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This John Marsh Davis-Designed Home in California Has Only Had One Owner. It Just Hit the Market for $5 Million.

The midcentury residence was originally built in 1965 and has never changed hands. 

barbour house Brian McCloud

John Marsh Davis was famous for his Forgotten Modern style. However, the architect’s striking Barbour house in California will certainly be remembered.  

Originally built in 1965 for owners Donald and Nancy Barbour, the iconic Kentfield residence is on the market for the first time ever, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. The midcentury marvel was listed by the late couple’s three children, who are asking a cool $4.9 million for their parents’ pad. As it stands, the 4,000-square-foot abode comprises five bedrooms and three bathrooms. Currently, all that’s missing is a pool, but the spread does include a half-acre neighboring lot, so dare to dream. 

john marsh davis barbour house
Built nearly 60 years ago, John Marsh Davis’s Barbour House in California just listed for the first time. Brian McCloud

Perched high up on a hillside, the Barbour house is nestled amongst soaring oak trees with commanding views of Mount Tamalpais. The wood-framed structure juts out over the landscape, which means the only way to enter is by crossing a bridge. During the design process, Davis took his architectural prowess to never-before-seen heights with huge 14-foot sliding glass doors that disappear entirely when opened. Inside, it feels more like a treehouse than a typical estate.  

Throughout the home, you won’t see any obvious supports—those are all cleverly tucked within floor-to-ceiling bookcases in the living room or concealed by terraced gardens that were created by Thomas Church. “Mr. Church agreed to design the garden only because (he admitted that) he liked the sound of Nancy’s ‘husky’ voice on the phone; she had a cold at the time. He charged $100 and a bottle of vodka,” the Barbour’s son-in-law, David Sheff, told the WSJ.  

john marsh davis barbour house
The architect designed the residence with retractable walls that open up to the outdoors. Brian McCloud

While the layout is relatively open, large pocket doors act as dividers to break up the space when they’re closed. In the kitchen, a built-in bench is propped up against the window so you can sit at the table facing towards or away from the windows. Elsewhere, the living sports a huge fireplace that acts as an anchor in the main living area. According to the newspaper, Davis is also responsible for helping to furnish the residence and would frequently drop off lamps, rugs, and other objects that he gathered. “It was always a joyful house,” added Donald and Nancy’s son, Steve Barbour. “It’s emotional to see it go.” 

Bitsa Freeman of Boulevard Marin holds the listing.  

Click here to see all the photos of John Marsh Davis’s Barbour house.  

Brian McCloud

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