July 12, 2010

Florentine? Isn’t that a Restaurant on De Anza?

So, what should it be today, overpriced teardown or overpriced prestige listing?  That’s the beauty of the Real Bay Area, plenty of both!

5050 ALPINE Rd  Portola Valley, CA 94028


Beds: 7
Baths: 6
Sq. Ft.: 16,000
$/Sq. Ft.: $1,250
Lot Size: 20.93 Acres
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 3
View: Bay, Canyon, Valley, City Lights
Year Built: 1920
Community: Central Portola Valley
County: San Mateo
MLS#: 81032274
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active This listing is for sale and the sellers are accepting offers.
On Redfin: 5 days

One of the nation���s finest private residences, the hand-crafted Villa Lauriston is incomparable and unique. Commissioned in the 1920���s, this 20 room Florentine Villa features the finest historic materials and artifacts from San Francisco mansions and European palaces and churches. This architectural jewel is set in a private 28.4 acre park-like parcel, surrounded by 1,000 acres dedicated as open

image When you’re looking for a house and you find a listing that has a name instead of an address, you know you’re not in Milpitas anymore.  When it’s offered for sale by Sotheby’s International instead of RE/MAX, that’s a hint this is no crapbox in Campbell.  Why bother putting on pretty photos on Redfin?  Heck, they didn’t even care enough to remove those unprintable characters above.  So what?  This is an “incomparable and unique” Florentine Villa in Portola Valley.  A Florentine Villa!  Wow!  That means there’s spinach on top.

And this “incomparable and unique” property has “materials and artifacts from European palaces and churches”?  In some circumstances, that could be due to art theft, or looting.  I hope these were paid for, as last time I checked out European palaces and churches, there weren’t any price tags on the fine historic materials and artifacts, just a few knock-offs in the gift shop.  And they called the house an “architectural jewel” too!  Remember the diamond in the rough a couple of weeks ago?  What does that make this place, the Hope on the putting green?

Speaking of golf metaphors, there is no golf course on the grounds.  (Hmpf, even a spread in Cupertino had two holes for golf!)  But you do get tennis courts, a pool and spa, an historic pool (which means it isn’t usable and they didn’t feel like taking it out), and a reflecting pool.  Let the website tell you all about it (for twenty million dollars, this place had better have its own website):

The property includes the main residence, a cottage or caretaker’s house, four car garage, and a estate landscape featuring a one acre main meadow with dolphin fountain and two river god sculptures, reflecting pond, conservatory/sunken garden with fountain, old swimming pool/stage, two acre 600-vine vineyard, vegetable garden and cutting flower beds, tennis court, picnic area with arbor, natural waterfall and stream, bee hives, lavender/Italian cypress path, and much more.

image Lavender?  Forget it.  For $20 million they should have put in a danged saffron crocus field.  Saffron grows in Mediterranean climates (like this place is trying to pretend it’s from) and sells for up to $11,000 a kilogram.  If you had one of those, you could afford to put in some more MAWBUL CAWLUMS.

Be sure to spend some time perusing the property website.  I’m still trying to figure out where they store the “riding lawn mores” and what the heck a “Hebraic wood splitter” is.  Does it clip off the branch tip first?

Villa Lauriston is both a grand estate and an expression of one man’s personal vision.  The 13,000-square-foot, 20-room Villa and the surrounding acres of formal gardens, ponds and pools was the creation of the English-born entrepreneur Herbert Edward Law. Law was a businessman, a real estate magnate, a connoisseur and a man of the arts.  Law is perhaps best known for having purchased, with his brother, San Francisco’s Fairmont Hotel just days before the great earthquake of 1906.

Quick!  Follow in the footsteps of Herb Law!  Hurry up and buy this place so we can get The Big One over with.

Comments (11) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:01 am

11 Responses to “Florentine? Isn’t that a Restaurant on De Anza?”

  1. Sio2 Says:

    “what the heck a “Hebraic wood splitter” is. Does it clip off the branch tip first?”

    That’s classic. Funniest thing I’ve heard all week.

  2. SEA Says:

    I’d better buy now before the price is $40,000,000.

    And what’s better? Following Real Estater’s advice, I’ll rent that caretaker’s residence out for tax-free income.

  3. A. Lewis Says:

    Epic, madhaus, epic!

    Thanks for this.

    I’d pay $18M, but $20M is too much.

  4. Gallileo Says:

    Mr. Lewis,

    If you only offer 18M, you’ll have no chance. 20M is an underbid *starting* price–clearly the seller is hoping for a bidding war here. 20M is nothing at all to anyone who is playing in this neighborhood.


  5. Petsmart groomer Says:

    Buy with Redfin and save $250,000.

  6. nomadic Says:

    This place is back on the market – still at $20M. Sotheby’s has teamed up with Sereno Group for some local flavor, I guess. I went to check the place out last night.

    You’d never guess the house is 16,0000sf feet. The main floor is great, but the upstairs is a bizarre warren of rooms. The kitchen is also very small by modern standards; of course, back in the day, you could pack the servants in like sardines and the lord of the manor wouldn’t even set foot in a kitchen.

    The grounds are fantastic though. Or would be if they hired a team of gardeners to spruce things up and pull a lot of weeds. It’s very quiet. Details here:


  7. For Halloween Weekend, Here’s a Scary Treat for You from Burbed! | Burbed.com Says:

    […] this place look familiar?  It should!  It was featured on Burbed a year […]

  8. Petsmart groomer Says:

    20% off now, $4M price reduction. Save $200K more with Redfin!

  9. Petsmart groomer Says:

    Interesting YouTube virtual tour.

  10. Petsmart groomer Says:

    Back on the market for $15,880,000.

  11. Petsmart groomer Says:

    Sold for $13M.

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