For the next owner of our wonderful Thousand Oaks home!
A few years out of law school, having moved from the city to the East Bay, we were on the hunt for our first home. It was 2004 and the housing market was crazy; none of the small cookie-cutter box houses we saw in Albany had that “it” factor or the potential we wanted for all the overbidding that was happening. Our realtor told us to go look at 624 Vincente. We didn’t think we could afford the beautiful Thousand Oaks neighborhood so hadn’t bothered to look. Thank goodness for our realtor, because the moment we set foot in the house, we knew it was the one for us.
Over the next 14 years, our prediction about 624 Vincente’s potential would prove true, particularly once we started our family. Our favorite upstairs room was, of course, the joint living/dining room, where we felt understandably lucky to be sitting in front of the warm fireplace or at the big dining room table reading, doing crafts, doing homework, practicing/playing music, opening up celebratory gifts, sharing meals . . . all with the beautiful SF Bay view as our background. We used the third bedroom next to the kitchen as a playroom when the kids were little, but as interests diverged a bit (we have a son and a daughter) and the kids grew older, the spaces downstairs became more important. The downstairs bedroom/bath was a perfect joint office/guest room for out-of town guests (and useful as a secondary playroom, admittedly), while the downstairs wood-paneled room became the family media room/library. When we needed a break from all things digital, we opened up the French doors to the spacious backyard for sun, play, and fresh air.
The backyard is absolutely a sanctuary of privacy and changed as our needs changed. When we first moved in, the backyard was all trees and wilderness. We cleaned it up and put in grass, a stone wall, and a patio. After the kids were born, we added a huge swingset/jungle gym with a slide and sandbox for the kids, as well as fences to create safe spaces for them. We eventually took out the grass as the kids moved into middle school, put in a sport court and added a large trampoline. We planted our apple tree, we grew and harvested zucchini, tomatoes, lettuce, herbs. We spent hours in the backyard, our private haven.
Really, 624 Vincente is an entertainer’s dream, for adults, for kids, for friends/family. We had parties galore outside - grownups on the gorgeous deck flowing in and out of the living/dining room upstairs while kids played in the backyard (supervised of course) doing treasure hunts, playing soccer, playing basketball, taking turns on the trampoline, playing fetch with the puppy, watching movies or playing Mario Kart Wii in the family media room. 624 Vincente is definitely the fun house!
So why did we move? Three years ago we moved to Paris, France, for a job we couldn’t turn down. Due to this same job, once our three-expat years in France were up, it made the most sense to move to New York, where we are now. We would still be living in 624 Vincente if we could have made it work.
We can unequivocally say that 624 Vincente is a home that has been filled with joy, laughter, and so many, many memorable milestones. We hope that you are able to make as many wonderful memories there as we have!
Ryan and Deb
P.S. What we miss: our neighbors! Vincente Avenue has the best (and smartest) neighbors! We participated (as happy contributors, as co-leaders, and as willing participants) in 600 Vincente Block Association activities such as block meetings, Halloween parade/parties, emergency earthquake drills, music concerts, and more. There is a helpful neighborhood email distribution list that we all use to communicate any issues or concerns. We also miss the local sports teams that the kids played on (baseball, soccer, swim), the wonderful Berkeley schools, the vibrant music and arts community, and walking to Solano for groceries, coffee, date night, bookstore, Zachary’s Pizza, Cactus Taqueria, and Gioia (not on Solano but darn close).
Some fun facts about the house: previous owners include widower Sam Nahem (professional baseball player and Chevron Union Leader aka Subway Sam) and a physician who practiced medicine out of the house!