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Apr 28, 2024

A gated, 26,647-square-foot estate on 4.5 acres in Northern California’s East Bay has landed on the market for $24,998,000.

The enormous home is situated in the exclusive Blackhawk planned community. It was designed by a cohort of real estate experts, including a developer, architect, landscape artist, and an interior designer.

The home’s late owner, Ken Behring, was a former owner of the Seattle Seahawks. He hand selected the parcel atop Eagle Ridge, which offers views of Mt. Diablo and Blackhawk Country Club. The spot overlooks the sought-after neighborhood of 11,000 people, 40 miles east of San Francisco. Behring helped develop the Blackhawk community in the 1970s. He died in 2019.

“This estate represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” says listing agent Joujou Chawla, with Compass. “It represents a complete vision, a holistic approach to design that seamlessly integrates the exterior landscape and interior design. There are waterfalls that flow into and out of the home. It is a trophy home, but it is also a warm and welcoming home—a very rare combination.”

The home is the product a rare man with a vision, Chawla adds.

Behring, who built his fortune in real estate, was a philanthropist who supported museums, universities, and nonprofits. In 2000, he donated $80 million to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

He was the brains and force behind the groundbreaking Blackhawk community. He purchased 4,000 acres of ranch land, donating half to Mount Diablo State Park and carving 2,500 homes out of the remaining 2,000 acres.

The development consists of seven gated communities bordering Danville, CA, and is renowned for its beauty, rural atmosphere, and amenities, including a country club, clubhouse, pickleball and tennis courts, a football field, fitness center, two Olympic-sized swimming pools, and two 72-par championship golf courses.

In 1988, he bought the Seahawks for $79 million with Ken Hoffman. He later sold the NFL team to Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in 1997, for $200 million.

(Brian Kitts / Steven Magner )

(Brian Kitts / Steven Magner )

(David Duncan Livingston )

(David Duncan Livingston )

(David Duncan Livingston )

(David Duncan Livingston )

“Ken created this estate with architect Doug Dahlin, who founded the Dahlin Group and also partnered with him on the community at Blackhawk,” Chawla explains.

The two collaborated with Steve Chase, an interior designer whose work with celebrities has appeared in Architectural Digest; and landscaper Kimio Kimura, a master gardener from Japan, famous for his Kimura-style designs. They made every decision together, aiming to create a holistic interior and exterior.

The home was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater masterpiece in Pennsylvania, and its spirit is apparent in Behring’s estate.

But the home is an original creation and no detail was overlooked, Chawla insists.

“Even the lighting was an enormous consideration,” she notes. “Craig Roberts, a lighting architect for private homes and renowned public venues like the Four Seasons in Dubai and the Baha Mar Grand Hyatt in Nassau, came in and considered every element of the architecture in his design of the lighting.”

The home is adorned with “dozens and dozens of artworks and artifacts from 6,000 B.C.,” and contemporary masterworks are set around the home, Chawla says, adding “I have a binder detailing the artwork that is 12 inches thick.”

Interested buyers who tour the home will have access to that binder of information, as well as background on every detail of the home’s construction and artistic content.

While the specifics around most of the furniture and artwork is unavailable for security reasons, some of that information is public knowledge: The home includes works from Bruce Johnson, famous for is iconic, redwood sculptures; and Barry Flannagan, beloved for his bronze animal statues; and paintings from noted abstract master Stanley Boxer.

“All of the furniture and artwork, everything is included in the sale of the home, because everything was designed or purchased with [the home] in mind,” Chawla says.

The design team selected materials such as Brazilian teakwood, Idaho quartz, and Utah flagstone—all meant to evoke a timeless quality, she says.

When you enter the gated driveway, you’ll circle around an 18-foot, 17-ton sculpture and water feature, dubbed “Campobello Di Mazara,” created by Salvatore Pecoraro and specially commissioned for the home.

Just inside the house, you’ll find a series of pathways that bridge multilevel koi ponds, a waterfall, and spa. There are floor-to-ceiling windows with panoramic views of the surrounding hillsides.

Throughout the estate, there are celebration and entertainment spaces, including a 7,000-square-foot, granite-floor ballroom lit by nine crystal chandeliers; a walk-around bar worthy of a nightclub; a hidden door that opens to a priceless automobile collection; and a 10,000-bottle, temperature-controlled wine cellar and tasting room.

The living spaces include a formal living room, a family room that can comfortably accommodate at least 40 people, a pool and game area, and a home theater with plush seating.

The dining room features a formal seated area, several other tables, built-in cabinetry, and an enormous fireplace. There is also a chef’s kitchen and a more casual dining area, which accesses a kitchen garden and an outdoor dining area.

Four en suite bedrooms include floor-to-ceiling windows with views of Mt. Diablo. And there’s another full kitchen nearby (for late-night snacks, of course), along with a spa and meditation area, which has a retractable ceiling for stargazing. A hidden door offers secret access to the swimming pool.

Three more en suite bedrooms await on the lower level. Additional spaces include an office, a laundry room, and two detached apartments.

For the full listing and photos, go here.

For more homes in Danville, CA, go here.

Kathleen Willcox is a journalist who covers real estate, travel, and food and wine. She lives in Saratoga Springs, NY.

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Ken BehringJoujou ChawlaKen HoffmanPaul AllenDoug DahlinSteve ChaseKimio KimuraFrank Lloyd WrightCraig RobertsBruce JohnsonBarry FlannaganStanley BoxerSalvatore Pecoraro