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Historic Florentine-style Villa Harks Back to Bay Area’s Golden Age

On behalf of the owner in collaboration with Christie's Real Estate International: Villa Lauriston is the work of noted architect George Schastey, sited on 28 lush acres in Portola Valley

Portola Valley, California — With a rich history, a picturesque setting with city and bay views, and a refined sense of seclusion, Villa Lauriston is a true escape from the distractions of a busy world. Herbert E. Law was a noted San Francisco businessman and real estate magnate who owned the Fairmont Hotel and oversaw its reconstruction after the 1906 earthquake. He engaged noted architect and engineer George Schastey, responsible for the Fairmont’s opulent interiors, to design a magnificent country estate.

Constructed over the course of four years in the 1920s by more than 100 skilled artisans, Villa Lauriston incorporates elements from San Francisco’s Antoine Borel residence, such as its granite steps, checkerboard marble floors, and an entire room of cherrywood panelling. The main house is sheathed in stone that was quarried on the property itself.

Villa Lauriston is approached by a long sweeping lane that passes between tall stands of redwoods and peaceful streams. The main house, with some 30 rooms, is introduced by a deep, broad lawn accented with many carved-stone figures. A formal arrival court large enough for a host of dignitaries makes a dramatic first impression. Beyond, granite steps pass through antique wrought-iron gates to massive wooden sliding doors that open to the grand foyer.

Situated on more than 28 lush and sprawling acres adjacent to 1,000 acres of mid-peninsula open space, Villa Lauriston boasts manicured terraced lawns, sunken gardens, grassy meadows, a reflecting pool, a tennis court, and meandering walkways that encourage exploration. "Villa Lauriston is a rare offering," says Marcie Hartley of Hilton & Hyland Real Estate. "For those who appreciate the rich history, exquisite detail, and unparalleled craftsmanship, this property will be the ultimate find. It is the pinnacle of elegance and style."

Of course, Villa Lauriston offers more than style and luxury, according to Zackary Wright, Senior Vice President at Christie’s International Real Estate. "This estate features a 600-vine vineyard that produces more than 2,000 bottles of pinot noir, chardonnay, and merlot each year," he says. A wine production facility is incorporated into the grounds, and terraced vegetable gardens, organic beehives, natural spring wells, and botanicals contribute to a healthy and earth-friendly lifestyle. “This place can be virtually self-sustaining—it has unique water rights, fuel tanks, and high-power generators that can support the home for up to two months off the grid,” Wright says.

Source: Christie's Real Estate International

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