Traveling north on Interstate Highway 280, as you cross the Eugene Doran Bridge over San Mateo Creek near Hillsborough, you may see something quite unusual off to the right. It’s a multi-colored residence reminiscent of stone homes as depicted in The Flintstones cartoon show from the early 1960s. You may have to look twice to ensure you aren’t seeing things.
The house was the creation of architect William Nicholson. Built in 1976, it’s one of the numerous experimental dwellings that sprung up around the nation when Americans sought more efficient and less traditional residential construction.
The 2,700-foot “Flintstone House,” as it has been affectionately referred to, was built by a company called Frame House and is designed to resist earthquakes and wildfires. Both of which have been commonplace in California for generations.
The original color of the house was off-white. In 2000, it was repainted a burnt orange and purple.
Other names such as “Bubble House,” “Gumby House,” and “Dome House” also have been associated with the one-of-a-kind structure.
In 2015, the house was put on the market for $4.2 million. With no takers after two years, the price was reduced and finally sold for $2.8 million in June 2017.
The new owners "upgraded" the Stone Age ambiance by adding prehistoric animal sculptures in the yard.
The upper-crust town of Hillsborough, however, took exception to the stark non-traditional colorful house and initiated legal action against the homeowner in March 2019, calling it a “public nuisance.” In June 2021, the complaint was settled by the town of Hillsborough. Today the house stands unabashedly visible for all to witness and enjoy.
I’m hearing Fred Flintstone yell, “YABBA DABBA DOO!”