The Schneider Residence is a grand adobe estate on two acres in the hills above the San Francisco East Bay Area. At 1000 feet elevation the property offers a panoramic view of the valley below, the mountains to the east, and the Carquinez Straits to the north.
The home was designed and built by Doug Schneider, and it was completed in 1991.
Beautiful decks and garden paths that surround the house offer stunning views of the gorgeous California landscape, with Mt. Diablo, the Berkeley Hills, and the Carquinez Strait.
The 17 inch thick adobe walls keep the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The house has 37 solar panels generating up to 7000 kw on sunny summer day. Coastal influences keep the home cool; opening the doors and windows in the evening lets the fog rolling over the Oakland Hills from San Francisco cool the interior. The Mediterranean climate of the East Bay provides sunny days and cool nights.
Decorated in Early California Mission Rancho decor, the feel is relaxed and homey. Antlers, a yoke, and a cow skull collected from the neighboring hillside pasture serve as wall decorations. Terra cotta tile warmed by radiant heat in the winter, covers most of the common living areas.
Hunsaker Canyon was developed along Grizzly Creek from part of the Rancho Laguna de Los Palos Colorados land grant of 1841. The Hunsaker family lived in Lafayette in the 1880’s. Some of the Hunsaker family members are buried at the top of the hill in the Lafayette Cemetery near Lafayette Park Hotel and Spa. An 1885 photo of Mary Jane, “Doc” Hiram, Elizabeth Jane and Clara Hunsaker is found in Images of America: Lafayette, published 2007.
The Schneider property was purchased from Antony Fagundes in 1967 by Doug’s mother Elaine Schneider. Until construction began in 1988, the parcel was simply a golden California hillside with wavy weeds and not a tree to be seen.
Doug’s roots take him a little north to Sebastapol where his grandfather James Blaine Orr operated a berry farm. James was a rival to Knott’s establishing the boysenberry’s popularity. His great grandfather, John Sturznegger, rode with John C. Fremont in 1846 in the Mexican American War.
Although she was born in California, Karen’s family came from Midwest farming stock. Farm implements from our Kansas land decorate the walls of the dining room. Some remnants of our German roots are seen there also; with Emma Schwab’s confirmation photo and certificate from 1919, written in German but conferred in Colorado.