A gracious updated home above Solano Avenue!

Listed for $1,385,000

Exceptional Thousand Oaks home

SOLD for $2,250,000 with 13 offers!!

about this home's










Welcome to a gracious home in an exceptional North Berkeley neighborhood!

Located in the coveted Thousand Oaks neighborhood, this stylish home built in 1922 offers a rare combination of key features that are in great demand! In addition to an exceptional location, you’ll enjoy level-in access, generous rooms, updated kitchen and baths, private outdoor spaces, and copious storage. Were that not enough, this home received a perfect BESO score of 10 for energy efficiency! As a bonus, the sellers converted the garage into a space they used as an office, that could serve many purposes. And there’s still plenty of tandem driveway parking.  

Nestled just above Solano Avenue, you can follow Indian Rock Path down to the top of this desination shopping and dining street, or up to Indian Rock Park and the Berkeley Hills beyond. With a Walkscore® of 95, this location is ideal for anyone who wants proximity to both urban amenities and the natural beauty of this area. You are on a quintessential tree-lined Berkeley street, complete with the neighborhood Contra Costa Rock Park just up the block.

The many visitors to this home over the past two Sundays have loved the big and bright kitchen! Everyone loves the idea of sitting in the breakfast nook and watching neighbors out on their walks. This house gets very high marks for the separation of the two bedrooms, and that each has an adjoining bathroom. Folks are impressed by the amount of storage, as well as all of the practical aspects: a spacious laundry closet, a side exterior access, and of course having the home be essentially one level is a huge plus! So many visitors walked in, looked at the view through the Live Oak tree and said "Wow!" On their way out I kept hearing people say "I would love to live here!" and "I'd never want to leave!"

You are greeted by a colorful front garden which changes with the seasons. As you approach you immediately enjoy the advantage of level-in access. A newly rebuilt Trex® ramp leads you from the front garden along the protected pelargonium path to the handsome solid oak front door set well off the street. Once inside you will continue to enjoy views of those lovely flowers, as well as pleasant private vistas throughout.

All of the rooms of this single-level home are generous, with two spacious bedrooms, two updated baths, as well as additional areas that add to the sense of gracious living. You are welcomed into a formal entry way with coat closet. Original coved ceilings and abundant windows blend with refinished hardwood floors and new lighting to provide an elegance that is both traditional and stylish.

The living room enjoys an efficient gas-jet fireplace with new elegant seagreen glass brick tiles. This room is bathed in light from three sides, and yet is completely private. It enjoys both distant vistas, and the nearby view of your own wisteria draped along the stairway of your back view deck.

The spacious dining room enjoys a wall of windows looking out on the planter boxes, and also receives a surprising amount of light throughout the day from a Solatube. In the evening enjoy the new chandelier, one of a suite of newly installed light fixtures.

The kitchen will delight anyone who enjoys cooking and entertaining. It boasts natural Maple cabinets with new hardware, new marble backsplash and counters and updated light fixtures. There are copious cupboards as well as a separate pantry. A central skylight, paired with recessed and task lighting makes this a beautifully bright work space.  A commercial-style Garland gas stove features a central grill and a warming shelf; new stainless appliances include dishwasher, refrigerator, and deep sink with garbage disposal. Completing the kitchen is an inviting breakfast nook surrounded by dual-pane windows that look out onto the front garden.

A practical laundry closet includes a washer and dryer and additional storage. A newly-created utility closet provides even more practical storage for larger items.

The gracious primary suite enjoys a wing of its own. The bedroom features lovely dual-pane windows, multiple closets and room to display books or prized possessions.

An updated bathroom features new quartz counter top and sink, new lighting, tiled stall shower, and a raised ceiling with a skylight and clerestory window that make this bathroom feel especially bright and spacious.

The second bedroom enjoys two closets (one with a secret compartment!), and direct access to the middle bathroom with tub. This bath has just been updated as well with new tile flooring, a new vanity and sink, and new lighting. On the other side of the bedroom double doors can remain closed to maintain its privacy. Or if the buyers prefer, those doors can be opened to a "plus room,” a tiled space with natural wood ceiling and recessed lighting that makes a great office or study. French doors open to an Ipe deck with both sylvan views and a peak of the Bay. What an ideal spot for morning coffee or lunch, or pick some herbs from the trough garden on the deck! From here you look out to the Bay through the canopy of the majestic Calfornia Live Oak that takes pride of place in the back garden.

