Jacobean Mansion By A Storied Architect

In the San Francisco Bay area, the quaint town of Piedmont is known for its excellent public schools, close-knit community feel and short commute to San Francisco. It is home to a legendary Jacobean Revival estate designed in 1917 by renowned California architect Albert Farr.

Albert L. Farr, born in Omaha, Nebraska, spent most of his childhood in Yokohama, Japan, where his father had been assigned by the U.S. Government. After his family returned to the United States and settled in San Francisco, he worked as a draftsman, a furniture designer and an apprentice architect, before opening his own practice. Farr obtained one of the first State of California architectural licenses, issued in August of 1901. His career continued until he passed away in 1947.

Now, one of his notable commissions, a Jacobean Revival estate located on over a half-acre of land in a gated community, has come on the market, offered for $13 million.

Bert Scott, of the Hall-Scott Motor Company, was a long-term resident who lived here with his family from 1920 to 1963. Scott, who was a businessman, partnered with engineer Elbert Hall and manufactured high- performance internal combustion engines for aircraft, marine and truck engines. Today, the estate’s seller is Jim Feuille who, in 2005, convinced a small music start up called Pandora to switch from a subscription business model to a free, ad-supported model after his kids told him they liked it, but didn’t want to pay $3 a month for it. At the time, Jim Feuille was a general partner at Crosslink Capital.

The property has recently been refurbished to provide the best of modern luxuries and amenities in a superbly detailed home modeled after European precedent: the Tudor and Jacobean styles saw a popular resurgence in Europe and, especially, Great Britain, during the first few decades of the 20th century.

Style hallmarks abound. After passing through a pair of wrought iron gates between stone pillars, the visitor is faced with prominent parapeted gables topped with finials and tall angled bays with leaded glass windows. The cobblestone driveway encircles a fountain and leads to the richly paneled entry doors, recessed in a Tudor arch.

The grand foyer, with its gleaming gumwood paneling, extends from the spacious living room to the elegant dining room. The tones of the ornate ceiling determine the color schemes for adjacent rooms. Paneled walls cleverly conceal the doors to the powder room, coat closet and former elevator, now a closet. The elevator is currently fixed in the shaft, but can be made operable again.

Three sets of leaded-glass French doors open to the rear terrace, which overlooks the lush gardens and the pool. Balustrades line the terrace and the steps down to the lawn.

The lower floor was originally the ballroom. Today, it is a family room with a fireplace, entertainment center with surround sound, wet bar, wine cellar, pantry, half bath, laundry room and storage. Other amenities of the estate include a guest house, library, pool, security system, casita, hardwood flooring and four fireplaces. There are six bedrooms, seven full baths and two half baths and a three-car garage.

From the cobbled stone of the driveway to the richly carved woodwork, this is a home full of beautifully detailed architectural details. Due to sensitive and gentle updating, it is also a family home of ultimate comfort.

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