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House Talk

No. 18 - April, 2004

"Rockridge Mediterranean Reflects a Passion for Detail"
A talk with Janet Zampieri

Through the years, working as a full time real estate team, Judith Glass and Sheila Sabine have had the privilege to represent the owners of many beautiful Mediterranean homes. Their most recent listing - a superb example of Spanish revival design - will be offered for sale the first week of May. It is located at 5902 Buena Vista Avenue, in the heart of Oakland's coveted Upper Rockridge district.

The home was purchased in 1999 by Patrick Stirling and Janet Zampieri. They had moved from an elaborate Victorian in San Francisco to a classic craftsman in the East Bay. When they decided to buy a more elaborate house, they were drawn to the Buena Vista house, which combines the best of modern and old style homes and indoor-outdoor living. Janet says she has always had a natural curiosity about homes - especially the small architectural details - and having traveled extensively in Mexico and also Spain and Italy, the Buena Vista home captures the quintessence of Mediterranean touches.

The first glimpse of the house reveals its fabulous design lines - the circular turret, the peaked barrel tile roof and the intriguing white stucco walls that wrap around the house enclosing the enchanting private gardens and pond. The living/dining room features a soaring ceiling with exposed dark wood beams and a raised round fireplace shared between the two areas. Throughout the house, there is extensive use of Saltillo and Talavera tiles from Mexico, hand forged iron and blown glass fixtures, hand carved doors, alcoves, arches, and romantic patios.

Janet, a folk artist in her own right, put her distinct creative talents to work and began adding more authentic details. "What the house lacked, I added," she said. She installed mosaic and Talavera tiles to various interior stairs and the front fountain. She hired an ironworker to construct some interior and exterior stair railings, and create hand forged curtain rods for the lower level of the house. She added a copper vessel sink to the master suite and constructed a full lower level suite complete with circular tile patterns on the floor, white plaster walls, window seat, captivating niches, and a large mosaic egret panel in the bath. Ironically, the craftsman she found to do the plaster work was a man who had worked on the house when it was being built! She decided not to cover up the concrete walls in the lower level hobby room and bath but instead she scouted the Internet and found a technique that uses a chemical stain which reacts with concrete to give it a beautiful earth tone color. Embellishing even further the indoor/outdoor look, Janet added many colorful pots and plants to the private gardens, creating an exciting pallet of colors and textures. She planted an edible garden, and many different trees, including fig, avocado, peach, cherry and blood oranges.

When they leave their home in Rockridge, Janet and her husband Patrick will be moving to Mexico where they have purchased a home in Ajijic on Lake Chapala. This will be their primary residence and from this new and exciting base, they will continue their avid and on-going exploration of the world of Mediterranean art and architecture. To follow along on their excellent adventure, consult their website at www.psconsult.com.

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For further information or questions for our House Talk column, 
please contact Glass/Sabine by email:  Sheila@GlassSabine.com
or call us at 510-326-5055.

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