MONTCLARION NEWSPAPER – May 8, 2009 (Photos by Jane Fuerch)
HIGH IN THE HILLS, with upscale amenities and yoga sensibilities, is a rather unusual retreat house. Dubbed the “Skyhouse,” it’s available for business meetings, mixers, movies and anything else one might do in a house, as long as they pay the rent.
“Humorously,” says owner Bennett Hall, “this place could be the “Pimps ultra-pad” — restaged, of course —— for the set of the infamous “Gentlemen of Leisure” HBO deal that stirred up the hills and certain vocal minorities”…”
This architectural gem with the killer view of the bay and beyond has been the dream project of Hall and his wife, Helen, since they first spotted it. With a sense that it’s floating in air, the structure is built on steel beams and pillars that are anchored into the hillside.
Simply stated, the Feng Shui is fabulous. From the waterfall rock garden at the home’s entrance to the wide expanse of living room and wall of windows to the west, you can instantly feel the energy.
Party palace? You bet. And the Halls have no shortage of friends who’ve been breaking the place in. But Skyhouse has been scouted for commercials, too, and the couple sees this kind of “creative rental” as a way to pay the bills. If you’d like to see pictures of Skyhouse, log onto my Web site at www.ginnyprior.com. For more information on the home, see www.skyhousebayarea.com.
Primal Beat: There’s something about percussion that gets under your skin. And nobody does drums better than the Escovedos — Oakland ‘s first family of Latin Jazz. I’ve seen the whole family, including ’80s pop star Sheila E, perform at Yoshi’s — but last week was the first time I’d seen son Juan with his own band. He rocked the house with an edgy but breezy blend of Latin Jazz and Rock that beckoned me to stay for the second show —— something I rarely do on a week night. Juan is playing Saturday at Theatre 39 in San Francisco . You should grab the opportunity to see him.E-mail Bag: 2009 will go down as the year of the “eco” if my e-mail is any indicator. Readers regularly mention things that are and are not eco-friendly. The Village Book falls into the not category, according to reader Constance Young, who says the community-based yellow page directory goes out to thousands of people, some of whom may not want the free publication. She would like the publishers of all directories to provide an “opt out” feature.
Animal Tales: I’m not a big fan of snakes, but I have to feel sorry for the serpent that slithered into Molly Blaisdell’s washer, recently. The family pet found itself in hot water, literally, when mom turned on the machine to clean a load of her son’s dirty clothes. Surviving not one, but two vigorous wash cycles, the corn snake was wrapped so tightly around the motor it had to be “charmed” to come out —— with phone guidance from the folks at the East Bay Vivarium.