Latest Makeover a Winner for Gold Coast Residence

Before San Antonio

The last of five awards given out by the Alameda Architectural Preservation Society during a gala on May 23 went to the owners of a special residence in Central Alameda.

With several twists of fate, the home at 1417 San Antonio was transformed from a Victorian to a Colonial (see above) and back (see below). “This is the story of a Queen Anne that has changed her outfit not once, not twice, but at least three times that we know of,” joked architect Jerri Holan.

First built in 1886 across from Franklin Park for attorney George Wright, the home was designed and built by A. W. Pattiani as one of Alameda’s first Queen Annes. It was then enlarged and remodeled.

“Brackets were removed and many other ‘fussy’ Victorian details and gingerbread were probably lost, as well,” said the architect. “Colonial Revival was the popular style of the day, and it demanded simpler details with classical elements.”

Attorney Lynn Faris and husband John bought the home in 1996 and needed to replace the porch, which included classical columns and a shingle-style trellis. They worked with staff with Rynerson O’Brien Architecture, who studied other Pattiani homes in the East Bay to design an L-shaped Queen Anne porch complete with a cupola on the corner.

In the upper front windows, Victorian sunburst panels were created, “which truly brought back the Victorian character lost at the turn of the century to Colonial popularity,” explained Holan. “Lynn and John Faris have indeed dressed this lovely Queen Anne in a splendid new outfit. In doing so, they have given the community a truly remarkable piece of architectural craftsmanship at its best.”

After San Antonio
(Photos courtesy of Jerri Holan, FAIA)


Cottage Renovation a Family Affair


The fourth building-preservation award presented at the Alameda Architectural Preservation Society’s gala on May 23 went to a Queen Ann cottage, built in 1889 at 1206 Ninth Street. The home was bought in 1904 by the grandfather of current-owner Susan Ironside. She became its owner in 2010, when her mother died.

“Thus began the current project with a simple desire to improve the downstairs unit and replace the stairs,” said Jerri Holan, an architect and award presenter. To prove the unit was legal, Ironside had to find the original 1915 building permit her grandfather used to build out the basement, which she found at the county assessor’s office. After that, Susan worked with McNeil Construction on extensive renovation.

“The cottage has been completely upgraded and brought into the 21st Century,” Holan shared. This entailed gutting the basement, replacing the brick foundation and doing a seismic retrofit.

Next, Susan’s son Dean put in a solar-power system for the water heater and a radiant-floor hydronic heating system. In addition, the family redid the front stairs.

“Using an old family photo of Susan’s along with some of the original balustrade, they recreated the wooden stairs … With custom iron handrails as a finishing touch, the stairs are truly a piece of craftsmanship. We’re certain they would meet the high standards of Dean’s Swedish great grandfather,” Holan explained.

(Photo courtesy of Jerri Holan, FAIA).


Honors to Central Alameda Home

auctions by bay

The third of five preservation awards given by the Alameda Architectural Preservation Society at its 16th-annual Preservation Awards event, held May 23 at Auctions by the Bay Theater (above), was presented to the owner of a home on Schiller Street.

“R-E-S-P-C-T! Aretha Franklin had it right, and so did Claudia Bowman, the restorer of 1715 Schiller Street,” said Jim Smallman, a retired teacher and the presenter of the first restoration award. “This charming 1925 vintage cottage has been restored inside and out with wonderful attention to detail, and respect for what it is.”

The home was designed as a “starter, with two bedrooms, as well as a nice backyard garden, Smallman shared. Ignoring the idea that it wasn’t worthwhile to restore such a small house, Bowman instead created “a gem.” “The house maintains its integrity and contributes generously to the street scene on Schiller,” the presenter explained. “This is really nice work! The restoration acknowledged the old wisdom that sometimes ‘less is more.’ ”

Bowman had to deal with a leaky roof, a sinking ceiling, falling plaster dry rot and trouble with the home’s electrical and plumbing systems. She also revived the made the exterior look like its old home, replaced the aluminum windows with wooden ones, restored an old china cabinet to its former glory and had the floors refinished.

“In short, while there was serious restoration needed on this house, the work was done in such a way that the integrity of the house was maintained – or should one say, recovered,” noted Smallman.


Jet at Alameda Point Recognized


The second of five preservation awards given by the Alameda Architectural Preservation Society at its 16th-annual Preservation Awards event, held May 23 at Auctions by the Bay Theater, went to the A-7B Corsair II at the East Gate of the Alameda Naval Air Station.

“The East Gate was the official secondary access to NAS Alameda, during its 57-years of operation. However, those who knew the Air Station’s features went in and out of the East Gate,” explained architect Dick Rutter.

“It provided a short cut through an industrial area which included the diversion around a group of five very large above-ground aviation fuel storage tanks. In the early 1980s, these tanks were taken out of service and removed.”

The aircraft that became part of the area’s landscaping had a structural failure in its fuselage after “a hard landing,” Rutter shared. “The aircraft display, completed in 1987, was unique in that the A-7 was fitted with (inert) ordnance, giving it the typical appearance of a Navy attack jet fully loaded for combat. It was an impressive sight!”

Volunteer began working on its deterioration in 2010, with the City agreeing to pay for parts and paint. Thanks to bird nests and massive amounts of corrosion, among other issues, it took the team two and a-half years to renovate and remount the jet.

“With the motto ‘Fly Navy’ in bright yellow on the leading edge of its dark blue pylon, the A-7, fresh in the colors it originally wore when flying in 1979, again welcomes one and all to Alameda Point,” Rutter concluded.


