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What's with the HOUSE on the HILL?!

Original post made on Aug 16, 2007

Kelly Adamic's eccentric Alamo home on the hill has been bashed left and right. Now, the owner of one of Alamo's most notorious houses tells his story. Photo by Natalie O'Neill.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, August 18, 2008, 1:44 PM

Comments (36)

Posted by Hal Bailey
a resident of Alamo
on Aug 16, 2007 at 1:49 pm

Dear Natalie,

We need to thank Mr. Adamic for a source of good humor in Alamo. He has the home of his dreama and Alamo's Towne Fools, as resident humorists, celebrate his home as The Great Chief Freshly-Plowed Black Earth Casino and House of Ill-Repute. It appears on our Alamo Postcard complete with a large neon sign.

I would have one serious suggestion for Mr. Adamic that would delight our community. Being that his home is on top of Mona Lisa Hill, why not have the Mona Lisa duplicated on a large, north-facing vertical wall. Some 20 years ago, an artist use fertilizer to create the Mona Lisa in the hillside grass above the Stone Valley/680 exchange and Alamo would celebrate Mona Lisa's return.

Great article, Natalie, and joyous best wishes to Mr. Adamic.

Hal Bailey
Co-Founder, The Alamo Towne Fool
[email protected]

Posted by Bonnie McNamara
a resident of Alamo
on Aug 17, 2007 at 11:38 pm

This home is an asset to Alamo. Those who have visited Europe and appreciated and admired the ancient architecture, can appreciate what is being replicated historically. There are so many homes being built that are huge, done to impress but are faux copies of classic design. They will look dated in a few years. This home is , in fact, authentic to Tuscan architecture.

One can only admire the creativity, dedication , physical labor and energy Kelly has put personally into his home. He humbly just wants to build his vision for himself. He graciously gave me tours when I visited several times and took the time to explain what was going into the home. (as he patiently did for so many people)

I would encourage those who are vocally critical to visit museums and gain an appreciation of historical designs. There are so many people in need in the world that this critical energy could be directed to making the world a better place, if even in some small way.

Posted by Hal Bailey
a resident of Alamo
on Aug 18, 2007 at 7:45 am

Applause to Ms. McNamara, Natalie,

I am convinced that, in Alamo, Mr. Adamic has displayed a part of Italy in our community. Such historical significance has convinced me to fulfill my dream to build a light house. My light house will bring the majesty of the Maine Coast to Alamo as the 62 feet tall Alamo Light.

It is fortunate that county codes allow water towers, chimneys, and lights to reach above the typical 35 feet height limit and Alamo can have a second building of historical significance.

Hal Bailey
as a courtesy to the Alamo Towne Fool

Posted by Rocklinjohn
a resident of Alamo
on Aug 19, 2007 at 9:10 am

I grew up in Alamo from the 60's through the early 80's. Every time I return to visit I am amazed at the massive homes perched precariously above a noisy freeway, on hillsides that I have watched occasionally slip over the years. If that compromise is someone's desire, and they have the money, let 'em do it. I personally think the Adamic house is quite amazing being the the owner designed and built the place. He's done a hell of a job. Much better than the absurdity that is the "castle" on Hemme Ave.

Posted by Rocklinjohn
a resident of Alamo
on Aug 19, 2007 at 9:20 am

An additional thought as you drive past the Adamic hillside house. Take a look up at the hillsides, as you pass through both north and south of Mr. Adamic's creation, and what do you see? 1970's style milk-toast, architectually neutered ranch-style homes on stilts with flavor-of-the-day detailing -- ugliness even more inappropriately positioned.
Leave Adamic alone.

Posted by Scrotey McBoingboing
a resident of Alamo
on Sep 18, 2007 at 9:11 am

Kudos to that dreamer! Now that Alamo's shleppin' down the path towards incorpration, we're going to need some new sources of revenue to offset the costs of new services, especially to avoid that darned, dreaded liberal poison "T-word": taxes (yikes! not in MY America!).

