Hillsborough, California: Flintstone House

Private home designed with domes and tubes; orange paint job makes it look even more like cartoon Bedrock City.
Address:
45 Berryessa Way, Hillsborough, CA
Directions:
I-280 north from San Jose/Palo Alto/Woodside. A few miles north of the intersection with State Highway 92, and just past the Bunker Hill Drive exit, look to your right as you cross the Doran Memorial Bridge.
Hours:
Private property. Visible from freeway.
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Flintstone House. Flintstone House

The Flintstone House - also known as the Dome/Bubble/Marshmallow/Gumby house, etc., is strategically located on a hillside above the Crystal Springs Reservoir south of San Francisco. The actual street address is on Berryessa Way, but the best view of this house is the one you'll see while traveling north on Interstate I-280 crossing the Doran Memorial Bridge. You've got maybe 15, 20 seconds to take a picture, so have your camera ready.

Designed by architect William Nicholson and built in 1976 using sprayed concrete over balloon-shaped forms, the house suffered from structural and drainage problems for years, and almost had to be torn down because of mold growth throughout the walls. Its demise would have delighted many neighbors in the conservative community of Hillsborough, who set up a local design review board after the house was first built, in hopes of preventing any more such oddities from invading their area. Fortunately, repairs were made around 1988 that saved the house and allowed its continued occupation. It still is a private residence, so enjoy the view from the highway.

For many years the house was a gleaming - perhaps even glaring - white, but recently it has been painted a deep orange-red color. Not so in-your-face obvious, but very attractive.

[Alan H. Haeberle, 12/12/2007]

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