Ole’s Wins Preservation Award


The Alameda Architectural Preservation Society toasted some of Alameda’s finest students and structures at its 16th-annual Preservation Awards event, held on May 23 at Auctions by the Bay Theater. “We’re glad you are here to help us with our work of encouraging and recognizing architectural preservation,” said Erich Steiger, president of the group.

One of the preservation awards went to Ole’s Waffle Shop on Park Street for its façade remodel.

“Vickie Moniz, a member of the family’s second generation, contacted me and Annie Rutter, long time Ole’s customers,” said architect Dick Rutter, who noted that the business first opened in 1927 and then went on to become a community establishment.

“Workers who could install show-window glass, stone, tile and antiquated building materials, who knew methods for working with terrazzo and vitrolite, and who could also rehabilitate a 60-year old historic neon sign and an old operable awning , needed to be found,” Rutter explained. “Planning construction times around the annual Park Street Art and Wine Fair, the Fourth of July Parade and other community activities was also required.”

The work was partly funded by the City of Alameda’s Façade Grant Program. “Since the remodel has been completed, new and old customers alike are happy with the results,” the architect said. “You can still rely on the home cooking in the place that still feels like home … Ole’s Waffle Shop looks fresh, but is still familiar. Change is in balance with continuity.”

(Photo courtesy of Scuff Productions)


Sven Svendsen’s Life to be Celebrated

Svend Svendsen

Sven Svendsen, founder and owner of Svendsen’s Boat Works on Clement Ave., died Monday at his home.

The sailor and businessman was born in Denmark in 1932 and came to the United States in 1956, his son Sean told the sailing magazine Latitude 38.

He and his wife Suzanne started Svendsen’s in 1963, first at the Pacific Marina and then (three years later) at its current location across from Coast Guard Island.

Svend loved to race, design boats and participate in events at the St. Francis Yacht Club.

In an obituary shared with “Latitude 38,” son Sean said, “Svend had verve and panache, and was a lover of life. He will also be missed by his employees, whom he treated with the utmost respect and loyalty. Svend will be remembered by all for the positive influence he had on his community and the world around him.”

As stated in the image above, a tribute to Svend’s life will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 15, at the Encinal Yacht Club.


Sailing Center Event Set for Tonight


Alameda Community Sailing Center is celebrating a launch party from 6 to 9 p.m. tonight (Friday, May 31) at Pineapple Sails, 2526 Blanding Ave. (near Nob Hill Foods).

According to Kame Richards, “You won’t want to miss this community event and toast to over 50 new sailors on the San Francisco Bay as we begin with our ‘Discover Sail’ Youth Camp.”

There are still some openings for kids 8-13 who would like to sign up for the summer program, which is set for June 10 to August 2 at the Encinal Boat Ramp area.


Talk on Water-Themed Art Show on Tap

The Alameda Main Library present a talk on the show “Impressionists on the Water” from 6:30 to 8 p.m. this Wednesday May 29. The speaker is Marsha Holm, a docent from the de Young Museum in San Francisco.

The presentation of the talk comes right before the start of an exhibition at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco, which runs through October 13. The art show is meant to coincide with the America’s Cup races and will include boat models.

“Impressionists on the Water” focuses on the nautical life as revealed in more than 80 paintings and works on paper by the Impressionists, such as Claude Monet, Gustave Caillebotte, Pierre-August Renoir, and Camille Pissarro and Post-Impressionists such as Maurice Denis and Paul Signac.

Paintings included in the Bay Area show came from the Musée d’Orsay, Paris; the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam; the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; and private collections, as well as from the Fine Arts Museums’ own holdings.


Google Buys Makani Power


After investing heavily in Alameda’s wind-turbine company Makani Power, Google has purchased the innovative clean-energy firm, which is based at Alameda Point.

The news was first reported in a Business Week story on Wednesday, May 22.

The Makani Power website announces the news, but gives no details on the deal.

Makani was founded by the late Corwin Hardham and colleagues Saul Griffith and Don Montague in 2006.

Google invested $10 million in Makani in 2006 and another $5 million in 2008, according to TechCrunch. Makani has also received substantial support from the U.S. Department of Energy.

(Photo courtesy of Makani Power.)


Island Bar Hosting Luau on Sunday

Forbidden Island, the tiki-themed bar and lounge on Lincoln Avenue, is hosting its sixth-annual luau from 2 to 10 p.m. this Sunday, May 26.

The event is, surprise, co-sponsored by Mount Gay Rum of Barbados.

Guests 21 and older are asked to pay $5 to attend, which does not include food or drink.

“It’s time for that tropical vacation again-without leaving the Bay Area! Don’t miss this annual tradition at the Bay Area’s premiere destination for all things exotic and… conveniently located island of Alameda!” organizers shared.

There will be live music outdoors provided by Hot Steel & Cool Ukulele during the afternoon. The group’s musicians play classic hapa-haole songs from 1920 to 1940 on a steel guitar and other instruments.

Later in the day, guests can enjoy a pig roast with Hawaiian-inspired side dishes cooked by Family Affair Catering of Alameda. Also, there will be hula dancing by Aloha Polynesia.

Hawaiian and “exotica” music will be played indoors by DJ Fitz. Staff from Chick-a-Boom Vintage will bring vintage Aloha shirts and dresses for purchase at Forbidden Island.

At dusk, live fire-dancing will be performed by Fire Pixie, and Alameda’s own Aloha Screwdriver surf-rock band.

The bar will feature cocktail specials and rum tastings.