A former garage has been largely rebuilt, and converted into a handsome space the owners used as a studio and office space with skylight, an efficient bathroom with shower and a separate electric water heater.* French doors open to a flagstone tiled patio which provides a private place for enjoying the garden, and beckons you to follow the brick path down to the lower level sitting area to experience some true serenity.

The basement (external access) offers endless opportunities. It has served the seller well as a creative space, and it could continue as a workshop, work-out space, art studio, play room or whatever fits your needs. There’s a handy W/C with a window, task lighting and additional windows, making it a bright and pleasant space, as well as offering practical storage areas.

The basement also houses a new and very efficient electric heat pump water heater, one of several energy-efficient features of this home. This property also benefits from an owned ~8 KW roof-top solar system plus an Enphase battery back-up and monitoring system. With dual pane windows in the front of the home, and added insulation, this home earned a perfect score of 10 on its BESO energy evaluation! With it's amazingly convenient location, gracious rooms and level entry, we hope this home will receive high marks from visitors as well!



  • Two+ bedrooms, two full baths, all on one level
  • Ramped entry: No steps to the front door!
  • Gracious and bright living room fireplace featuring new glass tiles; gas insert
  • Spacious dining room with Solatube, wall of windows
  • Primary suite with sitting area, dual-pane windows, multiple closets, updated bathroom with quartz counters and tiled shower.
  • Second bedroom with dual closets, direct access to updated bathroom
  • Expansive updated kitchen with maple cabinets, new marble counters and backsplash, stainless appliances; gracious breakfast nook surrounded by windows to the front garden
  • Tiled study opens to back view deck
  • Converted garage used by sellers as studio or office
  • Extensive upgrades and updates over the course of the sellers’ ownership, including insulation, retrofitting and electrical panel upgrade
  • Bright basement workshop or workout space abundant storage
  • Multi-level back patio and garden seating areas
  • Extensive energy efficient features: dual-pane front windows, upgraded insulation, ~8KW owned roof top solar system with 10KW of Enphase back-up batteries and monitoring system, plus a new high-efficiency heat-pump water heater

Main level occupies 1840 sq. ft. on a lot of 6096 sq. ft.

According to public records

*Neither seller nor listing agent has investigated or verified the accuracy of any of these sources of information, nor that these spaces are or may be made into legally habitable spaces, or may be suitable for the buyers' purposes. Buyer must conduct their own investigation with the city and/or appropriate professionals and rely solely on their own investigation. 

A Letter from the Sellers

June 2023



These last 14 years were a very special time for us here at Contra Costa.

We constantly said to each other over the years how grateful we were for this unique place on the face of the planet. It has the world class Bay Area culture and people. It also has the East Bay weather, with sunsets over the Golden Gate through the Oak tree that made us feel like we were living in our own secret tree house.

We have loved going for walks at night around the neighborhood, and conveniently being able to walk to do our shopping and errands: going to the post office, banks, little shops and restaurants. Noah’s Bagels was a favorite place to get breakfast, Peet’s Coffee was ideal for coffee and conversation, and it was great having a grocery store so nearby.

We enjoyed taking walks to both nearby parks; Contra Costa Park and Indian Rock Parks.  And then the bus stop at the end of the block made everything close too. (We put very few miles a year on our plug-in Hybrid Electric car, parked in our own driveway, and charged by our own 31 solar panels). Yet our home always seemed cozy and safe and away from the bustle.  Christine has made many neighborhood friends over the years as she was gardening in the front yard. We will miss all of our neighbors dearly.

We have also really enjoyed the house itself.  Previous owners over the years added on and improved the place, and we enjoyed continuing that tradition.  By updating to an 8KW Solar panels with 10KW of batteries, a new heat pump water heater, added insulation and a heat exchanger vent system, we got a perfect 10 out of 10 BESO score from the City. And it has made it a very comfortable and efficient house.

We fixed up the garage extensively and John happily used it for his office for many years. The workshop in the basement had craft supplies as well as a full shop set up, and a creative feel. Friends always wanted to hang out there, where John was sketching or inventing or fixing something. It proved to be a truly inspiring and flexible space place for John to carry on his inventing and designing business over the years.

Though sad to leave, we expect that it will be a magical place for the next owner too!


Christine and John Hollis

FAQ for 906 Contra Costa

When will any offers be heard?

