Berkeley Hills Home Gets Eco-Friendly Remodel

Berkeley-based architect, founder of Rangr Studio, and a lecturer in architecture at the UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design, Jasmit Singh Rangr is one piece to the team that built his family’s stylish, minimal, cost-conscious home near the Grizzly Peak summit in the Berkeley Hills. His wife, Abigail Dillen, president of Earthjustice, a nonprofit, public interest environmental law firm, is the one who truly made it possible.

According to Sunet, The challenge began in 2014 when the couple and their young son, Sher, moved from Manhattan to the Bay Area after Dillen was offered a promotion at Earthjustice. Dillen began working at Earthjustice back in 2000, starting in its Bozeman, Montana office, and had risen steadily through the ranks. When the opportunity to relocate to the headquarters in her home state arose, she jumped at the chance.

“I grew up in Sacramento and went to law school here in Berkeley, so I knew the city, and I knew where I wanted to live. When I was a kid, San Francisco was the big city. It was a dream,” she says.

Dillen had a sense that the housing market would be tough upon her return, but it still came as a shock when she and Rangr were outbid by other buyers with deeper pockets again and again. That’s when they realized they needed to take a bolder approach, and build from the ground up. 

“The question was, how do we build a cheap house and make it worth something?” Dillen says. The answer? Look for the view.

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