890 Robb Road Aerial

The one acre Palo Alto parcel upon which the 8,300-square-foot nouveau French Manor sits at 890 Robb Road was purchased for $3.25 million in 2001, at which point a pedestrian 3,300-square-foot home with four bedrooms had sat on the site since 1973 and was subsequently razed.

890 Robb Road Pool

Designed by Sephen Pogue and constructed in 2003, the property now totals six bedrooms and seven and one-half baths, including the pool/guest house in the count.

There’s a requisite home theater, wine cellar, spa and gym.

And a rather enviable outdoor patio and kitchen with two charcoal barbeques in addition to the gas grill.

Listed for an even $15 million in 2012 and then withdrawn from the market in early 2013, 890 Robb Road has just been listed anew for $14,288,000.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Love the Robb Report reference. It is a favorite read to see how money can’t buy class. $300,000 gold trimmed Hummer anyone?

    And this faux chateau is a nice example. Simply a mega McMansion with Frenchy details tacked on. That oddly angled mansard roof detail immediately betrays its bastard heritage. And the cliche dolphin statue in the pool is a nice touch.

    And now back to eating these acidic grapes …

  2. Posted by Futurist

    Hideous piece of plastic Disneyland nightmare.

    • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

      These faux maisons have been popping up since the 1990s. Here’s one outside of Los Gatos

      I will be happy when the trend in fake Tuscan or French manors fades away. The sad thing is that these million dollar buildings will be razed in a couple of decades and probably replaced with faux colonials, fake Swiss lodges, ersatz Mogul palaces, or whatever the fad-exotic of the day brings.

      How about real-Californian for a change?

      • Posted by Serge

        I wonder how many old stately mansions were torn down in Atherton to build a lot of the more recent McMansions. My guess it that the lots were recently subdivided from much larger estates (think 20-100 acres) and then split down to make these McMansions.

        • Posted by Sort of...

          Sort of…most of the subdivision of the great Atherton estates was done in the 1930-1960 range. Many of the cul-de-sacs off of Atherton Avenue were once estates. There are very few truly large parcels left…the Pine Brook estate on Atherton Avenue, some on Walsh, a handful on Monte Vista, one on Belbrook, etc.

          Most of what is actually being torn down to build new construction are 1940s-1960s era one-off ranch homes that were built once the original estates were torn down. Drive down one of the northernmost streets in West Atherton (Selby or Stockbridge) and you’ll have a pretty good idea of the types of homes that once lined Barry, Fairview, Polhemus, etc but have been pretty much eliminated. For example, the Flood Mansion was torn down to create Lindenwood, and literally all of the homes built were one-story ranches from that time period. Very few are actually architecturally significant. 1920s era is rare in Atherton, to be honest, but not from recent tearing down.

          • Posted by Brian M

            Significance is of course a matter of opinion (and perhaps the pseuod-science of “preservationism”) but the earlier ranchers represented a very distinct sensibility of an era. They also reflected a sense of modesty and quiet prosperity that these preposterous mega-mansions can’t come close to touching. This house shouts “1975 budget motel” to me, but I am not the market for this kind of house, so what does my opinion even matter?

          • Posted by Sort of...

            I too prefer a well maintained ranch home compared to the worst of the new mansions (although there have been some truly spectacular new residences in Atherton in the last few years that were very high quality and tasteful jobs). I was referring to Serge’s comment about stately old mansions (which I took to mean older Tudor and California Revival mansions) being torn down to build the new McMansions. Generally speaking, they were torn down for the ranch subdivisions, and it is now these ranchers (many in a great deal of disrepair and with only one owner) that are being torn down for the new builds. People think of Atherton as a town of giant homes and while in many areas this is true, there was a point in the not so distant past where entire neighborhoods were simple ranch homes and certain streets (even in West Atherton) still have far more aging ranchers than large homes.

            Of course, that’s changing too. Case in point, a street called Adam Way that is in West Atherton. Literally just five years ago, it was primarily ranch homes and was an easy pass in terms of location. Now there are a good half dozen new builds (either sold in the past few years or under construction as we speak) and the street looks as high-end as they come.

            But it is extremely rare for a historic mansion to be torn down for a new build. It’s usually the beat up ranch homes. The caveat is usually a large lot that is not easy to obtain. 172 Tuscaloosa, for example, is a stately old home that just sold for $13M and will almost assuredly be torn down. 133 Atherton Avenue caused a stir several years ago when a gorgeous California Revival mansion (20s or 30s era, can’t remember) on four acres was torn down for a Tuscan revival. But those are fairly rare cases.

  3. Posted by cleverpunhere

    Finally a house with enough grill space.

    • Posted by BobN

      And plenty of room to hose off the beef in the shower/steam room.

  4. Posted by MyOddCommentHandle

    call me nuts, but if I had the money, I’d move there and open a cat and small dog colony. 100s of them.

    smoke fatties and take naps in random places around the property.

    maybe still over-reaching a bit on the asking tho. I’d say $10M-$12.5Mish.

  5. Posted by BobN

    ALL THE BEST ELEMENTS OF A GENTEEL ESTATE in the European countryside…

    Even the listing daren’t pin down the “style” to one country.

  6. Posted by jlasf

    It’s not really French. It’s not really Belgian. How about Phlegmish?

  7. Posted by midcentfan

    Special thanks to Pottery World for the awesome patio furniture from their season-end close-out sale.

  8. Posted by SocketSite

    UPDATE: The asking price for 890 Robb Road has just been reduced another $1.4 million (10 percent), now asking $12.888 million for the Palo Alto Manor.

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