Rooted in humble beginnings, the owner of Ridgecrest Ranch grew up in San Mateo, California, biking past the Hillsborough mansions as a child with wide eyes and a dream to one day build his own castle atop a hill. He began, at a young age, working as a union carpenter, and by 26 was serving as a Superintendent on San Francisco’s prized Transamerica Pyramid. With experience in construction, and a deep respect for quality and unique craftmanship, he began to venture out on his own, purchasing a historic mansion in Menlo Park, California.
As he worked to restore the mansion to its original glory, he began meeting the fine woodworkers and artists of the area. What he found in these artists was a very different approach to construction than his experiences in tract homes and large commercial projects. These artists were focused on the intricate details and refused to compromise on quality and beauty. As the exquisite woodwork and grand detail of the Menlo Park mansion were uncovered, the candle of his inspiration was lit. It was from here that the owner began searching for the perfect piece of land to build such artistic perfection. What he found was this Woodside property with a rare combination of a buildable, sundrenched land that was uniquely surrounded by both County and Park land, creating the ideal endless landscape to develop his dream.
When the owner is asked “who built this estate,” his response is always the same. It was built by the artists who showed up. From woodworkers to muralists, there was a time when the property was over-flowing with artists. Scaffolding wrapped the residence for years on end as woodworkers stood with chisels, hand-carving each beam placed around the house. Many lived on the property, camping out and living off the land, just to say that they had contributed to the final product. The owner instilled his infamous “house rule” while building the home – he didn’t care how long any particular project took to build as long as the beauty and quality were equivalent to the time it took to complete. The spirit of this rule now sits on a plaque in the home’s library that reads “When it is finished, the public will not ask how long it took, but only if it is beautiful.”
Today, these same artists can be found working on iPads and directing teams at the construction sites of Silicon Valley billionaires. But, despite their individual successes, it is not rare to find one of them back at Ridgecrest Ranch on a Saturday nestled in the barn’s woodshop completing a special project for the owner. To them, the Ranch is no longer just a spot on their resume, but an escape from the rush of the outside world and a place where they can once again just be an artist.
In a modern society that awards prompt deadlines and uniform trends, Ridgecrest Ranch stands as a reminder of the value of timeless quality, and the potential of one’s imagination. As the owner’s family embarks on new dreams and creative opportunities, they leave the property knowing that the estate is exactly how the owner first imagined. That vision, illustrated by the title that is beautifully carved into the exterior beam spanning the front of the home, was for an “Estate of Non-Ordinary Reality”. Ridgecrest Ranch surely is such an estate.