map-marker Berkeley, California

Berkeley Architectural Heritage group's promotional misrepresentation

Watch out for BAHA's promotional copy!

The editor and probable head of this organization got pretty defensive when I questioned her on the veracity of the Maybeck tour . Not for this tour itself...I understand that its not all Maybeck.

But I can't gauge what they mean in their promo materials. And Thompson's spirited reply reeks of poor customer response and appalling defensiveness. And when she gets questioned, she hides behind "well, did you read the material?!?!!?"

Their Julia Morgan tour from 2012 offered looks at Morgan architecture. Several of the buildings were renovated beyond recognition; two were student residences that reeked of beer.

The City Club was a great example of Morgan's style, as was the UC Gymasium building.

What gets me is Daniella Thompson's vehement, attack dog response. Is that any way to respond t a customer?

The email exchange is here:

My my my...

A tad touchy, a bit defensive, aren't we, Daniella!

Yes, beer soaked, the two residence halls at the top of the tour. Those two residences reeked of beer.

Not in pristine condition is right.

But it would have been good to know that the renovations over the years virtually disguised the Morgan characteristics.

Your response is laughable...


On 4/7/14 10:34 AM, "Daniella Thompson" wrote:


> Dear Mr. Lee,


>> Can I get a contact email for the programming person for the Maybeck tour?


> Kindly read the information on our Spring House Tour page:



> This should disabuse you of the notion that we are offering an all-Maybeck

> tour. The tour is called “Maybeck’s Rose Walk and Surroundings” (Maybeck

> designed Rose Walk) and includes ten houses by various architects.


> Two Maybeck-designed houses will be open on the tour. The rest are by John

> Galen Howard (with a wing by Julia Morgan); Ernest Coxhead; Walter H.

> Ratcliff, Jr.; Warren C. Perry; William I. Garren; Sidney, Noble & Archie

> Newsom; Edwin Lewis Snyder; Roger Lee; and W.T. Richards.


> We have already had a Maybeck Country tour in 2009:



> This years’s tour is different; it celebrates the centennial of Rose Walk.


>> I'm just wanting to be sure that we don't get a similar deplorable tour as

>> we did with the so=called Julia Morgan tour of several years ago.


> Had you wanted to see only pristine Julia Morgan houses, you should have gone

> on our 2010 tour, “Looking at Julia Morgan”:



> You went on the “Julia Morgan, Architect to Town & Gown” tour in Fall 2012

> that marked Julia Morgan’s centennial:



> That tour was not one of our customary Spring House Tours but a special fall

> tour organized to coincide with statewide celebration. It was offered at a

> reduced price precisely because it focused on the campus area and some of the

> buildings shown were not in prime condition. Nevertheless, there was a lot to

> learn on that tour, and we received a great deal of positive feedback from

> tour goers who were glad to see buildings that would not have otherwise been

> available for viewing.


>> That tour included a non-Morgan building with a Morgan designed table;


> That was McCreary-Greer House, which happens to be BAHA’s headquarters and is

> definitely worth seeing, regardless of who designed it. It was included on the

> tour because of its location directly across the street from the Berkeley City

> Club. This enabled us to have our ticket table and reception directly on the

> tour route.


>> several beer-soaked residence halls that had been so modified that it was

>> tough to see the Morgan attributes, one other residence hall that was not

>> beer soaked but also modified beyond recognition of the stated intent of the

>> tour.


> Aren’t you exaggerating? No house was “beer soaked,” and the Morgan features

> were quite evident, albeit not in top condition. If you don’t recall them

> clearly, look here:



> As for the “stated intent” of the tour, have you actually read the tour

> announcement? I doubt it.

> You can do so here:



>> Of the handful of Morgan buildings, I counted two that lived up to the

>> organization's marketing promotions.


> There were a total of seven Morgan buildings on the tour—all that were

> available within walking distance. It appears that you did not form your

> expectations based on our actual promotion, because we never promised

> perfectly renovated mansions. Quoting from our announcement: “The tour will

> include several private residences designed by Miss Morgan—now student living

> groups or utilized for offices, but all retaining much of their original

> interior and exterior character.”


>> What are the conditions and renovation statuses of these Maybeck buildings?


> This is a Spring House Tour, on which you can expect to see a variety of

> artistic North Berkeley houses of various sizes, designed by various leading

> architects and well maintained by their owners. It’s a high-quality tour, and

> the tickets are priced accordingly, but it’s *not* an all-Maybeck tour.


> --

> Daniella Thompson

> _______


> Website Editor

> Berkeley Architectural Heritage Assn.




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1 comment

I hate to burst your bubble, but this "pissed consumer" page is for a different Berkeley Homes, a home-building group based in Colorado. I was sincerely confused by your post until I sorted out that it was in California, but I would recommend not listing an unrelated complaint here for the Colorado "Berkeley Homes."

Anjelina Xqe
map-marker Denver, Colorado

Berkeley Homes planted damaged tree

Berkeley Homes planted damaged tree

We bought a new home from Berkeley in May 2012. The front yard tree was dead within a month of us closing on the house.

They don't warrant any of their landscaping they provide. They refuse to replace the dead tree and the Lowry HOA requires a healthy tree be in place by October 2013. We had to pay $480.99 for the dead tree to be removed and plant a new tree. This expense follows us having already paid for the landscaping as part of the home purchase.

Four of the five homes Berkeley built on our street have dead trees. The first house's tree is still alive as it was planted long before the other four homes were built and landscape installed. Berkeley's landscaper, Mountainview Landscaping, damaged our tree before it was even covered with dirt. There were no roots on the dead tree because they were broken off of the ball when the ball was dropped in the hole.

One shovel in to the dirt easily tipped the dead tree over because no roots were anchored in to the ground. And they left plastic wrapping around the ball of the tree. The tree had no chance to grow. Yet Berkeley refuses to take responsibility.

Our neighbors are all stuck replacing one or some of them have two dead trees. Neighbors on the street behind us with Berkeley Homes (one year older than ours) also have dead trees.

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