Fantasy castle built at Marin’s highest residential elevation on the market for $5.9M
November 6, 2021
160-year-old salvaged redwood makes for a one-of-a-kind design
Anna Marie Erwert | SFGATE.COM
Even the wood used to build 1 Mountain King Road has a history. Click here to view the listing via compass.com.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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