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Restoring History

Enjoy some of Piedmont’s most beautiful historic houses—and support a good cause—at the annual Heart of the Home Tour.


If there’s one thing we all love doing, it’s looking at gorgeous houses. So at the end of the month, head to Piedmont for the Children’s Support League’s annual Heart of the Home Tour. In the meantime, take a sneak peek at four of the historic homes on the tour.

This year, there’s even a grand mansion built in the 1930s for financier Dean Witter’s cousin. Then, buy tickets so you can steal ideas for your place or just enjoy a day of touring beautiful houses and shopping at the event’s boutique. It’s all for a good cause—the event benefits at-risk kids in Alameda and Contra Costa counties






Glen Alpine


A hand-carved floating staircase (above) rises against a backdrop of leaded glass windows in the entryway of this 23-room, four-level home. Intended for luxury living and entertaining, the house was designed in 1930 for Jean Witter, financier Dean Witter’s cousin and business partner.

Williams & Wastell Architects gave it the comfortable ambience of an English country home, adding grandeur with Gothic and Tudor revival touches. Careful remodeling added modern conveniences. The cabinetry of the contemporary kitchen island mirrors the unusual design of the original oak and tile kitchen floor.







The owner of this 1924 Spanish Colonial bungalow drew from her design background to direct a remodel that maximized space for efficiency, ease, and beauty. French doors bring the outside in to the living room, which also now opens more to the kitchen. An iron railing replaces a wall along a once-dark staircase. The decor combines high-end materials, reworked, readily available products, and custom-made pieces with a flair that evokes the look of a light-filled Parisian apartment.





A striking discovery during the remodel of this 1928 Oakland Mediterranean was the beam ceiling in the vaulted living room, where a large window frames a sweeping two-bridge view. An earlier reworking, probably in the 1970s, covered the beams. The home now boasts an expansive chef’s kitchen, a family dining area with an in-kitchen play-and-entertainment space for small children, and a pool just off the family room. An elegant curved staircase lit by a towering etched glass window leads from the foyer to a cozy den and media room.





A thorough four-year remodel of a 1928 Noble and Newsom Tudor restored and enhanced its original glory. Painted-over Douglas fir woodwork was stripped and restored, and 400 square feet were added to create a lavishly appointed gourmet chef’s kitchen.

The lower-level game room now boasts a catering kitchen. An outdoor remodel and extensive landscaping added a terraced garden, pool, pool house, bocce court, and skateboard ramp, as well as a fireplace in the garden summerhouse.


For a Good Cause         


The Heart of the Home Tour raises money for at-risk children in Alameda and Contra Costa counties. Last year, the Children’s Support League awarded $188,000 to 27 agencies serving children. Grant recipients included Bay Area Crisis Nursery (residential care for young children whose families are under stress or in crisis), Center for Human Development (after-school programs for children and youth in North Richmond), and Emergency Shelter Program (shelter, support, and education for women and children who are victims of domestic violence or homelessness).

Take a tour of these four houses and more at the Heart of the Home Tour, April 23–24. Tickets are $45–$55 in advance ($50–$63 at the event); Friday-only VIP tickets are $85. For information, visit the Children’s Support League website at wehelpkids.org.


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