Luckily, that answer can be a less stigmatic T-word, tourism. Give us another five or ten years and we could have enough material to publish a book marketed to every Information Booth in the state. It would feature Silly Alamo Architectural Sites, starting with the authentically fake toy Tuscan house, our various painted stage set reminiscent "castles", the Alamo Lighthouse, and now, finally, my life's true aim: to replace all of the oak trees dotting the Las Trampas hillside with 10,000:1 scale, completely "authentic" erect penises. These structural marvels will lend our valley a slice of the ancient essence presumably intended in such world locations as The Isle of Man, Manchester, Manteca, CA, and The Cock Islands.

Hopefully this message is accurately interpreted as my bid for mayor next March. My platform? More Rich Dicks In Alamo, NOW!

Your Friend and Neighbor,
Mr. Scrotey McBoingboing

Posted by Hal Bailey
a resident of Alamo
on Sep 18, 2007 at 12:03 pm

Dear Dolores,

Mr. McBoingboing I am not, just to clarify. Nor do I believe dearest Scrotey is one of the Alamo Towne Fools.

Ah, but a point is made that many homes, as monster boxes, built under county approval, borrow their architecture from a Comfort Inn in a strip mall somewhere near Fresno. Our Alamo skyline and ridgeline is filled with these silly monsters and the construction on Mona Lisa Hill is not exceptional to the hundreds of monsters that scar our view.


Posted by Duke Flourideo Stromboni
a resident of Danville
on Sep 19, 2007 at 10:27 am

Adamic, thou wretched and debased scoundrel! Constructing an "eccentric" fortress in secret under the dainty nose of Piero II d' Medici - this is malfeasance of the most loathsome kind! Prepare tobe sieged, sir!
I, Flourideo of Genoa, fled to Florence to escape the clutches of the corrupt, heretical, and offensively-scented Visconti clan after I failed to produce enough turnips for the Ye Olde Annual Genoa-Wide Turnip Pie Bake-Offe, and in return for their protection, swore my allegiance (and firstborn) to the blessed and generous Medicis. Now I see it is time to take my trusty saber and run you through, Adamic, for I have caught you in upright rebellion! Oh, your styrofoam-layered concrete walls and 2,500 lb gates may deter trick-or-treaters, or sensible people who wouldn't want to be caught dead inside such a moronic, self-indulgent, wasteful architectural endeavor - but I am neither of those two things, Adamic, and I will throw myself at your 25 foot tall, historically accurate pastel walls with such a fury that all within your castle - from your oldest son to your youngest son, and perhaps even the au pair in her suite or the imaginary people in your imaginary marketplace - will tremble at the thunder I create.
Behold, Adamic, as I lay waste to your 300 year old steel cauldron with fake smoke effect, and trod with mud-sodden boots upon your imported Tuscan tiles! Feel thy bowels a'quiver as I desecrate both your movie theater and sports court, converting them into a manure-pit for my horses after I seize your citadel and lower the flag bearing your vile family's coat of arms, replacing it with the Great Lion and Parsley of Stromboni! Ha!
Your cunning ways have led you to this dark hour, Adamic, now face thy fate with what little honor you have left.
(And please Tivo 'Dancing With the Stars', if you can, for my knights have been chewing my ear off about seeing it on a big screen - "to see Mark Cubans fancy footwork better" - psh, it never ends, eh?)

Feudically Yours,
Duke Flourideo Stromboni

Posted by Prince K. "The Slow-Thrustin' Faux-Tuscan" Adamic the Younger
a resident of Alamo Elementary School
on Sep 19, 2007 at 8:06 pm

How dareth thou challenge the honour of benevolent Lord Adamic!

Alas, the gall with which you poke your pointy, pickerel-sniffing ex-Ligurian nose in the architectural affairs of others. If that sickly, gout-ridden little scoundrel Piero, in whose plush, fresco-canopied four-post bed your fidelity so clearly lies, were half the man his father was, he'd commend our dear Lord Adamic for his grand new erection -- for 'tis nearly twice as brash, extravagant and unreasonably humongous as that despicable dome of Santa Maria del Fiore, and not just on the inside!

