the value of a 17,000-square-foot masterwork by a great California architect

The New York Times: In Silicon Valley, Tear-Down Interrupted in which Preservationists dispute Steve Jobs' Impeccable Taste.

In this affluent community west of Palo Alto — where bridle paths wend their way to hitching posts at grocery stores stocked with $800 bottles of burgundy — the woodsy rural life, or a semblance of one, is valued above all. The debate over the Jackling estate has pitted preservationists from Woodside and beyond against those, like Mr. Jobs and many property owners here, who argue that a man's home is his castle and if the castle happens to be an outdated white elephant its fate should be his to determine. Historians say the house qualifies for the California Register of Historic Resources and therefore merits protection under the state's Environmental Quality Act. "It's a significant house and it can continue to serve the community," said Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. "It's symptomatic of a discard society. He ought to buy another lot."

"It was never really a very interesting house to start with," Mr. Jobs, who lived in the house for ten years, explained to the commissioners. "So I think I could build something far, far nicer and far more historically interesting down the road."

At a Web site,, Andy Hertzfeld, one of the original Macintosh designers, describes visiting Mr. Jobs in the house in June 1985: "We knocked on the door and waited a few minutes before Steve appeared and led us inside. The massive house was almost completely unfurnished, and our footsteps echoed eerily as he led us to a larger room near the kitchen, with a long table, one of the few rooms that had any furniture."

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