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$100 million peninsula home, with its own private canyon, cuts price 70%

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Designer mansion built for French royalty humbled

You can’t always get what you want.

For example, Christian de Guigne IV, present and generational owner of the pristine estate at 891 Crystal Springs Road in Hillsborough, wanted to sell the family home for an even $100 million.

On top of that, he wanted license to continue living in it until his death (he’s going on 78 these days)—perhaps because he didn’t want to see it leave de Guigne hands for the first time ever until after he was gone.

It was a tall order, but why not? We are, after all, talking about a 47 acre Hillsborough estate, built by the playboy son of a French count and a Gold Rush heiress in 1912, the bulk of it designed by the same architects behind the St. Francis Hotel.

The main home is more than 16,000 square feet, featuring six full bedrooms and seven smaller bedrooms originally home to servants, 11 and a half baths in all, and all of the Mediterranean trappings you’d expect from a fusion of California royalty and actual royalty.

The grounds include a private canyon and reservoir. The ballroom boasts 20-foot ceilings with original moldings. There’s one cellar for wine and a separate one for liquor. The de Guingne’s claim that they hosted several U.S. presidents as guests here over the last century.

Alas, nobody wanted it for $100 million in 2013. So the price toppled to just over $40 million last year. It didn’t sell then either. After several more price cuts, the whole affair is now yours for less than $30 million, and Mr. de Guigne will no longer be staying.

Normally, amazingly huge price cuts fill us with awe and even a kind of relief. (Homes around here cost enough as it is.)

But in this case, the plight of the storied palace seems downright tragic. It’s not just another fancy-pants Peninsula mansion; it’s got real pedigree as a piece of San Francisco history, and it’s got to be tough seeing it leave the family.

That $100 million asking was really never going to happen in the first place, of course. But you’ve got to let to afford the old place its dignity.


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