December 14, 2011

20 foot vaulted ceilings and 81 sf “bedroom”

We have another Guest Post for you today, this time from all the way across the Bay!  Yes, live, from El Cerrito, it’s Burbed reader A Lewis!  A (he says I can still call him A) is a big fan of Burbed because we love the East Bay so much.  And there’s so much to love, if by “love” we really mean “POINT AND LAUGH!”

So share the love, enjoy today’s visit to the East Bay, and give A Lewis a big, warm, Real Bay Area welcome as today’s Guest Blogger!

6601 Gatto Ave, El Cerrito, CA 94530


SQ. FT.: 1,279
$/SQ. FT.: $281
LOT SIZE: 3,534 Sq. Ft.
TYPE: Detached
STYLE: Contemporary
VIEW: Bay, Bay Bridge, City Lights, Panoramic, San Francisco
COMMUNITY: Junction Heights
COUNTY: Contra Costa
MLS#: 40547115
STATUS: Pending – Subject to Lender Approval
ON REDFIN: 62 days

Sweeping panoramic views of the San Francisco Bay seen through the walls of glass in this beautifully modern home in the El Cerrito hills. Beautifully remodeled two bedroom, two bath plus home office features 20 foot vaulted ceilings in the living room and kitchen. Master bedroom w/ walk in closet.

"Distinctive" Staging, the ladder to nowhere, and a listing history only a mother could love!

It’s time for some East Bay goodness – here’s a local favorite I’ve been watching struggle since Aug. 2010.  So many fun things happening with this listing. First, the interior layout:


Yes, it does have a great view, but only if you can tear your eyes from the 100% carpeted stairs jutting diagonally into the dining/living combo. That metal railing – oooh, shivers of delight. And what better place for those intake vents then the stairs? I have got to talk to the architect!


Fortunately for the realtor, these bizarre stairs give you the opportunity for a ‘make it look way bigger than it actually is’ picture of the kitchen & nook. Which I actually kind of like, except for that gigantic free standing cabinet jutting out of the wall. It looks like an alien artifact posed to open a portal from another dimension and unleash demons into our world. But maybe that’s just me. Don’t miss the awesome view of the gravel roof of your neighbor’s house only 18 inches away from the kitchen sink! But wait, there are MORE pictures of this room taken from the top of the stairs!


Mmmm, close up view of that metal railing on the stairs – and nice detail visible on the non-vacuumed carpet. Oh the color of that carpet is just so….so….help me out here. Is this thing staged or is this how they live in it? Let’s move on to the best room in the house:


The only thing to say about this ‘special’ room is WTF. One 90-degree angle is all you need to enjoy 81 square feet of dim crampedness. Looks like the non-permitted 3rd bedroom I’ve been dreaming of! Not seeing a closet. But now we know this thing MUST be staged. A ladder to nowhere? That’s the true gem in this listing. I LOVE this ladder. I come back to this listing time and again just to gaze at that ladder. It gets my vote for best-attempt-by-an-overpaid-stager-to-turn-a-sub-100-square-foot-room-into-the-idea-of-a-massive-library-via-use-of-a-ladder! (I admit, we do get very few entries in this category each year). But c’mon, people, put your hands together for that shiny black ladder! It matches the desk!

On to the location:


It’s not just a corner lot – it’s an almost 180-degree turn! With absolutely no yard space! Look at that efficient use of a lot that should never have been developed! At least it’s on awkward, hilly terrain – who wants a level lot these days, anyways?

If that isn’t enough for you, let’s sit back and enjoy the listing history, shall we?

From Redfin:


That’s what we like to see – put ingredients into Redfin listing on ‘low’, add a "not an arm’s length transaction" into the pot to pique the curiosity, and stir occasionally every month while adding nothing of value or taste. Step 3 = ????. Step 4 = Profit! It’s pending! For the 4th time!

Let’s pop over to Zillow for the full price history, shall we?


imageAw, it’s not all here! My faint recollection says they started at $600k in 2010. But after a few slaps in the face, they were willing to bite the bullet and move to a lower asking price than what they paid of $499,900 starting in April of 2011. Tried the old ‘make it new again!’ trick of pulling it off Redfin for 20 minutes and re-listing trick a few times. How’d that work out for you? Looks like it only cost you ANOTHER $140k so far! And they’ve been willing to switch between the incredible services of "J. Rockcliff Realtors" and "Distinctive Home Tours" not once, but three times! The competitive marketplace of real estate in action. I bet "Distinctive" paid for the staging and pictures the first time, and J. Rockcliff has just been coasting on their hard work ever since.

How will the story end? Wonder what that pending offer is…I’ll let you know if it sells! Thanks for joining me in this distinctive jaunt over to the East Bay!

Comments (9) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 am

9 Responses to “20 foot vaulted ceilings and 81 sf “bedroom””

  1. PKamp3 Says:

    I think the stager knew what was up – you’ve got to work in the y dimension if you have the space. Bunk beds? Please! This isn’t the 1950s. That room is ripe for bunked bunk beds! I hope the offer made an attempt to have them leave the ladder.

    15 foot ceilings, 81 square feet, sleeps 4 kids… just don’t roll over if you’re on the top bunk!

  2. SEA Says:

    The satellite image shows a big blue tarp approximately six doors to the north.

  3. A. Lewis Says:

    #2 – that’s no tarp, it’s a space station!

  4. SEA Says:

    Hangar for the Commuter Airplanes, maybe?

  5. AstroWallaby Says:

    I seriously don’t know what to think of the decor of this place; Is “Hipster Grandma” a “thing” I’m just not aware of?

    There’s a vanishingly small part of me that sort of admires the “funkiness” of this pad and with the right decor I could sort of see it working, but:

    A: That pink carpet? Okay, sure, it was built in 1957, I could see pink carpet then, but now? You might be able to pretend you’re trying to preserve its “Mid-century Modern” heritage, but you’ve got it in essentially the same room with that completely clashing (and poorly integrated) kitchen cabinetry. Pick a style and stick with it, for crying out loud.

    B: The bathroom has a similar problem. Going by the color scheme alone you might almost think they’re intentionally trying to recreate the (in)famous Mid-Century “Pink Bathroom”:

    But the execution is wrong in basically every detail. Right color, wrong materials, wrong fittings, just *wrong*. The end result comes off like it belongs in a hotel in Reno.

    The staging doesn’t help either. The furniture is an uncomfortable mix of McMansion meets Grandma’s House (the gold mirror in the living room is a killer) and then, yeah, the ladder straight from “Unhappy Hipsters”…

    Ugh. Another look at those stairs and all I can think about is The Gobbler:

  6. SEA Says:

    “Okay, sure, it was built in 1957, I could see pink carpet then, but now?”

    Carpet is what part of light bulbs and Drano?

  7. AstroWallaby Says:

    #6: Clearly tacky cabinets and Chinese granite fit in FlipperMan’s utility belt, you’d think there’d be some room left over for… oh, never mind, the floor-covering slot’s exclusively reserved for Pergo.

  8. Divasm Says:

    When I first saw that room I thought it was some kind of unpermitted “serial killer” room, where the only access is through a hatch in the ceiling. So you can throw your latest victim in there, remove the ladder, and voila! No means of escape.

    Yeah, I’ve been watching too many cop show lately…

  9. ms Says:

    Stairway to nowhere. Now ladder to nowhere.
    Useless, incompetent stagers: This is how you make a house seem even worse than it even is. Enjoy your little yuppie weekend. What a worthless career.

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