Most expensive house for sale in Berkeley ever?

A terrace leading to a garage and the home's entrance can also be used as an outdoor entertainment space. Photos: Sotheby's International Realty

While much attention is being paid to a beautifully restored Victorian that is up for sale for $2,500,000 over in north Berkeley, another grand home has quietly come on the market in a more elevated part of town — specifically in those hybrid 94705 hills where Berkeley zipcode meets Oakland taxes.

The asking price for the 8,500 sq ft home at 4975 Grizzly Peak Blvd is also elevated, at a not insubstantial $9,500,000. While this house is the absolute architectural antithesis of the 1889 house on Albina Avenue in that it is strikingly modern, both display an opulence and desire to showcase the finer things in life.

The sleekly contemporary, three-level home, which has six bedrooms, was designed by Robert Swatt of Swatt-Miers Architects in 2009. Perched at one of the city’s highest points, it offers commanding views of the bay via dramatic a series of cantilevered terraces and disappearing walls of glass.

The interiors blend limestone, mahogany and kaya wood accented by sculptures from the owner’s native India, as well as a number of striking paintings by his daughter, Namita Kapoor.

The first floor has two seating areas, as well as an open plan dining area and kitchen

Last month, the home was featured on the American Institute of Architects’ inaugural East Bay Home Tour — a faultless way to prepare the ground for a listing. Viewing is by appointment only and details on the house can be found on Sotheby’s International Realty website.

Sliding doors and glass railings on one of the home's wraparound decks

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  • Shutterbuggery

    BERKELEYGate? SFGate? Its beginning to blur…

  • lucymcd

    I’d rather live in an airstream trailer. Jesus. Who needs such a showplace?

  • It’s in Oakland, about 0.8 miles from the nearest corner of Berkeley.

  • Irisandjules

    Interesting. Maybe that explains why the house felt like an un-lived-in museum. 

  • BklyPerson
  • Heather W.

    Personally, I’m very much looking forward to seeing the Leuder house on Albina next week (BAHA members are invited for a reception). 

    I’d have vertigo 24/7 if I had to spend any time in a living space like this. 

  • T. Ratcliff

    2009? Looks like  a Don Olson house circa 1969 (that’s a compliment).

  • libraterian

    Beautiful, true to itself. As Berkeley was, before pizza and gourmet roach coach fare became the most important things in life. People like what they know, and the reactions to this house show little that is. 

  • Akmonday

    yeah I’m obsessed with that Albina house, have been for years. I can’t wait for an open house. This thing on grizzly peak looks like and airport. of course I’d go to an open house for that too.

  • s3

    It is a nice place, but let’s be real – when the Hayward Fault inevitably goes off, that house is either going to slide down the hill (rainy season) or burn to a crisp (dry season). Sure you can say that about any house in the East Bay hills, but to plunk down $10 million on a doomed property is just insane

  • meh

    I like the view, but that is one cold, uninviting home.  Sheesh.  

  •  In this specific case, I think your criticism is unfounded. It’s pretty in a way and it has amazing views, but this house lacks warmth. It lacks coziness. As a museum or an office it would be amazing, but it looks and feels rather sterile.

  • Anonymous

    We saw the Leuders house yesterday.  It is literally jaw-dropping.

    Lucy, our late beloved calico cat developed our LTC (Lucy The Cat) home rating system … where each home receives a 1, 2, 3 or 4 paws.  Special homes receive the dread hair-ball rating.

    2,493 homes have received an LTC ranking over the past 4 years.

    This is the first home we’ve seen deserving of the ranking “jaw-dropping”

    It’s astonishing.

    The reception is for BAHA Members … That, by itself, is worth joining

    Information on the Leuders home

    The BAHA website said it was “Built by Ira Boynton in 1889”

    Ira (no relation) Serkes

  • My thoughts exactly when I toured that home during the AIA East Bay Home Tour. In fact, seeing this home brought out an unexpected reaction on my part that could best be described as a mixture of fascination, disgust, and nausea.

  • bunny168

    That was my thought too, the next big one will take this place out. The owners had better get Earthquake Insurance also, even if just for the next little one because with all that glass, it will all break in the flexing of the house.

  • bunny168

    Just becuase they have it on the market for $9,500,000 doesn’t mean it is really worth that. Who says it is a $9.5 million dollar house? It will be interesting what it really sells for, if it sells at all.

  • Jb120

    I also toured it during the AIA Tour and had a positive feeling about the home.  Maybe I am sensing some bitterness for people’s lack of ability to afford it. Just a thought, LOL. I felt warmth and the views are amazing from pretty much every room! Extravagant, maybe, but I am sure there is the right person or people out there that will fall in love with it.  It’s truly unique and modern and sleek and a wonderful place for parties!!! Stop hating people!

