Forget what Mom told you: It’s not what’s on the inside that counts. At least not in the case of this 14,000-square-foot behemoth in Berkeley, CA, better known as the Felton Estate. Perched on 20 acres high in the Oakland Hills at the dead end of a semiprivate, tree-lined road, the compound is best noted for a panoramic view of San Francisco Bay that no amount of superlatives can even begin to capture.
That’s not just lip service: Check out these listing photos and just try not to be dazzled by the clear shot of the Golden Gate Bridge, which slithers through the twinkling blanket of city lights that serves as the home’s front yard. The unobstructed sightline stretches all the way from Silicon Valley to Napa, but you needn’t crane your neck to get a glimpse of wine country: A quick glance out the arced front window is met with the sight of the property’s private vineyard.
Back inside, the home offers four-plus-bedrooms, five full bathrooms, seven fireplaces, and — who cares, really? The views from this $21 million stunner trump all.
The hillside home is best described as contemporary, but it looks more as though it’s from the future — or perhaps the far reaches of outer space. Copper domes cap off the crop-circle-esque design, which, according to the listing, draws inspiration from Frank Lloyd Wright’s organic approach to architecture. Capable of producing 46.5 kilowatts of power, solar panels bolster the home’s alignment with the famed architect’s harmony-with-nature principles.
Forming a 180-plus-degree arc around the home’s west-facing facade, floor-to-ceiling windows offer an uncompromised view of the postcard-worthy vista. Inside, the tiered, 2,000-square-foot space doubles as both a living room and an observation deck (there’s a sightseeing viewfinder stationed on the surrounding balcony), while also encompassing the kitchen and the formal dining room.
Talk about having friends in high places: Here, a dinner party invite includes an all-access pass to the terrace, which follows the curving contour of the living room. Just on the other side of the terrace’s copper railing? The home’s vineyard, paved patio, gargantuan hot tub, plus sweeping views of Oakland, San Francisco, Berkeley, and all five Bay bridges.
Just beyond the stained-glass front door into the entryway rotunda, a prismatic sculpture refracts the sunshine streaming in from the skylight overhead. The dramatic circular staircase is its own work of art, but additional inspiration can be found within the home’s dedicated art gallery and, outside, its custom-designed hardscapes.
Over a private footbridge from the master suite, a 40-square-foot putting green and an infinity edge pool greet guests following the walking path toward the home’s main entrance. The heated pool’s 60-foot length provides ample room for swimming laps, while the hot tub, which faces due west, is tailor-made for drinking in the sunset and a glass of wine from the residence’s private stock.
More than 400 vines of pinot noir and chardonnay grapes form concentric ripples down the home’s western slope, an ode to The Golden State’s celebrated terroir. Residents can also reap — quite literally — the benefits of the estate’s 44 olive trees, 24 caper bushes, raised-bed vegetable gardens, and English cutting gardens. All of the above are maintained by a computer-controlled watering system and, most likely, a staff of expert groundskeepers.
Like something out of a medieval castle, the stone-walled wine cellar and adjoining tasting room add a little intrigue to a day spent sampling the vineyard’s varietals. They lie in wait alongside 2,500 other bottles within the cellar’s custom-built storage racks.