Medieval-style North Berkeley ‘castle’ on market for $5M

The Hume Castle at 2900 Buena Vista Way. Photo: The Grubb Company
The Hume Castle at 2900 Buena Vista Way. Photo: The Grubb Company

Described as a “magical architectural masterpiece,” the 5-bedroom, 7.5-bathroom home that’s known as the Hume Castle at 2900 Buena Vista Way has been listed for sale, priced at $5 million.

The medieval-style marvel was designed by John Hudson Thomas and built in 1929 for Samuel and Portia Bell Hume. Thomas took his inspiration from the 13th-century Convent of the Augustines in Toulouse, and it certainly looks like it would fit right into the Southern French landscape.

Like the French convent, the Hume mansion, a Berkeley landmark, is arranged around a large internal courtyard surrounded by colonnaded cloisters featuring Gothic tracery arches. It sits on just under three-quarter acres of private, gated property tucked into a sweeping curve of Buena Vista Way, to the east of the Rose Garden.

The Hume Castle at 2900 Buena Vista Way. Photo: The Grubb Company
The Hume Castle at 2900 Buena Vista Way. Photo: The Grubb Company

Samuel James Hume was a leading scholar of drama and a nationally known theatrical director and producer. His wife, Portia, studied sculpture in Paris, later obtaining her M.D. and teaching psychiatry.


The 5,746-square-foot home is by far the most expensive home for sale in Berkeley. The second most costly home currently on the market is 1530 Grizzly Peak Boulevard, a 5-bedroom built in 2005, listed for $2.78 million. The last Berkeley home to sell in the multi-million-dollar range was 25 Tanglewood Road, a rebuilt mid-century modern in the Claremont neighborhood. It sold for $3.9 million in July last year.

The Hume Castle at 2900 Buena Vista Way. Photo: The Grubb Company
The Hume Castle at 2900 Buena Vista Way. Photo: The Grubb Company
The Hume Castle at 2900 Buena Vista Way. Photo: The Grubb Company
The Hume Castle at 2900 Buena Vista Way. Photo: The Grubb Company
The Hume Castle at 2900 Buena Vista Way. Photo: The Grubb Company
The Hume Castle at 2900 Buena Vista Way. Photo: The Grubb Company
The Hume Castle at 2900 Buena Vista Way. Photo: The Grubb Company
The Hume Castle at 2900 Buena Vista Way. Photo: The Grubb Company
The Hume Castle at 2900 Buena Vista Way. Photo: The Grubb Company
The Hume Castle at 2900 Buena Vista Way. Photo: The Grubb Company
The Hume Castle at 2900 Buena Vista Way. Photo: The Grubb Company
The Hume Castle at 2900 Buena Vista Way. Photo: The Grubb Company
The Hume Castle at 2900 Buena Vista Way. Photo: The Grubb Company
The Hume Castle at 2900 Buena Vista Way. Photo: The Grubb Company
The Hume Castle at 2900 Buena Vista Way. Photo: The Grubb Company
The Hume Castle at 2900 Buena Vista Way. Photo: The Grubb Company

The home is for sale via Bebe McRae at the Grubb Company. No open houses are currently scheduled. For more information visit The Grubb Company online.

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Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside. Email: tracey@citysidejournalism.org.