Dear Potential New Owner:
Thank you for considering 5256 James Avenue!
For nearly a decade and a half, this house has been a home that we have lived in and loved. We have raised our children here from birth to middle school, hosted parties and shared the space with family and friends, and developed lasting bonds with our neighbors. We have appreciated (and made full use of!) the easy walk to the shops and restaurants of College Ave. and Temescal. And, when needed, we have taken refuge from the bustle of Oakland in the greenery and relative quiet of the cozy backyard.
When we first saw this house, as tentative first-time homebuyers back in 2004, we had a feeling that it was a special place. But the prospect of buying something as big and expensive as a house was daunting. Nonetheless, we decided to take the plunge, and we have been glad ever since that we did! Over time, we have also come to learn a few things about the house that we didn’t fully appreciate at first. So in case it is helpful to you in considering a potential offer, we wanted to share some of these things we’ve come to better appreciate:
The house is well-architected, with what we’ve always found to be an intuitive layout and flow. As new home buyers without a sophisticated understanding of architecture, we could sense that the house seemed well-designed, but couldn’t necessarily put our finger on why. Now, having lived here for 14 years, we have come to a refined and more specific appreciation of the many little things about the house that together add up to a big difference. The rooms feel spacious, thanks to high ceilings and ample windows, and flow naturally into each other. The repeated architectural motif of arches in the entryway, dining room built ins, kitchen ceiling and back door help further unify the space. The bedrooms are, in a space-efficient way appropriate for a small house, nicely separated from the living areas; and the upstairs bedroom (which for us, was the perfect home office) is further set apart for privacy. The backyard is accessible, inviting, and integrated with the house, through a combination of the back entryway, the sliding door in the bedroom and the bridge of the long gentle back deck.
The trees and greenery provide shade in front, and help create a cozy private extension of the house in back. We have especially appreciated the privacy and functionality offered by a backyard that is enclosed on all sides by walls of greenery. For us, the easily-accessed backyard served as an extension of the house, giving us extra space to relax and entertain, and extra space for the kids to ruckus and play. In the front of the house, the trees shade the yard, and the camellia tree that spreads across the front window helps create a sense of privacy and separation from the street, while still letting in plenty of light.
The kitchen is thoughtfully designed and very usable. We love to cook and entertain, and came to appreciate the design and functionality of the kitchen. The floor-to-ceiling cabinets, and additional cabinets in the breakfast nook, provide plenty of storage, while the extra-deep countertops provide plenty of space to work. The rounded corners on the counters and cabinets soften the space and add a bit of style… plus there’s no sharp edge to bump into :-) We’ve made some upgrades along the way, including new appliances and new countertops just this year, but the overall design has, for us, stood the test of time, and we hope the next owners enjoy it as much as we have.
The house, as you probably already know, has a “walk to everything” location… but it’s also on a less-trafficked side street, and has super-convenient access to multiple transit options to boot. James Avenue is only two blocks long and not a through street to anything, so it has little traffic and correspondingly less noise. But from that sheltered starting point, we are able to walk to an extraordinary range of destinations, from the shops and restaurants of College Ave., to the burgeoning scene on Telegraph Ave. in Temescal, to the super-size Safeway and traditional retail at 51st and Broadway, to the Rockridge Farmers Market right down the block. And if we need to get into the city, we have easy access to Bart, transbay buses and casual carpool, or it’s a 15-minute drive or Uber/Lyft ride during off hours.
We are sorry to leave our beloved home and the vibrant and diverse community of Oakland, but it has come time for our family to start a new chapter of life elsewhere. As we move on, we sincerely hope that our house can become a cherished and celebrated home for a new generation of owners.
With best regards,
Matt, Ruth Ann, Jonah and Hava