Yet Bringeth upon us thy siege if you dare, Stromboni... that is, if you dare to be vanquished! Firstly, your arrival shall be no surprise. This HILLtop perch happens to afford this HOUSE a strategic vantage point for 180 degrees, and Pope Leo X's ghost knows how many decibels, of the Sinclair Freeway located 20 meters below the walls of our second and third yoga studios. So rest assured we'll see or hear your advance, provided we don't smell your fowl turnip dumpling-infused gaseous emissions prior, ho! And secondly, entertain not the notion of a longbowman attack from Dong Lee's solid stone bathtub room -- the Lord's parents can ogle every inch of it from the 800-ft balsa wood model bell tower!

If you do have the tortellinis to act on these silly words, be you well aware. For whereas I'd just as soon have your corpse crushed beneath a falling 6,000 lb steel roof beam and pretend to boil your remains in my Lord's ancient cauldron of neat lights and crackling sound effects, my merciful and hip goatee-sporting Lord Adamic would rather keep you around -- encased in a self-molded cement sink for 500 years, you fool! So come with all your might and all the reeking bubonic La Spezian rats you can muster, but know you'll trod nary a mud-sodden toe into this gaudy monstrosity of a fortress, nay, not until it's sold as-is to a sleazy Folsom Lake-based strip mall developer in 20 years, believeth you me.

In summation: as you know, my Great, Honourable and casually dressed Lord Adamic has built his castle, but I'd wager he HAS in fact found his queen: YOU, Stromboni! YOU! And can you imagine what the Alamo community would say about that? A pox upon your despicable family's name.

Stay away from my dad,
Prince K. "The Slow-Thrustin' Faux-Tuscan" Adamic the Younger

Posted by Lucy
a resident of Danville
on Oct 5, 2007 at 9:58 pm

It will be interesting to see what kind of landscaping these new homes on the hill put in. At least they are conversation pieces - kind of like that round house off 280, I think it's just north of Palo Alto. It's weird, too, but so what?

Posted by Tracey
a resident of another community
on Nov 13, 2007 at 12:09 pm

I think the Alamo skyline is interesting. For sure a conversation piece. It just so happens that this "house on the hill" is in full view, but if you look to the right going south bound you will see tons of big homes just like this one. I have enjoyed watching it grow from stacks of wood to this beautiful masterpiece!

Posted by Emerciana
a resident of another community
on Dec 4, 2007 at 10:26 pm

I think that it's lovely and I look at it evey time I drive by... and wish I could see the inside, it must be amazing.... GREAT WORK!!! LOVELY!!!!

Now I know who that lovely house belongs to and I appreciate it that much more, I am thankful to know the story...

I think a few people are just a tad jealous... what a shame...

Posted by Gina-Pittsburg resident
a resident of another community
on Dec 5, 2007 at 12:55 pm

The house on the hill is beautiful! Everytime I drive by there on the freeway, I always wonder what the other side of the house looks like...and wow, what a beauty it is! There is nothing wrong with making your dreams come true and Mr A did just that! I just wish I could see the entire home when it is totally completed.

Posted by Dr. Do
a resident of Danville
on Jan 11, 2008 at 3:56 pm

Thanks for the article, Natalie. My daily commute takes me by Mr. Adamic's home and I have often wondered about its story. Now I know and would actually love to see inside it one day.

Posted by nick
a resident of Walnut Creek
on Feb 26, 2008 at 6:54 pm

how come he built it

Posted by Samantha
a resident of Walnut Creek
on Apr 11, 2008 at 2:59 pm

Too bad most of the community in Alamo are so stuffy and close minded, loosin up and get over your "cookie cutter" style people....

Posted by Tina
a resident of Danville
on Apr 29, 2008 at 2:41 pm

It is amazing how people think they are entitled to poke their noses into everyone else's business. We actually had the police called on us because we trimmed back some roots of an oaktree that is in the way of a wall we built. For whomever did that...GET A LIFE! Don't you have a tree to climb over in Berkely? Obviously the tree is still standing. As far as the house on the hill...I would'nt mind seeing it for myself. Both of those homes, however, are Monuments to Huge Egos. There is a lot of that going on around these parts!

