Flintstone House

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  • Location:

    Hillsborough, California, USA (Map)

  • Status:

    Extant

About the Artist/Site

This Hillsborough iconic landmark, seen from highway 280, was 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 are in awe of 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 for buyers who appreciate the architecture and design.

Map and site information

45 Berryessa Way
Hillsborough, California, United States
Latitude/Longitude: 37.53131 / -122.359045

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