We look forward to reviewing any offers by Friday, July 7th, by 11 am.


What areas of the property should the buyer anticipate investing in, in the near future?

The sewer lateral needs to be upgraded, and the bid is for $5900. That is the only change that a buyer is required to make by law, and they will have one year to complete that work.

The pest report is $7490, and all of the items are fairly small. The largest item is $1650 for some fungus damage, and the next at $1495 is for a small infestation of termites. That is the one item that should be addressed by a pest company. The other items are carpentry, and can more efficiently addressed by a small contractor/handy person.

The roof report indicated that with some maintenance on the main roof, costing $950 (addressing nails that have popped up, adding mastic around vent openings), the roof will last several more years. The roof has not leaked. The roof on the cottage was replaced this February (though not by a licensed roofer) and should last for a considerable period.

The foundation has had seismic retrofitting performed at some times in the past, including by CounterForce Inc., a highly-respected structural contractor. There is almost always more to be done. The buyer will be eligible for the seismic credit from the City of Berkeley transfer tax (you will get back $5 of every $7.50 of transfer tax you pay per $1000 of purchase price, depending on the purchase price.) To take advantage of the program, work should be completed within one year, unless an extension is obtained.

Was the garage conversion done with permits?

The work to rebuild the garage, improve its foundation, rebuild walls and the roof, install French doors and install the skylights was done by CounterForce Inc. in 2009, and the finaled permit for that work, and the scope of work (unsigned copy) are included in the disclosures. They also rebuilt much of the driveway. Additional work to add the bathroom, sink and fridge was done by the owners. They did not seek permits to establish it as a legal ADU, believing that this would be their “forever home”…


What is this home’s BESO score (for energy efficiency)? A perfect 10!

Windows facing the front were updated to dual-pane, along with some others in the living room and elsewhere. By updating to an 8KW owned Solar system with 10KW of batteries, a new heat pump water heater, added insulation and a heat exchanger vent system, these sellers made this home more comfortable, as well as efficient. There is 200 amp service to this home.

Should a buyer decide to go all-electric in this home, changing out the furnace for an electric heat pump, or moving to an induction cooktop during the remainder of 2023, there are additional incentives of up to $6950; visit CA Enery Smart Homes to learn more. And there are Federal incentives through the Inflation Reduction Act. Explore those resources here.


Summary of Work Performed in Preparation for Sale

The house was painted throughout the interior, and the majority of the exterior of the main house.

Floors were refinished. Most interior lighting fixtures were replaced. New glass tile was installed surrounding the living room fireplace. The kitchen was upgraded with marble counters and backsplash, new pulls, new sink, faucet, garbage disposal, refrigerator and dishwasher.

Bathrooms were upgraded with new sinks, faucets and countertops. The primary bath now has quartz counters while the hall bath has a new vanity and porcelain counter, new tile floor, and new light fixtures. The tub and tile were coated with an epoxy finish.

The front ramp was rebuilt and the area below waterproofed, and largely reframed.

A lower-level patio was created and landscaping upgraded throughout the property. Fences and railings were oiled, and the front gate rebuilt.

An efficient heat pump water heater was installed.

See the sellers’ list of improvements for more details, and for a summary of the many enhancements they made to this property during their ownership.


Arlene Baxter, Red Oak Realty

About Arlene

My job as real estate advisor is not to simply give you information, or to tell you what you want to hear, but to actively listen to you and provide expert guidance—to be both your Guardian Angel and your Devil’s Advocate!


Whether representing buyers or sellers, my top priority is to understand your priorities, and make sure that together we accomplish them, keeping the process as stress-free as possible!

I share some details here, but each clients' goals are very personal, and I'd love to be able to talk with you about how I might be of service in your particular situation. 


Simply put, I will strive to get you the highest possible return within the current market for your home. To that end:

  • I will guide you in preparing in the most cost-effective manner possible.

  • All of my listings in all markets have sold above original list price, and in more than 27 years, all of my residential listings have received multiple offers. That’s a remarkable record!

  • In all markets, my listings have sold “on schedule.” I like to schedule two weekends of open homes followed by offers being received on a set date.

  • My negotiating skills have been described as “masterful.” I enjoy the process of assuring that interested parties have offered you the highest and best terms within their powers.

