When you're a child, it’s often the houses that you regularly pass by en route to your own home that can have the most lasting impression.
For me, it was the single-family homes and apartment buildings lining Interstate 5 – the route we most regularly traveled to and from two sets of grandparents’ houses in northeast Seattle. I remember peering at abodes of all shapes and sizes from the backseat window as they zipped by. I wondered what these homes looked like inside and what type of people — mysterious, grown-up people! — lived there. I even fantasized about living in some of these buildings myself.
It’s safe to assume that for many kids growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area who regularly practiced backseat house-peeping while being ferried northwards along the scenic Junipero Serra Freeway (Interstate 280). there was one single home that attracted the most fascination: the Flintstone House.
Not to be confused with similarly unique residences that have also been referred to as Flinstonian, the one and only Flintstone House has served as a rubberneck-inducing object of intrigue and disdain since it arrived on a highly visible hillside above Crystal Springs Reservoir in 1976.
A majority of residents living in Hillsborough, a small, conservative and extremely affluent residential enclave in San Mateo County, hate the three-bedroom home with a fiery passion. They find it hideous. But for little kids with big imaginations who happen spy it from the freeway, it’s pretty much the coolest thing ever.
And now, for the first time, the same people who grew up fascinated by that weird orange blob-house up on the hill can rent the property for overnight stays. Yep, Hillsborough's one and only iconic eyesore is now available on Airbnb for a whopping $900 per night.
Aside from its obvious cartoonish-ness, the Flintstone House doesn’t really look that much like the Bedrock residence (301 Cobblestone Way) of Fred, Wilma and Pebbles. In fact, the decidedly non-faux-Stone Age Flintstone House is more aesthetically akin to another beloved Hanna-Barbera series: "the Jetsons." It’s a space age oddity for sure, a freeform structure designed by architect William Nicholson as a means of experimenting with new construction methods and materials. The resulting structure, constructed by spraying shotcrete onto steel rebar and mesh frames over aeronautical balloons, resembles an aboveground Teletubby lair, a psychedelic igloo compound, a curvaceous curiosity seemingly transported from a different time and place.
Hillsborough, California's most iconic (some might say eyesore-ish) single-family home has three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a super-cool conversation pit. (Photo: Airbnb)
Current owner Korie Edises has filled her hard-to-miss Bay Area abode with eclectic doodads and an extensive collection of art. (Photo: Airbnb)
Extensively restored in the 1980s and treated to a much-publicized kitchen overhaul helmed by architect Eugene Tsui in the early 2000s, the Flintstone House has been on the market for over a year now with no bites. As of now, the Flintstone House is indeed for sale — the listing website refers to the oddball home as a “world class work of art” — with an asking price just shy of $3.2 million.
Unable to offload the Flintstone House, its owner has no turned to Airbnb as a means of both opening up the home to the incredibly curious public and bringing in some extra revenue while the home sits on the market.
As mentioned, the entire home is now listed on Airbnb by host/owner Korie Edises for $900 per night — plus a $150 cleaning fee and a weekly deposit of $1,800. Throwing parties is kosher but entails guests negotiating a “premium price” with Edises, a retired Hewlett-Packard manager who purchased the six-domed home in 1996 and is responsible for its now-iconic 2007 orange paint job. (Previously, the entire spread was off-white.) The “charming and unusual” property sleeps six and includes the basic amenities: WiFi, washer/dryer, television, indoor fireplace, etc. While the house rules aren't all too stringent, scaling the home's lumpy roofline is absolutely verboten.
Nine-hundred bucks is indeed a steep per-night rate for an Airbnb rental that’s tucked away in a hoity-toity residential area at a remove from shopping, dining and the like. (So far there are no guests reviews posted but, to be fair, it's a relatively new listing).
However, when split between six friends (friends who have perhaps all fantasized about stepping foot inside the Flintstone House since childhood), the nightly rate drops down to a more palatable $150 per person.