The orange-and-purple home at 45 Berryessa Way in Hillsborough, located near a stretch of Interstate 280, has been fondly admired from afar for years. Fans of the unique abode, which bears a bulbous roof and dome-like rooms, have bestowed the circa-1976 property with the “Flintstone House” sobriquet due to its cartoonish, Stone Age appearance.
Florence Fang, former publisher of the San Francisco Examiner and chairwoman for the Independent Newspaper Group, bought the house for $2.8 million in 2017.
In lieu of using it as a primary residence, Fang turned the home into an entertaining space that lives up to its nickname, adorning the exterior with a series of whimsical yet arguably gaudy accents: Tyrannosaurus rex and brontosaurus statues stand next to aliens and their UFO. Fred Flintstone can be found flanking the entryway, with his catchphrase, “Yabba Dabba Doo,” on a nearby embankment. Barney and Betty Rubble are here, too. An astronaut stands on the lawn next to oversized mushrooms in blue, red, and green. There’s also a woolly mammoth, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, and a fish, suggesting the philosophy at play was “design like no one is watching.”
But people were watching.
The city of Hillsborough filed a complaint against Fang in San Mateo Superior Court in March of this year, accusing her of ignoring several stop-work orders and making landscape modifications without planning approvals or building permits. Last year, the city even fined her $200 for what it calls “a highly visible eyesore.”
In turn, Fang countersued the city. Her attorney, Angela Alioto, accused the city’s powers that be of “treating Mrs. Fang differently because she had a dream, and because she is Chinese.”
Fang allowed reporters into her home in April for an eyebrow-cocking press conference—and a tour of her recently revamped house, inside and out.
Here’s a look at the home embroiled in a modern Stone Age design controversy.