5480 Barrett Avenue – El Cerrito’s Mira Vista Neighborhood.  Find out what makes El Cerrito special in today’s Pacific Union Blog Post

4 Bedrooms 3 Baths Formal Dining & Big Family Room

1929 Grand Traditional Home – Offered at $800,000 – MLS Details

Open Thursday 9 Jul 2015 9:30 am to 12:00 Noon

Open Sunday 12 + 19 Jul 2015 2:00 to 4:30 pm

Tall elegant leaded glass windows, exquisite wood & wrought iron period details

Updated kitchen; stone counters; center island work space & breakfast bar; 5 burner counter gas; SubZero; great cabinetry storage; recessed lighting.

Upper master suite opens to roof deck & partial bay/city lights views.

Fabulous Deco master bath; 3 bedrooms upstairs; guest/office with full bath on main level.

Big back garden

2 car detached garage

Designer colors; refinished hardwood floors

Interior: 2,772 sq.ft. Per Appraisal; Lot: 6,784 sq.ft. Per Public Record

Photo Portfolio at and

@Serkes #ElCerrito #JustListed

Near El Cerrito Del Norte BART Station, direct bus to San Francisco, and Highway 80


Happy Birthday, United States Of America!

by Ira Serkes on July 4, 2015

May 28th, 1915 … just 100 years and 1 month ago … my father became a proud United States Citizen.

So glad he did.

I’m the son and husband of immigrants

What a great country this is!


The Star Spangled Banner – Fort Mc Henry – Baltimore



We are very sad to leave our wonderful home and neighborhood, which we planned on being our forever-keeper home.  A career change requires a move.   

We will truly miss the regular block parties, the lovely chats with our neighbors with a glass of wine around the fire pit, the neighborhood children coming to make s’mores or play with our cat, the easy walks to Kensington village on the quaint town pathways, and the charm of small-town local politics with its town hall meetings. 

We will miss the views of all three bridges and The City and the stunning sunsets.  Watching the fog roll through the Golden Gate Bridge over San Francisco while we sit in blue sky is spectacular.   We’ll never forget the multiple Fourth of July firework shows we see from the upstairs balcony!

Heartier walkers can walk to the Solano restaurants ands shops (but we admit that sometimes we took the convenient city bus back home!)  We are just 4 minutes from BART and a short walk to the highly regarded elementary school.  But our favorite strolls were along the forested Olde School walking trail in Wildcat Canyon just up one of the town paths behind our home.

You will fall in love with the small-town charm and quaintness of Kensington that is unique to the Bay Area.  And you’ll fall in love with Saint Albans Road as the best block in Kensington, from its social neighbors, to its quiet cul-de-sac, to its walkability to the school, the village, Solano, and wilderness strolls.   


Mike and Debbie

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120 St Albans Road – Kensington Village
$800,000 2+ Bedrooms

Open Sunday 21 Jun 2015 and 28 Jun 2015 2:00 – 4:30 pm

Romantic English Country Cottage! Spectacular Views: Golden Gate & Bay Bridges, San Francisco City Lights, Bay & Mt. Tam too!

Peak roof detail & welcoming flower-box windows, all on a coveted cul-de-sac near a public path down to small-town Kensington Village shops & library; up to Tilden Park & Ye Olde School Path!

Open kitchen/living/dining; cook’s kitchen with cabinetry rollout trays, amazing storage! bar sink; recessed lighting, built-ins; in-cab lighting.

Two bedrooms & plus room ideal as guest/office/play space.

Amenities include: heated bathroom floor; recessed lighting; built-ins;  fireplace featured in Sunset magazine; interior access garage; new HVAC ducting; basement & attic storage galore!  Recent earthquake reinforcement;  drought sensitive landscaping; CAT 6 wiring; data center in kitchen cabinet; whole house surge protector & AFCI/GFCI on many circuit breakers.

Indoor/Outdoor Living: floor to ceiling sliding glass doors lead to a wide back deck with wall mounted heaters, overlooking a large back garden; front entry brick patio & walk ways; greet friends with the warmth of a natural gas firepit!

Near Kensington Elementary – call school district to verify the elementary school admission availability

More Photos

Per Appraisal Interior: 1,633 sq.ft. Per Public Records Lot Size: 4,641 sq.ft. Built: 1938

MLS – Multiple Listing Service Link – active while this wonderful home is available for you to purchase it

Neither Agents nor Sellers have verified  square footage amounts.

