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Ex-Facebook VP Asks $35 Million for Major-League Silicon Valley Mansion

Mike & Elaine Murphy
Atherton, Calif.
$35 million
13,150 square feet, 7 beds, 11 baths

According to real estate data juggernaut PropertyShark, the 94027 zip code — belonging to the leafy Northern California town of Atherton — was 2018’s most expensive zip code by a wide margin, its eye-popping median sale price of $6.7 million besting the #2 contender by more than a million bucks.

Of course, Atherton has long afforded residents an exceedingly prestigious address — the location in prime Silicon Valley has earned it scores of big-name venture capitalist and tech entrepreneur homeowners. One of those is former Yahoo and Facebook VP Mike Murphy, who recently slapped a $35 million pricetag on his massive Atherton compound.

Even for his exceptionally wealthy neighborhood, Murphy’s estate is quite large — the property spans three flat, fully landscaped acres dotted by enormous redwood trees. Records reveal Murphy acquired the two-parcel complex in two separate transactions — the first in 2011, the second in 2012 — for a total of about $19.5 million. He then hired prolific Silicon Valley developer Pacific Peninsula Group to oversee a multimillion-dollar expansion and renovation of the premises.

The resulting estate, which includes a 13,000+ sq. ft. Mediterranean-style mansion, a mini-me guesthouse and full-size tennis court, would not look out of place in Beverly Park, L.A.’s guard-gated community (in)famous for its collection of steroidal megamansions.

Murphy, who was a Yahoo executive before he jumped ship to become one of the earliest Facebook employees, eventually rose to become Vice President of Global Sales at the social network powerhouse before departing in 2010 to focus more on his family, according to an interview he gave at the time. He later joined online gaming phenom Zynga as a part-time advisor, while reportedly maintaining a consulting relationship with Facebook.

Now in his late 50s and an empty-nester, Murphy appears to be at least semi-retired. And so it would seem he no longer needs  — or wants — such a massive main residence.

The property is being sold off as two separate estates — the larger two-acre parcel, listed at $27 million, includes the main house, guesthouse and pool, while the smaller one-acre lot, listed at $8 million, includes the tennis court and is being marketed as a development opportunity. However, listing details specify the smaller lot will not be sold off before the larger lot transfers, presumably because a three-acre Atherton estate is a very rare thing and could attract a space-loving billionaire buyer who wants the whole Murphy shebang, not just a piece of it.

Gated, high-hedged and camera-secured, the mansion is barely visible from the public streetfront — nosy pedestrians will catch only a fleeting glimpse of the three-story beige behemoth through a wall of evergreen trees. Beyond the gates, a formal motorcourt sweeps up to the home’s supremely grand main entrance. According to listing materials, the estate — originally built in 1998 by high-flying Ohio venture capitalist Mark Kvamme — has garaging for six vehicles.

A set of three double doors with custom wrought iron accents allow entry into the foyer, with its almost ecclesiastical groin-vaulted ceiling and grand piano. The well-proportioned living room sports hardwood floors and a sizable fireplace,  while the adjacent eat-in kitchen has high-end appliances and opens to an informal dining area and family room. A long row of glassy sliders allows views of — and access to — the numerous backyard amenities.

There’s also a formal dining room with rows of French doors leading outside, and a library with attached office, both with soaring ceilings. Upstairs are a second family room and at least five bedroom suites, all of them seemingly done up in entirely different design motifs.

The mansion also contains a full-floor basement level with a gym, a bathroom decorated in what appears to be a particularly lurid shade of hot pink, a games room with a slew of prodigiously expensive arcade games, including a basketball machine and “Fast & Furious” racing cockpits, and a 14-seat home theater with blood-red walls and acres of hot pink zebra-stripe carpeting. Elsewhere there’s a lounge with a fire-engine red — or maybe it’s also hot pink — sectional sofa, and a downstairs dining area.

Emerald green lawns encircle the outdoor swimming pool, which is outfitted with a diving board and twin basketball hoops. The adjacent guest/pool house features a multi-columned loggia with space for al fresco dining, plus its own kitchen, indoor dining room, living room, family room and an impressively lavish bedroom suite for one lucky overnight guest.

Other amenities of the sprawling estate include exquisitely maintained formal gardens, a shady wooden deck completely encircled by towering redwoods, the aforementioned tennis court — which features its own motorcourt for visitors just dropping by to catch a game — and a golf putting green with sand trap.

Whichever financially fortunate buyer acquires the Murphy estate will be neighbors with, quite literally, a who’s who of Silicon Valley power players. Some of Atherton’s high-profile residents include — but are hardly limited to — Charles Schwab, Meg Whitman, Google co-founder Sergey Brin, YouTube co-founders Steve Chen and Chad Hurley, Twitter’s executive chairman Omid Kordestani, WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum and Warriors owner Joe Lacob.

Steve Niethammer of Zane MacGregor brokerage holds the listing.


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