Normandy Gardens, Oakland CA
80-year holiday tradition on display in Oakland
Famous for its Christmas lights and Halloween extravaganzas Picardy Drive is one of Oaklands most desirable streets. (SF Gate Article).
Located just blocks from Mills College and the sought after Maxwell Park neighborhood, Picardy Drive and Normandy gardens is an oasis. If kind neighbors, incredible holiday cheer and charming storybook homes make you smile, then you would be hard pressed to find a better location than Picardy Drive in the East Bay. Normandy Gardens has great access to BART, bus and freeway. The bordering neighborhoods including the Laurel district supplies this community with epicurean delights and boutique shopping.
A Rare Group of Storybook Homes
The storybook style is a nod toward Hollywood design technically called Provincial Revivalism and more commonly called Fairy Tale or Hansel and Gretel. While there is no specific definition of what makes a house storybook style, the main factor may be a sense of playfulness and whimsy. Most seemed snapped out of a craggy old-world village with intentionally uneven roofs, lots of cobblestone, doors and windows which may look mismatched and odd-shaped. It took a foothold in California, particularly in Los Angeles, during the 1920s and 1930s. A primary example can be found in the 1927 Montclair, Oakland firehouse, and in a more traditional English cottage-style in the 1930 Montclair branch library. Idora Park in north Oakland, California is a four square block storybook architecture development begun in 1927 on the grounds of the old amusement park. Other examples in Los Angeles are the Snow White Cottages, designed in 1931 by architect Ben Sherwood, Charlie Chaplin Studios built in 1919 by architects Meyer & Holler, the Charlie Chaplin Cottages, built in 1923 by Arthur and Nina Zwebell, a husband-and-wife architectural team and The Hobbit House built between 1940-1970 by Disney artist Joseph Lawrence.
William Yelland is noted for his (Thornburg) Normandy Village and Tupper & Reed Music Store, both located in Berkeley, California. Yelland designed homes in Oakland, Piedmont, Berkeley, San Leandro, Hayward, Woodland, Modesto, Clarksburg, Sacramento, Kensington and San Francisco, California.
W.W. Dixon is noted for his work with developer R.C. Hillen in creating the Dixon & Hillen catalog of home plans. Dixon is noted for Stonehenge & Stoneleigh villages in Alameda as well as Picardy Drive in Oakland, California.
Carr Jones is noted for the post office (now Postino Restaurant) in Lafayette, California. He designed and built one-of-a-kind homes in Oakland, Berkeley and Piedmont, California such as the impressive Houvenin House at 85 Wildwood Gardens in Piedmont (www.85wildwoodgardens.com). He also built the Steve Jobs home in Palo Alto, CA.