Landmark Home

This Hillsborough iconic landmark, seen from highway 280, is going on the market for the first time in 19 years. Designed in 1976 by Bay Area architect William Nicholson, the single family residence boasts multiple domes that were constructed by spraying shotcrete onto steel rebar and mesh frames over inflated aeronautical balloons. San Francisco builder, Wayne Da San Martino, managed the project. Originally painted off-white, this unique organic building was painted orange in 2007 and now sports a purple dome. 

Tourists and travelers alike admire and gape at this exceptional residence nestled into the hillside overlooking Crystal Springs Reservoir. The reception from Hillsborough residents has been mixed through the years. It is purported that one Hillsborough resident at the time founded an architectural review board specifically to keep out experimental architecture.

In the spirit of the style, the owner enhanced the interior to match her esthetic. She commissioned Emeryville architect, Eugene Tsui, to design her kitchen. Tsui is famous for designing many unusual buildings and structures in the U.S. and Asia. Lighted niches and appliance enclosures, glass countertop encased with a diagonal metal spine, wood cutout swinging doors, drawers and cabinets were custom designed and “biologic.” Burning Man artist, Dan Das Mann, fabricated beautiful steel doors that have cut coils protruding from the surface. Oakland artist, John Lewis Glass Studio, created the custom glasswork in the kitchen and guest bath. Tim Weldon paintings grace many of the open curved walls. The owner chose unusually thick stone Jerusalem tiles to cover most of the house.

Da San Martino describes his part in the interior design. “Nicholson designed the basic form, then he pretty much gave us free reign. (We built) a huge conversation pit, with the window cut at a level to hide the freeway, but show the reservoir.” The owner enhanced the room with specially made orange colored plaster for the circular seating area that is embellished with a tangerine cushion and pillows. This intimate warm setting is enriched by the height of the dome, fireplace, amoeba shaped window showcasing Crystal Springs Reservoir, and an Italian Catellani and Smith medusa chandelier hanging from the high pitch of the dome.

Social media has an abundance of commentary about the Flintstone House. People comment on paint color changes, desire to see the interior, and curiosity about the owner. This Bay Area treasure is truly a world class work of art. This is an amazing opportunity buyers who appreciate the architecture and design.


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In Hillsborough, large estates are the rule rather than the exception. The town is one of the wealthiest in the country and placed No. 5 on Forbes magazine’s 2012 list of the wealthiest ZIP codes (94010). Town ordinances ensure its exclusivity by enforcing a minimum house size of 2,500 square feet and a minimum lot size of a half-acre. Hillsborough homes are extravagant, beautiful, and tucked away in the twists and turns of the hills. 

There are no apartments, condominiums, or townhouses in Hillsborough; Forbes calculated the median home price at $4,127,250. Notable residents, past and present, include entertainer Bing Crosby; publisher William Randolph Hearst; the king of Tonga, George Tupou V; diet guru Jenny Craig; and former Major League Baseball players J.T. Snow, Ricky Henderson, and Greg Maddux.

There are no commercial districts in Hillsborough. As a wealthy suburb of San Francisco, 17 miles to the north, life in the town is unhurried and quiet. The relaxed aspect is aided by tree-lined streets that don’t follow a grid pattern and instead wind around the hilly landscape. There are few traffic signals.

The town covers six square miles and is bounded by Burlingame to the north, San Mateo to the east and south, and Interstate 280 to the west.

Hillsborough’s population was 11,144 according to United States Census Bureau data. There were 3,912 homes, of which almost 96 percent were occupied by the owners. The median household income was $222,131.


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Judy Meuschke

Realtor® AssociateAlain Pinel RealtorsCalBRE# 01471840650.931.2079 direct650.931.2099