Sparkling Inside and Out, a Glass House Shines in Menlo Park

  • Accessible Bathroom

    Accessible Bathroom

  • Glass House Entrance

    Glass House Entrance

  • Garden


There are houses made with glass, and then there's the Glass House in Menlo Park, CA. This sparkling home, designed by architect John Thodos in 2010, is on the market for a cool $8.5 million.

The cleverly constructed residence features entire walls and ceilings of structural glass, allowing light to pour into the home on four sides. While the engineering prowess of the property will surely tempt tech buyers, the listing has another, less obvious feature. "It's 100% accessible," Realtor Lyn Jason Cobb says.

The seller built the home for his wife, who used a wheelchair. Rather than go with off-the-shelf institutional devices, the design subtly incorporates solutions such as sleek grab bars in the bathroom and kitchen (the latter also holding towels). Hallways are extra wide, and surfaces and light switches are lowered. An elevator (as well as a staircase) connects the two floors.

"It's really warm and inviting," Cobb says. "It's so comfortable." The look is also jaw-dropping. Inspired by the Maison de Verre in Paris by Pierre Chareau, this modern home incorporates glass, steel, and wood, letting the outside in, while maintaining privacy for its inhabitants.

The eye-popping look begins outside with a front faade of glass blocks. Moving into the home's hallway, the sky looms overhead through a glass ceiling. From there, you enter a truly open-concept first floor with walls of glass. The 5,000-square-foot space has five bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms, living and dining rooms, a media room, an office, and a detached garage with an electric car hookup.

While you might think you'd need to buy Windex by the barrel to live here, Cobb says the glass in the house manages to stay fairly clean inside and out (that is, without children around), and also includes UV protection.

The thoughtful plan extends outside with a landscape that's "natural and seasonal, so the gardens are beautiful all year round," Cobb says. The gardens include seating areas surrounded by redwoods and Japanese maples.

When it was first built, the glass house was covered by SF Gate, which noted it was "architecturally stunning but practical and accommodating as well."

Now someone new can enjoy its fantastical yet functional features.