Atherton, California, a small town of around 10,000 people between San Francisco and San Jose, is known for its wealth. Atherton’s land use goal has always been to preserve its character as a “scenic, rural, thickly wooded residential area with abundant open space.” Add this scarcity of real estate to it’s striking distance from Silicon Valley, and it isn’t surprising that Atherton consistently ranks as the most expensive zip code in America. In fact, Atherton has ranked as the highest per capita income among U.S. towns several times in recent years.
Unlike other communities in the area, Atherton has actually seen an increase in luxury homes since the pandemic began. From March through May, sales of luxury homes over $3 million rose 80%. One of those homes, designed by the esteemed architect Leslie Nichols, was put on the market last week for $13 million. Ms. Nichols designed another house owned by Oracle’s Larry Ellison.
The California residence is nothing short of a modern, Japanese farmhouse inspired palace. Upon entering and looking up, beautiful paneled beamed ceilings stretch in every direction. The design gives the space a sense of serenity and calm. Moving into the 5,400 square feet of living space is like entering an Eastern inspired dream: hardwood floors, a landscaped garden with Japanese maple and citrus trees, and a fireplace with a wet bar that’s hidden behind sliding screen doors. There is a feeling of formality mixed with the warmth of hospitality in every room, something common to Japanese sensibility.
Nowadays, wealthy buyers in the area aren’t looking for mega mansions to get lost in, but homes that have charm and character. This could be due to wanting to minimize their carbon footprint, be closer to the ones they truly care about because of the pandemic, or realizing that “more stuff” doesn’t necessarily mean more happiness. Whatever the reason, this one-level residence is perfect for hosting intimate dinners with a formal dining room that looks out over the garden, or a bigger party with an eat-in kitchen with two ovens and a separate prep area with a sink. People want options when it comes to opening up their home to family and friends, which this location has plenty of.
The master bedroom suite comes with a private sitting area that’s perfect for relaxing or reading, all connected to doors that lead to the garden. If you practice meditation or simply enjoy nature, this perk is perfect. In addition to the master, there are three additional bedroom suites, along with several patios and decks that include built-in seating for plenty of guests to lounge and enjoy one another. The listing continues to invite both the opportunity for privacy or solidarity, all within a setting of peaceful tranquility. For even more facets of serenity, take a swim in the indoor lap pool and then warm up in the hot tub surrounded by windows that comes equipped with a sauna. The pool house has a smaller bedroom and kitchenette. Being in Silicon Valley where sun is plentiful, it comes with solar panels to help power it all.
The home last traded for about $2.74 million in 2007. The intense price appreciation that’s taken hold over the past 15 years proves that unique gems like these are nothing short of rare. The sellers were not available for comment.