  • My presentation team of contractor, painters and expert stager are used to my being extremely picky in how I prepare my listings. I want the first impression, and the last, to be the best that each property can show!
  • I enjoy pulling out all of the stops for my listings so that they receive the most active possible response. From extra advertising, boosting of posts, and turning my broker tours into "the place to be" with refreshments that encourage agents to linger at my listings, I strive to get the highest possible return for my sellers. 

In this first half of 2023 each of my listings has continued the pattern of selling quickly, and above list price. Four out of the six most recent sales not only sold on schedule, but the transactions were also extremely quick. From a pre-emptive offer, to a mid-century that attracted a huge amount of interest and sold 52% over list, each of my listings this year has done exceptionally well for my sellers. It would be my honor to apply my dedication and enthusiasm to a successful sale for your property!



I strive to provide the best of both: using technology in ways that benefits you in speed of response and in efficient use of your time, by using systems such as proprietary search programs, and electronic document signing. I also use technology actively in promoting my listings broadly to the world through multiple, targeted channes, video and social media . But I never want to lose sight of the importance of human communication. I will be available for you when you just need to talk!



I have a special interest and extensive knowledge about conserving energy and sustainable building practices. I’d be happy to recommend highly-trained building performance contractors who can help you evaluate a home’s energy efficiency and indoor air quality. I am proud to have been one of four agents nationwide to assist in forming the GREEN designation of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), which I hold. I am also the founder of the original Berkeley (BAR) GREEN Council, before helping to found the Climate Action Committee of the Bridge Association of REALTORS. I have organized many inperson and online presentations on sustainable practices, including video tours of a net-zero home, several sessions on the advantages of electric systems, including heat pumps and induction cooktops, and presentations on renewal energy, the challenges to our solar industry from NEM 3. I've also put together presentations on how to avoiding plastic during Plastic-Free July, using native plants to support our local bird, bee and butterfly habitats, and many others. 

I strive to make smart choices when updating a home, including how new fixtures and appliances can be sourced, and how the old ones can be recycled. 



I have a special passion and expertise regarding vintage homes:

    • I have written articles for Old House Interiors and Style 1900, both national magazines devoted to period homes, especially those of the Arts & Crafts movement.

    • I have a network of artisans and contractors who are knowledgeable of and sensitive to period-appropriate improvements

Owner of a Berkeley landmark designed by Julia Morgan. I also prepared a successful Mills Act Agreement application with the City of Berkeley, and am personally familiar with the advantages of such an agreement for historic properties.




      • University of California, Berkeley, Alumni Association lifetime member
      • Hillside Club active member, former Board member, Vice-President and organizer of the Fireside Lecture Series for several years
      • Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association, member,  volunteer and former Events Committee Chair
      • National Trust for Historic Preservation, member
get in touch


Broker Tour:

Thursday, June 22, 9:30 - 12:30 pm

Open Houses:

Sundays June 25th

and July 2nd, 2 - 4:30 pm


Additional Showings by Appointment:
Contact Arlene Baxter
(510) 717-1799
[email protected]

Arlene Baxter

Red Oak Realty

2012 REALTOR of the Year, BAR

I'll be your Guardian Angel and your Devil's Advocate!

DRE# 01209552

510.717.1799 mobile


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Neighborhood Gallery

906 Contra Costa Avenue

Tucked in between the Berkeley Hills, Kensington, and the vibrant Solano Avenue shopping district, Berkeley’s Thousand Oaks neighborhood is a family-friendly enclave that boasts a great suburban feel close to the big city. 
Natural rock outcroppings are a notable feature of this neighborhood, with many such formations incorporated into backyards, driveways, and even interior home design. There a lovely large example of these Northbrae rhyolite outcroppings right up the block from this home. The original developers in Thousand Oaks were sensitive to the natural landscape and laid out the streets to follow the gently curving topography. Ancient oaks were preserved, and the largest rock was donated by the developer and turned into a public park. Today, Great Stone Face Park in the hills is still popular with rock climbers practicing their skills.
Public transportation in Thousand Oaks is great. Several Alameda-Contra Costa Transit transbay buses whisk commuters from Solano Avenue to San Francisco. Residents in Thousand Oaks have two BART stations to choose from: both the El Cerrito Plaza and North Berkeley BART stations are just a few miles away.
Large yards, safe streets, and a quiet vibe make Thousand Oaks popular with families. And on the second Sunday in Septempber, all of Solano Avenue becomes a continuous block party, showcasing local services and businesses, non-profits, schools, as well performances, crafts and food for sale, and even a parade!