Bing Crosby’s former estate hits the market for $13.75 million

Wealth


The 3 acre Northern California estate where “White Christmas” crooner Bing Crosby and his family once lived has just hit the market for $13.75 million.

Exterior of 101 Robin Road, Hillsborough, CA

Dennis Mayer | OMARSHALL Real Estate

Built in 1930, the English Tudor-style residence is just under 10,000 square feet with 10 bedrooms and 10.5 bathrooms and a heated swimming pool out back.

The mega-home is located in the affluent San Francisco suburb of Hillsborough. According to OMarshall Real Estate listing agent Joey Oliva, Crosby and his family owned the home from 1963 to 1966.

Bing Crosby in Hillsborough by Norton Pearl, 1965

Norton Pearl Photography | SAN MATEO COUNTY HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION

“As the story goes, Bing had just finished a round of golf in Hillsborough when he was approached by the original owners and spontaneously invited to see the home,” Oliva told CNBC. “As soon as Bing saw the grand foyer with the wide oak staircase and glass lead picture window … he bought it on the spot.”

Take a look inside

Foyer

Dennis Mayer | OMARSHALL Real Estate

According to the listing agent, Crosby bought the home from its original owners — the Dyer family — one of the initial investors in Eastman Kodak Co. At the time, Crosby reportedly paid $175,000 for the residence (just under $1.5 million in today’s dollars.) After Crosby, the Millers (Folgers family) owned the home and later sold it to the Roche family for $8 million in 2014, according to public records.

Foyer

Dennis Mayer | OMARSHALL Real Estate

“It was a visceral reaction,” current owner Suzanne Roche said, recalling the time she first stepped inside the 9,875 square foot residence. “I walked in (the same as Bing apparently did) and stood in the foyer and fell in love with it immediately.”

The living room is a ballroom with a grand piano, fireplace and three sets of French doors that open to a terrace.

Living room

Dennis Mayer | OMARSHALL Real Estate

Roche is executive director of the nonprofit Jazz at the Ballroom, which according to the organization’s website, works “with the world’s most talented jazz musicians in intimate and unique settings and focus[es] on the Great American Songbook.”

“Ms. Roche felt bringing the American songbook back to her ballroom and grounds was important in paying homage to the spirit of Bing Crosby,” the home’s listing agent says.

Living room

Dennis Mayer | OMARSHALL Real Estate

One of the walls in the ballroom has a secret door that blends in into the wood paneling.

Secret door in living room blends in with the wood paneling

Joey Oliva | OMARSHALL Real Estate

It opens to reveal what the owners refer to as a “speakeasy” — a room with a bench, windows and a bar cart.

A secret door in the living room opens into a bar room.

Dennis Mayer | OMARSHALL Real Estate

“Visitors are surprised to find such a secret alcove where one can enjoy scotch in private,” Oliva said.

Dining room

Dennis Mayer | OMARSHALL Real Estate

Steps away is the home’s formal dining room, which opens to a terrace and lawn.

Kitchen

Dennis Mayer | OMARSHALL Real Estate

According to the listing, there was a major remodel in 2014, including the kitchen, pantry, mud room, laundry room and bathrooms.

Primary bedroom

Dennis Mayer | OMARSHALL Real Estate

The home’s primary bedroom suite is located on the second floor.

Bathroom

Dennis Mayer / OMARSHALL Real Estate

It has two full bathrooms, a walk-in closet and windows that overlook the gardens.

Walk-in closet

Dennis Mayer | OMARSHALL Real Estate

Remnants of the past

There were even some items the Crosby family left behind when the current owner moved in.

Library

Dennis Mayer | OMARSHALL Real Estate

“Lots of little household things,” Roche said. “But the best were old records in a hidden cabinet and the framed picture of the home that the Crosbys’ friend drew for them. They used it as a Christmas card that year.”

Crosby family Christmas card

Suzanne Roche

The linen closet still has the labels for Mr. & Mrs. Crosby’s blankets.

The home’s linen closet shows labels for Mr. & Mrs. Crosby’s blankets

Joey Olivia | OMARSHALL Real Estate

“The backyard is where Bing used to relax, and the original owners told me it was where everyone met every evening for a cocktail before dinner,” Roche said.

It’s also the current owner’s favorite spot of the house, where she has hosted large gatherings and private concerts.

Why they’re selling

“Post-divorce, the house is just too much for one person,” Roche said. “It requires a lot of attention, time and upkeep.”

As for who she hopes will buy the property: “Someone creative, quirky, and provocative … who will turn it into an artists’ colony!”

CNBC Real Estate

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