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Fantasy castle built at Marin’s highest residential elevation on the market for $5.9M

160-year-old salvaged redwood makes for a one-of-a-kind design

Anna Marie Erwert | SFGATE.COM

Exterior view of a uniquely designed home with a sloping roof
The amazing curves and angles of this home encompass 2,170 square feet.
Image credit | Alan Blaustein

Even the wood used to build 1 Mountain King Road has a history. Click here to view the listing via

Timber for the Lagunitas home came from what is now Roy’s Redwood Preserve in Marin County, where scenes in George Lucas’ “Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure” were filmed. 

The 2,170-square-foot home is now for sale for $5.9 million.

In 1861, redwood from Roy’s property was hand cut and used to build Roy’s barn. When the barn was eventually torn down, that redwood was saved. “Roy [for whom the preserve was named] was one of the first settlers in the Valley, and the beams in the house came from his barn, which was built more than 100 years ago,” said listing agent Norine Dickson.

Exterior view of a wooden front door
Incredible detail in everything from the siding to the windows to the front door enhances the castle in the sky effect. 
Image credit | Alan Blaustein

Fast forward a century, when Norman Orr purchased Roy’s salvaged redwood for $300 and a plot of land from Harold Gregg (former head of the Marin Conservation League). With the help of a contractor and architect, Orr used the timber to custom build his own home. “The beams from the barn were beautiful and in fantastic shape. I didn’t want to build just a square house. I wanted to build a fantasy place that was really unusual,” Orr said.

According to the official listing, the home may rest at the highest elevation of any residence in Marin County. Orr described this construction as a labor of love, “It was quite a process to build it because it was so high up. They wouldn’t let us use the main road to get our supplies up there, so we had to drag all the material up there on a back road,” he said.

Interior view of the living area, featuring tall exposed wood ceilings and arched windows
The living room ceiling soars to the many-angled top of the home, creating topography for natural light to dance around the room. 
Image credit | Alan Blaustein

The top of the hill is 500 feet from the home. Orr had hoped to build the home at the top, but Gregg advised him not to and to leave the top of the hill as a special place. When he built the home, Orr’s view extended all the way from The Campanile in the Sather Tower on the UC Berkeley campus to the geothermal geysers in Sonoma County. 

Interior view of a home, featuring a stone fireplace
Inside we see those redwood beams, now painted, and stone walls opening for a natural fireplace. 
Image credit | Alan Blaustein

Orr was just 26 years old when he built the house, and he lived there until 1991 when he sold it to the current sellers — the second people to ever live there. “It was really a fantasy castle on top of the hill. For me, it was just a magic place. … I loved that house. …  Leaving was a stupid thing to do,” Orr said.

Interior view of a kitchen, featuring white cabinetry
The kitchen, with its unique cabinetry and built-ins, offers both modern and vintage delights. 
Image credit | Alan Blaustein

Between the early ’90s and now, the home hasn’t changed much. It’s still a fantasy castle on a hill, though beams have been painted, closet space has been added (Orr admitted that “closets weren’t terribly important to me back then so I didn’t build a lot of closets in the house. They’ve fixed that now though.”), and other modern conveniences were added without destroying the unique whimsy of the property. 

View of a bathroom, featuring arched windows, wood walls and ceiling
The home has one and a half bathrooms. 
Image credit | Alan Blaustein

Anna Marie Erwert writes from both the renter and new buyer perspective, having (finally) achieved both statuses. She focuses on national real estate trends, specializing in the San Francisco Bay Area and Pacific Northwest. Follow Anna on Twitter: @AnnaMarieErwert. 

Bedroom, featuring white walls, exposed brick and castle-themed doors
The primary bedroom has a true castle feel, tucked behind ornate wooden doors.
Image credit | Alan Blaustein
View of a bedroom, with a sloped ceiling
The home has multiple alcoves that can be used however the owner wants. Here a bedroom could easily be a home office as well. 
Image credit | Alan Blaustein
Scenic view of the mountains as seen from the window of 1 Mountain King Road
Views go on forever from this lofty vantage point. 
Image credit | Alan Blaustein
Exterior view of an outdoor dining area
There are wrap-around decks for taking in the views outside. 
Image credit | Alan Blaustein
Exterior view of 1 Mountain King Road, featuring the home at the top of a hill
The lot is 470,012 square feet.
Image credit | Alan Blaustein