allowed to pry and push and cajole information from him. Just as with the house, Tom did not live long enough to see the work on the book completed. But he came dang close and, again as with the house, he knew that even if he wasn't around to guide the finishing touches, they would be accomplished just as he would have wanted them to be, with the same steady hand and attention to detail that marked his career. His house, and I hope this book, stand as the living legacy to a most extraordinary man. Donna DeDiemar © June 2011

41: Roe on his 67th birthday (with Patino), seeing the third floor shower functioning for the first time | Roe with DeDiemar (right) and neighbor Lori Copan, seeing prototype of book for the first time

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Lori Copan
  • By: Lori C.
  • Joined: almost 6 years ago
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About This Mixbook

  • Title: 1330 Albina Ave ~ A Chronology
  • The story of Tom Roe's painstaking restoration of the Lueders House, a Berkeley CA Victorian.
  • Tags: 1330 Albina Ave.
  • Published: about 5 years ago

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