The largest private estate
in Silicon Valley’s No. 1 Location.
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A Campus among Campuses
Views of the property
There's no question that Green Gables is in horse country. It’s not an unusual morning in Woodside to see a few stallions waiting patiently at shady hitching posts while their owners enjoy breakfast in the fabled Buck’s Restaurant. Teslas may zip along the Peninsula on nearby Highway 280, but you can leave Green Gables on horseback and ride stunning wooded trails all the way to the beach.
An Ancient Roman Pool of Your Own
Stroll out the French doors onto the south terrace and descend one of two gravel paths through a broad lawn to the Upper Garden’s lily pond. It’s a lovely segue from dry terrain to aquatic, but in no way does it prepare you for what comes next. At the far edge of the pond is a formal Elizabethan balustrade. Suddenly, just beneath the view of the horizon - a Roman pool the size of a football field dramatically appears, framed by a panoramic view of the Santa Cruz mountains. The effect is jaw-dropping.
As you turn around to remind yourself that you’re not actually in ancient Rome, you see the reflection of the main house’s garden facade shimmering beneath the lilies in the pond. Once again, the boundary between inside and out is surprisingly, delightfully, blurred.
Symmetrical curved staircases lead you past an intimate private garden down to the Lower Gardens for a closer view. The Roman water garden -- with its free-standing grotto of arches recalling an ancient Roman aqueduct -- is a masterpiece. The grotto's orientation with the sun allows the reflection of the arches's shadows to lengthen theatrically throughout the day. Alongside the pool, olive and oak trees echo the twin influences of Italy and California. It's a unique design for multiple reasons; unlike similar formal gardens of the time, it exhibits an Arts and Crafts theme through the uncommon use of natural materials: terrace, walls, arcades, balustrades, and planting urns are all made of roughly-chipped natural stones and rough dark bricks. This clever blending with nature makes it seem as though the pool and garden have existed in this spot since the beginning of time.
Bay Area quarries provided it all -- flagstones from Napa County, native brown fieldstones, and small, chip-like red chert. Greene himself designed all the rustic ceramic planter pots placed throughout the garden and elsewhere on the property, all locally-made.
A small lawn bordered with olive trees and succulents, also known as Granny’s Garden, is a secluded hideaway within the larger Roman garden. It was a favorite refuge of Bella Fleishhacker.
Enjoy The Roman Pool
Dairy House meets Yoga Studio
Below the main house, hidden behind a lush hillside, sits the Tea and Dairy House, a rustic, two-story building constructed of craggy fieldstone topped with a black, glazed-tile roof. Charles Greene designed it at the request of Bella Fleishhacker, who wanted a small pavilion to serve tea. It also became a working dairy house, as well as a place for picnics and family gatherings along the woodland creek.
A curved outside stairway leads to the cool cellar kitchen where once upon a time, dairy maids churned butter, and stored milk and cream provided by the estate's own cows, back when residents of Green Gables were fed by a small farm. It was a perfect farm-to-table arrangement: first floor tea parties, with the cream and butter coming from just downstairs.
The remote, fairy-tale-like structure is still a lovely place to enjoy the woodland sounds as you sip tea, meditate, or lay down your yoga mat.
A California First: The Free-form Swimming Pool
In 1916, Charles Greene came up with the pool's inventive design as a way to preserve a colony of live oaks. A few of the trees are now gone, but the interesting, abstract shape they inspired is legendary as California's -- and possibly America's -- first free-form swimming pool. A broad, moss-speckled brick stairway flanked by two bathhouses leads from the house to the 150,000 gallon, 9-foot-deep pool; Greene designed the bathhouses to match the architecture of the main house. On the west end of the pool, Greene placed a secluded platform, shaded by oaks, that affords maximum picturesque views of the natural scenery. In the 1950s, San Francisco's famed postwar landscape architect, Thomas Church, designed the wooden cabana/pool house that sits on the south end of the deck..
Italy Meets England, California Style
The unique harmony of Green Gables’ architecture and gardens pays tribute to elements of three iconic lands: Italy, England, and California.
Italian formal tradition is found in the symmetrical layout of Green Gables’ gardens, yet the property's broad green lawns were inspired by the famed Fountains Abbey of Studley Royal Park in early 18th-century England.
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