By Ramona d'Viola
Built by Robert Felton, a former naval officer and nuclear engineer turned high-tech entrepreneur, the eponymously named property affords its new owners with intoxicating, 360-degree San Francisco Bay views commensurate with the home’s breathtaking price tag.
“On a clear day, you can see the Farallon Islands, the peak of Mount Saint Helena, all the bridges, and the sparkling skylines of Oakland and San Francisco at night,” says Steven Mavromihalis, co-listing agent at Union Pacific International. “For someone who appreciates views as art, this is the Louvre.
“Addressing the record-setting sale price, an architecturally significant custom home with similar vistas, acreage, off-the-grid capabilities and luxury amenities would command prices in the multiples of this property in San Francisco, Atherton, or South Marin,” adds Mavromihalis.
The culmination of five years of intensive design and development, material sourcing, and an engineer’s attention to detail, the home’s architecture pays unmistakable homage to Frank Lloyd Wright. With its abundance of natural stone, expansive windows, curves, copper, and stained glass, the modern structure conveys Wright’s Prairie School style with a decidedly modern Bay Area feel.
Dubbed the “Flying Saucer” house because of its distinctive, multiple disc-shaped roofs (not for its out-of-this-world price tag) the home’s hilltop perch overlooks the entire Bay Area on an unheard of 20-acre parcel. Taking full advantage of the region’s Mediterranean climate and a nod to Berkeley’s “foodie” ethos, Felton planted a grove of olive trees, capers bushes, and vineyards of lovingly tended Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. He also built a 2,500 bottle wine cellar to store the future vertical vintages.
Designed for entertaining (as well as conducting business), the home’s 2,000- square-foot living room can accommodate an elegant soiree or an intimate evening with friends. Add an art gallery, a 250-gallon saltwater fish tank, greenhouse, two complete office suites, a gymnasium, and huge 16-car garage (purportedly the only room in the house with 90-degree angles), and, well, it’s hard to imagine ever lacking for something to do.
Floor-to-ceiling windows in nearly every room with numerous portals open the house to the expanse of manicured grounds, and a commanding view of the San Francisco Bay. A 60-foot lap pool, putting green, waterfalls, kilometers of hiking trails, and seating areas to take in the magnificent views provide the ultimate in indoor/outdoor integration.
But for all its square footage, including three en suite bedrooms, five full baths, six half baths, and seven fireplaces (but, alas, no partridge in a pear tree), the gargantuan home’s living spaces are unexpectedly “cozy and accommodating.”
“It’s a surprisingly comfortable house,” says co-listing agent Carla Buffington. “In spite of its size.
“Bob had a grand vision. He worked with dozens of designers to realize his dream, sparing no expense. He wanted expansive views, creature comforts, and lots of space for his family and grandkids,” says Buffington. “After living here for 15 years, he decided it was time to pass his masterpiece along to the next lucky family.”
The agents declined to name the new owners, but suffice it to say, they’re sitting on top of the world.
6889 Devon Way, Berkeley
Seller: Robert Felton
Brokers: Carla Buffington, Steven Mavromihalis
Bedrooms: 4 bedrooms, (3 en-suite)
Bathrooms: 5 full, 6 half
Square Feet: 14,000
Virtual Tour: Vimeo.com/106508589
Reprinted from Oakland Magazine
Photo by Robert Vente