Posted by Barbara Adamic Neumann
a resident of another community
on Jun 10, 2008 at 9:02 pm

Hdy Kelly,
This is your cousin Barbie from Minnesota. Way to go - so few of us ever follow our dreams and you are doing it. Hats off to you. I am so proud of you and would love to see more pictures. Send some to my dad and mom so we can all enjoy your creativity. Think I am going to have to plan a trip out your way in the near future to see this wonder for myself. Like you and my dad I have always been a lover of architecture and my daughter Danielle right along with us. We all have a vision, sometimes not to what others like, but just the same it is ours. The Italian architecture is a passion of mine and I am again so proud of you. Never know, may see you soon.
Love and good luck on finishing your dream.
Your cousin Barbie.

Posted by Dolores Parr
a resident of Walnut Creek
on Jun 30, 2008 at 8:08 pm

I would like to take dancing lessons. Do you know of any facilities in the Danville, Lafayette, or Walnut Creek Areas?

Posted by Dolores Parr
a resident of Walnut Creek
on Jun 30, 2008 at 8:08 pm

I would like to take dancing lessons. Do you know of any facilities in the Danville, Lafayette, or Walnut Creek Areas?

Posted by Amory Gutierrez, Danville Weekly
a resident of Danville
on Jul 1, 2008 at 11:53 am

There's Two Left Feet located at 194 Diablo Rd., Danville. Their phone number is 831-8111.

Posted by Debora
a resident of Danville
on Jul 22, 2008 at 12:12 am

It amazes me how many jealous people are out there. Continue on sir! As an Interior Designer, I say express yourself! They all just wish they would have thought of your dream.

Posted by Danville buissiness owner
a resident of Danville
on Jul 22, 2008 at 9:05 am

I love the house & now I love it even more after this article. I love that the home builder put some of his own sweat into his home... it's a lot more than most people in this area can say! It has been so fun watching this home & the home above it come together. It isn't like the home is painted lime green... people get over yourselves... jelousy is a nasty lie!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Helene K.
a resident of San Ramon
on Aug 15, 2008 at 2:38 pm

I've been driving by this home twice a day for over 5 years going to work in Lafayette. KUDOS to this man for building his dream home with his bare hands.

Also, to his credit for the people who don't want to look at it, he's planted fast-growing cypress trees in the yard. In about 5-10 years, the home will be hidden.

Posted by Vickie Nagy
a resident of Danville
on Aug 25, 2008 at 8:27 pm

As a local Realtor in Danville CA I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this article. It's so very informative and fun. I'm so glad that the owner chose to share his story...and to the Danville Weekly staff for asking.

Posted by Garbage home
a resident of Alamo
on Oct 18, 2008 at 2:51 am

this home is nothing but a total eyesore. It's faux Tuscan - it's a monstrosity akin to what you'd find in 1960 Disneyland - phony even at a distance.

The idea that his home will last 500 years is a total laugh. It's built directly on top of a slide - look at the condition of the road (or what's left of it) to his house - that earth movement isn't confined to the road right of way, rather it heads all the way up the hill. The lots in that development have had horrendous problems with subsidence - this home won't be any different and my bet is that his house has already begun to shift. In 50 years I suspect the home will be torn down (or some future owner will burn it down - all those styrofoam walls go up in a puff of smoke quite nicely.)

The ugliness of the home is a post card of planning gone amok. It looks more like a cheap industrial tilt up than a residence.

Posted by Susan Beren
a resident of Blackhawk
on Oct 31, 2008 at 4:43 pm

Mr. Adamic was very gracious to allow me and my daughter to tour a bit of his home today. It is a beautiful effort and has astounding rooms and portals that surprise at every turning. It is a daunting project and I hope he can sustain his enthusiasm and creativity to finish what has already become legend in "these here parts". I have lived in Danville since 1956. This area used to be known for eccentrics and artists and writers and teachers. The scholars and craftsmen flocked here in the 50's. Over the years the Alamo and Danville and Diablo populations have been in danger of losing that coveted freedom of expression we proudly flaunted.....and which, by the way, adds to EVERYone's life experience. I applaud Mr. Adamic's taste and individuality. I only wish he had the time to help me with some engineering ideas for my own home!

