Ursula K Le Guin set her sci-fi fantasy stories in the fictional universe of Hainish, but her childhood was shaped by this magical Berkeley home, designed in 1907 by Bernard Maybeck.
The American author wrote about the house in an essay titled Living in a Work of Art, taking inspiration from its unordinary Swiss-chalet design and cosy interiors, which conjured far-off lands and mountain living.
She said: ‘I wonder if much of my understanding of what a novel ought to be was taught to me, ultimately, by living in that house. If so, perhaps all my life I have been trying to rebuild it around me out of words.’
Known as the Albert Schneider House, the five-bedroom California property features broad eves and several balconies on the exterior. Inside it has undergone meticulous restoration to its century-old interiors, including the living room and dining room – refinished in redwood and nod to the glamour of the gilded age.
Meanwhile, the sunroom evokes ‘the feeling of being in a treehouse,’ says listing agent, Helene Barkin of The Grubb Company, who is marketing the Berkeley property for $4.1m.
You get 3,686 sq ft for your buck, with three bedrooms on the second level. The master bedroom has views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco from its windows and private balcony.