#Kensington #JustListed #OpenHouse


Today is Flag Day

by Ira Serkes on June 14, 2015


983 Tulare – Berkeley’s Northbrae Neighborhood – Golden Gate, Mt. Tam + Bay Views!

Near Upper Solano Thousand Oaks and Hopkins Street Shops & Restaurants; Albany Library & Community Center

2 Bedrooms, 1 bath – $750,000 …. View, Near Shops

Welcome to our Open Home … we’ll leave the latch-string out to all of you

Open Saturday 13 Jun & Sunday 14 Jun 2015 2:00 – 4:30 pm

#Berkeley #Northbrae #ThousandOaks #OpenHouse #JustListed #Serkes

Provenance – the place of origin or earliest known history of something.

Usually used in reference to fine art or distinctive homes designed by local architects such as Julia Morgan, Bernard Maybeck, Walter Ratcliff, James Placheck or John Hudson Thomas, we can use it for 983 Tulare in Berkeley.  The original owners created a photo album of the the home .. from raw land to move in.


The pictures and comments on the pages which follow tell a story of a home from start to completion.

Read the remarkable photo album – click on the pages above or download link for the 4.4 MB PDF.

Join the legacy of Mrs. Collins, the 2nd owner.  Her son Mike wrote:

“Mom bought the house from Helen Bailey in 1986 when Mom was 70 years old. Helen Bailey and her husband built the house in the 1950’s”

Mom enjoyed living in the house for 29 years. She loved her views to the west so much that she always did her paperwork at either the dining table or a table in front of the living room windows while looking out at Albany Hill and the San Francisco Bay”

Wonderful Northbrae area! This hilltop Mid-Century is open and bright with big westward views! Near upper Solano Avenue shops, restaurants and Monterey Market; not far from North Berkeley BART, SF commute buses.

L-shaped plan wraps around a generous brick patio with views out to a large back garden. There’s a fresh contemporary look to this well-loved and well lived-in home; new designer custom colors and recently refinished hardwood floors; living room fireplace, beamed ceiling and builtin cabinetry/shelving add exciting architectural elements.

Two good sized bedrooms with large sliding door closets, and lower level bonus space with washer/dryer, great additional storage and a one car garage with interior access.

The green “grass” stays green without any watering!

MLS Data and Photo Portfolio – Link Active until a lucky buyer gets their offer accepted

Download the property flyer

Visit our Pinterest Site and 983 Tulare Board and Photo Web Page

#Berkeley #Northbrae #ThousandOaks #OpenHouse #JustListed #Serkes

Neither Agents nor Seller have verified square footage.
Interior: 1,146 sf;  Lot Size: 6,100 sf;  Built 1951



The green “grass” stays green without any watering!




Coit Tower San Francisco … and the Full Moon

by Ira Serkes on June 2, 2015

( Note: Colors not as taken – orange colors added in Lightroom)

I’ve been a huge fan of Frederic Larson after seeing his Mystical San Francisco photos of the full moon behind Coit Tower, the Golden Gate Bridge, and other landmarks.

He’s hosted many photo shoots through his Meetup Page … and tonight’s “Full Moon Over Coit Tower” meetup was absolutely the best.

Here’s why:


(Note: Colors not as taken – orange colors added in Lightroom)


I’ve been fascinated by night + low light photography ever since I saw photos by Berkeleyites Sherry Glassman and John Vias.

I hosted a meetup in Berkeley’s 4th Street neighborhood Thursday night to show others how to do it too.  Click the link to see photos that the Night Hawks took that night.

4th Street Berkeley Twilight & Night Photo Meetup

Thursday, May 28, 2015, 8:00 PM

Peet’s Coffee & Tea
1776 4th St Berkeley, CA

24 Night Owls Went

I’ve been fascinated by night + low light photography ever since I saw photos by Berkeleyites Sherry Glassman and John Vias. Meet us at 4th Street at twilight to find out how you can do it. + Tripod helpful (th…

Check out this Meetup →


Here’s my Low Light/Night Photography Tip Sheet for you to download and use.

Happy Shooting!

Ira Serkes

Many of my low light and night photos are at my photo sites:

These are the wonderful folks who taught me everything I know about night photography.



An amazing email Missouri Star Quilt Company sent to its customer … just brilliant marketing!

TweetA friend posted this on facebook, and I thought it was so brilliant I wanted to share it with you all. They wrote: Here is one of the reasons I shop at the Quilting Deals – Missouri Star Quilt Co <> . Here’s the email I got about my order being shipped: (It’s priceless!) “Thanks for […]

Read the full article → Business

Berkeley Humane Society … Join us in supporting their mission of “complete care for homeless animals”

TweetThe Berkeley Humane Society has been helping 4 legged children for a long time!  Their mission statement says: “Berkeley Humane provides complete care for homeless animals, from rescue to rehabilitation to placement. We match animals with loving and committed adopters, strengthen the human-animal bond, and promote the humane treatment of animals.” Last month we contributed […]

Read the full article → Cats & Dogs