  • Jb120

    Oh by the way, I personally can’t afford it either, but appreciate it for it’s beauty and what it is. :)

  • Bry

    saw this magnificent property on the architectural tour and knew there was
    something special inside as I walked up the long drive to the front door. I
    stopped and stayed at the front door for five minutes soaking it all in. I just
    didn’t want miss a thing. I could have stayed all day in the family room,
    kitchen area with those sliding doors open. Wow! The city was right there.
    The main floor was so magical, I spent an hour on that level alone. I hope
    someone who buys loves to entertain. It would be a shame for only a few folks
    to ever see this home and its views.  If only I was rich.

  • Vdeer

    Did anyone see the previous house that this one replaced?  It was fairly horrid. This has a very L.A. fab. look to it. ‘Tis very windy up there….But I bet they built with that in mind!

  • EBGuy

    Mr. Kapoor meet Mr. Kapor.  The only question I have, is how many cars can you fit in that garage?
    BTW, $2.8 million tax basis for those who are interested.
    Tracey, I’m going to give you a pass on the Berkeley headline; thanks for posting (in spite of the location).

  • EBGuy: I appreciate your largesse :) I know this one could run and run, but it is a Berkeley mailing address.

  • Cacalves

    What’s up with all the tire marks on the terrace leading to the garage? I hate when architects do not take into consideration the long term maintenance of materials or how they will age on the long run.

  • Carl

    could they make the column out of glass?

  • EBGuy

    Well we all need an occasional fix since the demise of Bay Area Home Girl. Sniff  ;-(

  • Randomguy

    berkeley address….CITY OF OAKLAND!!!!Don’t believe me? Call 911 and see who shows up. Go register your kid for Berkeley Schools and see what they tell you. Not to say that Oakland PD and Oakland Fire are bad because they are NOT (schools are though) but do not believe the agent

  • You are right that whoever lives in this house pays their taxes in Oakland. We made it clear at the top of the story — it’s in that part of the 94705 zip that is Oakland but with a Berkeley mailing address.

  • Anonymous

    Fine, you haters. When I buy this place, none of you are invited to the housewarming party.

  • Anonymous

    How many Volvos do you think would fit on the parking pad?

  • Bruce Love

    Oh, no, not a single one.  That wouldn’t be a good fit.  Not at all.

  • Anonymous

    A poll then.  What make/model car is most likely to grace the new owner’s parking pad?

  • guest

    I’m sure whoever buys this house will not be too concerned about cost of maintenance.

  • I couldn’t live in this house. I feel queasy with vertigo when I look at the deck.  My eyes keep going to the sofa that looks like it is on the edge and I feel sick as I imagine sitting there. And I can’t quite see: is there a glass wall there?

    I couldn’t live with the vertigo but put this house in a less ‘perched’ perch, something grounded, and I would love living here. I love its modernist aesthetic. Some comments here seem to hate the cool feeling of modern home and furnishing design but it appeals to me.  For me, cool modernity strips everything away and invites human warmth to take over the space.

    I am fascinated as I try to imagine what it might be like to go through the life that could afford this home.  There are some humans who can literally buy any home they like.  Someone will buy and love this home.  I wish I were in a position to buy it cause then I would buy a spectacularly modern home . .. .somewhere else.

  • Maybe? Not totally transparent, but they could probably make something out of light-transmitting concrete.


    I just looked up the parcel tax on the $2.5 mil Albina house – $4,614.56 per year.  You can thank Prop 13 for protecting these homeowners from overpaying on their taxes.

  • Heather W.

    I’m bitter than I can’t afford the 1330 Albina Street house, not so much this one. I actually think this house is aesthetically beautiful, but it’s not the style of house I would purchase. If I could afford anything other than my shabby Berkeley bungalow, that is….

  • Heather W.

    Wait, how much in taxes are paid on a 9.5 mil property per year???

  • Heather W.

    That’s about to change dramatically for new owners!

  • Vigfusson

    I’ve had the pleasure to visit this house and must say it’s absolutely breathtaking.  The attention to detail and amount of thought that must have gone into it is beyond anything I’ve seen in Berkeley before.  And even though many here associate modern design with nauseating sterility, this home is anything but that.  It’s warm and welcoming with a stunning view, and will make a most wonderful home for whoever is lucky enough to get it.

  • Hateman

    That big stretch of concrete reminds me of an LA freeway. What a disgustingly bad design.

  • DC

    I don’t get all the hate.  I’d live here in an instant, and think it’s beautiful.

    Now $9.5M…well, it won’t sell for that.  That’s pie in the sky.

  • jason

    meh.  wake me up when 6889 devon way comes on the market. ;-)

  • paulam

    Please call me at 415-469-0584 if you are still interested in 6889 Devon Way.
    My best,

  • SF Sunset Guy

    Pruii in Berkeley naturally.

  • brooke

    I know the owner of 6889 devon way! In fact my dad worked at the company devon way for several years. I got the full tour of the place and even got to go through the trap door where the real view is on the roof :) He has incredible works of art and priceless artifacts in that mansion. He’s a nice guy too.