If you haven't lived in the Bay Area, you may not be aware of the domed, burnt orange Flintstone House. "There's probably a more formal name for this experimental structure along Highway 280 near Hillsborough," Peter Hartlaub wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle in 2012. "But if you're a 8-year old driving past, it's a little piece of Bedrock in the Bay Area." This is how I knew the Flintstone House, visible when driving north on Interstate 280.
After being off the market for 19 years, 45 Berryessa Way in Hillsborough, Calif., was listed for $4.2 million on Thursday by Alain Pinel Realtors. The listing and associated website gives Bay Area residents a chance to peek inside the house known primarily from a distance.
The 2,790-square-foot house, designed by architect William Nicholson and built in 1977, got its quirky shape from a combination of shotcrete and steel rebar and mesh frames, formed over balloons. In 2007, the house's exterior was changed from off-white to orange.
Most of the three-bedroom, two-bathroom house is one level, with the exception of a single upstairs bedroom. The front door leads to the living room. To the left of the living room is the dining room, adjoining game room, and kitchen, as well as hallway that leads to one of two first-floor bedrooms and a staircase to the second-floor bedroom.
The kitchen was designed by architect Eugene Tsui, president of Emeryville, Calif.–based Tsui Design & Research. According to the firm's description on its website, this project was completed in 2004 and 2005: "There is an extraordinary woman who lives in northern California and wanted an extraordinary kitchen. The owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, is an individual who lives among works of art. Her life is surrounded by art works from different artists and she has a particular liking to certain colors--brownish orange, ochre yellows, deep reds and purples. The new kitchen replaced an existing kitchen that was a utility and work space consisting of a sink, floor cabinets, stove top and refrigerator. The owner wanted the kitchen to be express her sense of a life of art. Something that was different and lively."
Branching off the living room to the right is a room containing the house's conversation pit, constructed by the house's project manager, builder Wayne Da San Martino. The room's window is designed to frame a view of the Crystal Springs Reservoir. Another bedroom and bath is connected to the conversation pit room.
"We found that place a fun house," Tom Petika told the San Francisco Chronicle in 1997. According to the article, Petika sold the house in 1996 after living in it for 10 years. "I remember when we first moved in, my wife Dorothy and I would walk in and kind of laugh. Nothing in the house was perfectly symmetrical. No ceiling was the same height from room to room. Everything was round. There were no corners. In fact, when it was originally built, there were no interior doors. In no time we had a door man up there. That was too bizarre for us."