Susan Beren
[email protected]

Posted by Tan Jann
a resident of Monte Vista High School
on Nov 14, 2008 at 3:24 pm

The criticism, I see against Mr Adamic's home just makes me realize how badly I do not want to see Alamo incorporate. I like the way his home fills up what was an empty space along the freeway. His creativity and hard work replaced that nothingness to something worth looking at and talking about. The stuffy people who want to control what we do with our own property must not be allowed to gain control of Alamo and dictate to the rest of us what we can and can't do with our hard earned dollars. Kudo's to Mr. Adamic for building his dream house and a pox on those who still feel they know "what's best" for the rest of us. To those of you who keep badmouthing his effort--GET A LIFE.

Posted by Leah
a resident of Danville
on Nov 24, 2008 at 2:29 pm

Alamo residents just have issues with any new change.

Posted by Jason Cooke
a resident of Walnut Creek
on Dec 1, 2008 at 12:32 pm

The only difference between our area and the San Fernando Valley are grass roots enviromental organizations and GOOD city planners that prevent people from building on highly visible hill tops. Go ahead and build your dream home but do it where the rest of us don't have to see it.

Posted by Steve from Alamo Oaks
a resident of Alamo
on Dec 19, 2008 at 1:58 pm

Yes, to Tann Jan; this IS the reason why we should NOT incorporate. Stuffed shirts like the two AIA members quoted in the article love to dictate and tell us what to do. THIS is why people LOVE Alamo; we're free to be left alone by the far-away county government. The price we might occasionally pay, a few dollars too many to the government, is a small price to pay for independence. This fellow had a dream and he made it happen, just like the fellow on Hemme Ave with his Castle. Bossy people; please just move away from this freedom loving community full of free spirits. Vote NO on incorporation.

Posted by Mike Dettorre
a resident of Danville
on Jan 28, 2009 at 9:03 pm

To all those who object to the style of the house...perhaps you are forgetting what country we live in.

Those who criticize his home she be ashamed of themselves...God forbid someone do somthing a little different.

Some of you act as if painted hot pink with chartreuse trim.

Posted by No Name
a resident of another community
on Jan 29, 2009 at 10:14 am

I was hoping this house would put Christmas lights up. It would be an exciting landmark to mark the half way pt. for my long commute home.

Posted by Broadway Bill Lee NY, NY
a resident of Danville
on Feb 12, 2009 at 7:11 pm

You go Kelly,

No chance of radon up there and what a view !!!

I'll bet a former Merril Lynch exec. will offer you tens of millions.

Hope the kids are fine. Keep enjoying the journey.

Posted by Petra
a resident of Danville
on Nov 29, 2010 at 6:28 pm

I am so loving it! Hats off to Kelly Adamic. There was once a time when eclectic was celebrated in the Alamo and Danville communities. Alas 'tis no more. I've lived here most of my life, graduated Monte Vista and it is the petty, backbiting politics in neighborhoods that plague this community. I agree, bring back the Mona Lisa!! It was a combined effort of several departments at Monte Vista and San Ramon high schools that graced the side of that hill with art every year. My understanding is Cal Trans put the kabbash on it because people were slowing to view and it was creating traffic snarls, seems to me they occur anyway so why not have something to look at. As for your queen Mr. Adamic, you should have no problem, many would dig living in that house on the hill. Hopefully you find someone who can stand on the porch overlooking those below who are clenching their fists in anger...and laugh heartily!

Posted by Westside Alamoans
a resident of Alamo
on Feb 28, 2013 at 1:01 pm

it appears this thing is in foreclosure @ well over $3.5mm. ...and for awhile, now. leading me to assume that the ersatz tuscan may have declared BK to keep BofA off the courthouse steps for a spell.

for years, my wife and i would enter 680/s from livorna only to gawk in perpetual state of WTF every time we pass "the Alamo Correctional Facility".

We haven't toured it, but when it finally goes back to the bank, it'll be interesting to finally see who buys it and at what price.

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