Majestic Grand Estate in Crocker Highlands
1166 Clarendon Crescent
1166 Clarendon Crescent
Idyllically set on Clarendon Crescent, this sumptuous home opens extensively to terra-cotta terraces and level quarter-acre-plus grounds. Architectural extravagance circa 1919 intermixes with luxe revitalization, including a contemporary connoisseurs dine-in kitchen. The woodwork-embellished main floor features grand-scaled spaces that merge fluidly and include formal living, dining, lounge, family and sun rooms. Five second-floor bedrooms served by three bathrooms encircle a gathering-place family room that extends to an outdoor lounge. In addition to the main house, a garden-outlook cottage with full bathroom and kitchen comprises a separate dwelling or retreat-like studio.
Noted Oakland architect John J. Donovan, who designed the estate for his own family, is credited with designing landmarks including the Beaux-Arts-inspired Oakland Auditorium (now known as Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center) plus a long list of libraries, schools and universities. His residential masterwork represents a lavish setting for family comfort and gracious indoor-outdoor entertaining.
A regal columned entry gives way to public rooms imbued with soaring ceilings, rich woodwork in the form of moldings, trim, hardwood floors, and built-ins. Beyond the welcoming foyer, the living room accommodates a crowd and features a focal-point fireplace flanked by glassed shelves and three sets of glass doors that overlook the front garden and extend to it via a veranda. Interior glass doors lead to the dining room, lounge, and family room. Adjacent, the kitchen presents a profusion of high-caliber function and an inviting place to create, mingle, and dine in sleek surroundings. Amid copious cherry-hued cabinetry, appliances include a six-burner Wolf range with double ovens, Miele coffee system, steam oven, and warming drawer. Natural stone adorns counters, backsplashes, island and peninsula, which provide central spaces for seating, prep, and serving. A built-in workstation and sparkling breakfast expanse take in the garden via picture widows and open out to it.
The primary suite also fans out to a terrace; its contemporary bathroom features a jet-equipped soaking tub plus glassed shower. Two additional upstairs bathrooms convey a vintage sensibility, where well-preserved original components combine seamlessly with updated elements, and a powder room occupies the main floor.
Amenities include spacious cedar-lined closets, a second-floor study, attic and lower-level caches, laundry room, and garage at the end of a gated driveway.
Map & Directions
Crocker Highlands Then & Now
A fascinating history launched the neighborhood that teems with enchantment today. Like Oakland’s symbolic oak tree, Crocker Highlands brandishes roots that delve deep and a vigor that endures. Owned in the 1880’s by Peder Sather, (whose name remains familiar for Cal’s iconic Sather Gate) the land was initially developed as Sather Park. An electric double-decker trolley ferried picnickers to the hilly dale, traversing a wooden trestle bridge that reached a glen marking entry to the park. The origin of the neighborhood’s illustrious Trestle Glen Road is revealed! Rail transportation prevailed, and the original East Bay Railways lines evolved into the Key System, carrying passengers between Oakland and San Francisco, increasing accessibility to this natural wonderland.
A cast of luminaries in their fields played influential roles in transforming the area.
Enter the Olmsted Brothers. Their father had designed New York’s Central Park. Next-generation Olmsteds ultimately created blueprints for noteworthy landscapes and parks across North America. Here, they laid out Oakland’s Mountain View Cemetery and Crocker Highlands ‘residential park’, delineating gracefully winding streets that hug the curves of the landscape with park areas sprinkled throughout. A crown atop the new garden suburb, its majestic entryway was fashioned by the architects of San Francisco’s City Hall, Bakewell & Brown.
Architects of note including Julia Morgan, Frederick Reimers, Maybeck & White also shaped Crocker Highlands, designing exalted homes that were erected mostly in the 1920’s. Grandly fashioned, these Tudor, Mediterranean, Italian Renaissance, Colonial, French Provincial homes bejewel the landscape along tree-lined streets interspersed with vintage streetlamps. With foresight to the future, Lakeshore Homes Association was established in 1917 to protect and preserve the neighborhood. Their oversight, coupled with owners who keep their period homes polished, has ensured that the dynamic assortment of architecture retains its original glory.
Today, homes remain ensconced in serene park-like surroundings, which sit on the verge of vitality.
Residents relish scenic walking and biking throughout the residential streets, green spaces, and adjacent attractions: beloved, highly rated Crocker Highlands Elementary; Lakeshore’s hub of unique café culture and independent boutiques; Trader Joe’s and the Farmer’s Market at Splash Pad Park, which features far more than produce and is an every-Saturday outing for many; historic Grand Lake Theater, the art deco movie palace; Lake Merritt’s rowing and boating, three-mile shoreline perimeter for walking and jogging, public gardens, Children’s Fairyland. A sparkling scene by day and night, the lake is encircled by a necklace of lights suspended from lamp posts, originally put up in 1925, now energy efficient and designated a landmark.
The historic Key System was recast in 1960 as AC Transit, which provides local and Transbay bus service to and from stops throughout the neighborhood. A swift 10-mile ride to downtown San Francisco makes an easy commute with Wi-Fi aboard. Convenient highway access, as well as BART, add to the ease of roaming the Bay Area.