Structure Type: built works - dwellings - houses

Designers: Ellwood, Craig, Associates (firm); Craig Ellwood (architect)

Dates: constructed 1960-1961

1 story

20 Madrone Place
Hillsborough, CA 94010

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Ellwood designed the Daphne House in an H-plan, with living dining spaces occupying the northern half, bedrooms the southern, connected by a kitchen space and marble-paved entry hall. The H sheltered a swimming pool in the center; a steel pergola over the pool restated the residence's rectilinear geometry. Ellwood set the pavilions above the ground plane on short pilotis; the architect attenuated components of the exposed steel framework to create an elegant visual effect, for which he became much-admired. The Daphne House had the appearance of a more elaborate version of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's (1886-1969) Edith Farnsworth House (Plano, IL, 1951). Ellwood's firm designed this residence for the funeral director, Walter Daphne, in 1960 and erected it in 1961. It was offered for sale from 2008-2010; in 07/2010, it had an asking price of $2,850,000, and sold in 08/2010 for $2,525,000. At the time of its construction, this modern house would have obtruded on the streets of Hillsborough, crowded with grandly-scaled period revival houses. The owner, Nicholas P. Daphne (1908-1990), clearly had an individualistic streak. A decade earlier, he commissioned the Los Angeles architects Jones and Emmons to design his revolutionary funeral home on Mint Hill in San Francisco. In 1950, this firm was just starting its high-profile work in the Bay Area for developer Joseph Eichler (1900–1974), who was building distinctive Modern housing tracts in Palo Alto, CA, and other sites in Santa Clara County. Preservation of the Daphne Funeral Home became an intense preservation battle. As is usually the case, preservationists came out on the short end and the Daphne Funeral Home was demolished in 2000.

The Daphne House, at 20 Madrone Place in Hillsborough, CA, occupied a site dotted with oak trees set alongside the exclusive Burlingame Country Club.


PCAD id: 258