Tucked into a grove of heritage redwoods in the heart of Mill Valley lies the sweetest Victorian home you've ever seen—all white picket fence and trim with a front porch and swing. Walking past it, you'd likely never imagine that this historic abode is home to one of the most powerful women in tech.
"No one would even know we're here," says Tina Sharkey, a venture partner at San Francisco-based Sherpa Capital (whose portfolio includes some companies you may have heard—like Uber, Munchery, and Slack) and former CEO of Sherpa Foundry, a startup incubator of sorts. Before landing at Union Square's Sherpa, Sharkey has racked up bona fides from the Silicon Valley to Manhattan as the founder of iVillage, chairman of BabyCenter, and lead on the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA)—a Johnson & Johnson's initiative with the U.S. State Department and the United Nations. She's also a founding board member of Brit & Co. You get the picture.
"We can walk everywhere—we feel like we're a real part of the community," Sharkey says of her new post in downtown Mill Valley, where she and her family have lived since early 2015 when the classic 19th Century bungalow—loaded with period details but fully modernized and significantly expanded by Mill Valley's own Richardson Architects—surfaced on the market.
Originally just 1,700 square feet, the 1890 home fell into the hands of architect Heidi Richardson, thanks to a commission from the previous owners, and Richardson's firm took on what became a true feat of historic renovation, mounting hurdles both stylistic and bureaucratic. The house's official status as a Mill Valley Historic Residence allowed for very little exterior alteration and, of course, the giant redwoods towering over the property had to remain untouched. The solution? A low-profile suite of new pavilions, clearly separated from the original structure by a flat-roofed hallway, that would preserve all historic windows and most of the existing siding.
The trees "dictated the layout of the new additions," Richardson says, taking obvious pleasure in the challenge. "It's a puzzle I enjoy. While fitting together all the pieces of a historic renovation is very challenging, the Bay Area's relaxed indoor-outdoor living allows for a lot of design flexibility."
In fact, Sharkey's finished home is a beautiful example of flexibility, easily marrying the whimsical scalloped shingles and très élégant crown molding of the original Victorian style with modern, fully livable interiors.
It's all working for Sharkey: "I love my front porch and swing, and we added an outdoor heater—it's a wonderful spot to dine and hang," she says. Add us to the next dinner party guest list, please!
Here are the details:
Location: Downtown Mill Valley
Sale Price: $3,400,000
Beds: 4 bedrooms
Bath: 3 bathrooms
Square Footage: 3,061 sq ft.
Year Built: 1890