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Hillsborough: Architecture Defines the Lifestyle

I offer my clients nearly 20 years experience in marketing and selling Hillsborough real estate. But first and foremost, I am passionate and informed about design and architecture, which in Hillsborough means bridging the best of all centuries and purveying the cutting edge of what's possible today. Recent years have brought heightened interest for Modern and Transitional architectural genres. I have many clients who customize their homes with greater open spaces, more dramatic indoor/outdoor flow, and streamlined finishes that bring a more urban feel and modern aesthetics.LowerNorthKitchenBarnett Unlike other luxury suburbs, Hillsborough is particularly conducive to this approach as it remains historically and geographically linked to San Francisco itself. Beginning with the Gilded Age, to today's prominence of private equity, biotech, and social media, Hillsborough landowners have always shared a special affinity with San Francisco style and commerce. The Gilded Age reflected this affinity majestically through the Beaux Arts style, but today it is the Modern and Transitional genres that generate the excitement and buzz at the drafting tables. Each year more brilliant examples emerge around Town by top names in California design. As Hillsborough has an aura of permanence and timelessness, my clients already living in Town often consider remodels, expansions, land upgrades, and new construction. To assure the integrity of the Town's architectural ambiance, Hillsborough's Planning Division operates its own Architectural Design and Review Board (ADRB). This institution reflects the Town's original ordinances and vision as a genteel environment of elegant and privately distinguished "country estates."

As part of my curated services, I foster relationships for recommendations to top tier architects, custom home builders, interior designers, landscape architects and more. Here are just a few of the elite names to inspire architecture and design in Hillsborough:



  1. Charlie Barnett Associates, San Francisco
  2. Arcanum Architecture, Inc., San Francisco
  3. Fergus, Garber, Young, Palo Alto
  4. TRG Architects, Randy Grange, Burlingame
  5. Swatt Miers, Emeryville (Modern Specialist)
  6. Alex Mortazavi, Hillsborough
  7. Farro Essalat, AIA, San Mateo
  8. Christian Rice, AIA, Coronado, CA
  9. Walker Warner, San Francisco

Interior Design:

  1. Kendall Wilkinson Design
  2. Jeff Schlarb Design Studio
  3. The Wiseman Group, Paul Wiseman
  4. Ken Fulk

General Contractors and Custom Home Builders:

  1. Wilkinson Construction
  2. Cacci Construction
  3. Upscale Construction, San Francisco
  4. Peninsula Custom Homes (PCH)
  5. All Wood Construction
  6. RG Development, Greg Gambrioli

Landscape Architects:

  1. Terra Ferma Landscapes, Brian Koch
  2. Michael Callan



Architectural Heritage of Hillsborough, California

Hillsborough, California presents a brilliant canvas for a diversity of significant architecture. Hillsborough's architectural magnetism is no coincidence: where else in the world is there such a meeting of land, sea, mountains, and valley…so picturesque in rolling topography, and immersed in a history of the many design titans who have left their mark? And where else in the world exists such an affluent demographic, seeking their architectural retreats mid-way between the world-class meccas of Silicon Valley and San Francisco?

Illustrious historical architects Willis Polk, Lewis Hobart, Arthur Brown Jr., Gardner Dailey, Angus McSweeney, David Adler, William Wurster, Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra, Birge Clark...all laid the foundation of legendary design in Hillsborough from the 1890s - 1940s. This legacy defines the streetscape to this day, now sharing space alongside masterful new constructions that echo the heritage styles.

As part of my daily real estate interactions, it is a pleasure to integrate whenever possible, this perspective of architectural heritage so unique to our area. I have been fortunate to have represented the sale of two quintessential and influential Gardner Dailey-designed homes. I must say, these homes were love at first sight for both me and my clients! I represented the buyer of a circa-1938 Gardner Dailey contemporary on Burlingame’s Chapin Lane straddling Hillsborough. With its contemporary Art Deco nuances, and dramatic window-lined two-story staircase, this home must have struck an arresting pose in the 1930s. Concepts of unadorned “clean” architectural lines, stunning and deliberate infusions of natural light, and passionate integration with surrounding gardens were a departure from typical 1920s principles previously. This home is referenced as the “Littlefield Home” in the 2003 coffee table book "Thomas Church, Landscape Architect: Designing a Modern California Landscape." The property boasts a sprawling garden designed by Church around 1952.

I have also represented the buyer of a circa-1935 Gardner Dailey/Thomas Church designed estate “The Liebes House” on Hillsborough’s Vista Road. Barely visible from the road, this 5,000+ sq. ft. 1-acre estate offers ultimate privacy and sweeping vistas above mountains, valley, and Bay. The two-story staircase with magnificent full-height windows is a signature element of the design. Juxtapositions of horizontal and vertical lines form a subtle interplay with the depth of the 1 acre Bay-view setting. My sold portfolio also includes representation of one of Hillsborough’s oldest homes: Oakhurst, the Henry Tiffany Scott residence on Forest View Avenue, which preserves its original 1890s ballroom with parquet flooring and elaborate French doors. In 2013, I was privileged to represent the buyers of 711 Bromfield Road in Lower North Hillsborough. This is a rare heritage estate with architecture by William Wurster and landscape design by Thomas Church. Also in 2013, I represented the buyer of Joseph Eichler's personal residence, and one of his last masterpieces from 1974 at 1145 Barroilhet. Architecture and local history are a passion of mine, and sharing this passion and insight with buyers and sellers is one of the joys of working in Hillsborough real estate.


"Geoffrey Nelson Markets and Sells Hillsborough's Most Interesting Homes." I have sold all of the unique Hillsborough homes below:



Unique in all of Northern California, Hillsborough's architecture reflects its rich history and stunning topography.
Senior Partner, Luxury Real Estate Group
Agent No. 01313666
1427 Chapin Avenue , Burlingame , CA 94010
Phone: (650) 455-3735
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1427 Chapin Avenue | Burlingame | CA | 94010 | United States
(650) 455-3735 | | Agent No. 01313666
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