Renowned Flintstone House Visit
RENOWNED FLINTSTONE HOUSE VISIT
BY Gerrye Wong August 2018
The new owner of the Hillsborough home people affectionately named the “Flintstone House”, Florence Fang surprises herself when she thinks of herself owning such a fantasy home. However, she tells us, remembering her childhood in Taiwan as difficult with no time for fun as she knew she had to bear down and work hard to be able to get an education, she thinks now of her buying the Flintstone house as her somehow capturing for the fun and frivolity she missed in her childhood.
Wanting to share the home with others, she recently donated a tour to the Chi Am Circle Club for its Scholarship Awards Program for 10 persons for Tour and Tea Time with her. Philanthropist Marcella Yano was the winning bidder bringing her friends to meet Mrs. Fang in the summer.
Florence greeted them, saying, “I actually bought it on a whimsy. I told my realtor to find me a small home but definitely wanted a view. Imagine my surprise when she brought me to see this odd-shaped home. Hesitantly walking in, immediately it caught my fancy.. It brought back memories of my TV fantasy watching with my children and of course, Fred Flintstone and Dino came to mind right away. I immediately imagined myself gazing out through the many windows at the beautiful scenery below and feeling at peace in these unique surroundings.” It’s been a fun and fanciful year of remodeling, enhancing and decorating the home, recalls Florence with a laugh.
Although not able to pursue education, or even to go to school to learn English after she immigrated to America from Taiwan, Mrs. Fang spent her early days raising three sons as a dutiful wife and mother. As she recalls, she learned what little English speaking skills working in her husband’s print shop but most of their customers were Chinese so her exposure was limited. But she self proclaims, “Now I think of myself as always a “street fighter” and made my own destiny. Enjoying the pleasure of buying this home for my own fancy is one of the blessings I can now experience after years of struggle all immigrants feel adjusting to a new life.”
After her husband passed away, she said she knew the family’s destiny was in her hands so she worked even harder on her English skills, and somehow found the business skills hidden in her for so long. She worked with her sons and became chairman for the Independent Newspaper Group, comprised of 14 local newspapers, managed the only English language newspaper for an Asia American readership called Asian Week. She successfully managed multiple businesses and thus was twice awarded the California Woman of the Year title in 1990 and 2003.
Now though, Florence definitely feels it is her time in life to fulfill her own dreams. Perhaps the Flintstone House is a fulfillment of her own childhood imagination, because it is definitely a home for someone with a love for the fantasy world for the house has so many features that are unique to itself. The architect obviously made it a place that takes one’s imagination flying with all of its unusually shaped stained glass windows, curving thick walls, and a beautiful curved kitchen glass counter completely held aloft through heavy cables strung from the ceiling. Think of one’s imagination flying in a sci-fi atmosphere when bathing in the shower area completely surrounded by natural shaped gray boulder walls. Florence says the most fun is climbing from the second floor bedroom onto the roof of the home and feeling a sense of freedom and flight standing above the scenery below.
Travelers who stream by on the busy 280 Highway below are now enjoying the fanciful sight of prehistoric animals surrounding this iconic strangely shaped Hillsborough home which has intrigued people since it first was seen in the 1980s. Florence even has the happy figures of Freddy Flintstone and Dino themselves adorning the front yard among a sea of unique cacti and mushroom sculptures. She herself is designing mosaic fish which will soon be seen floating in a simulated river pathway. Merging east meets west, she has tiny figures of Xian soldiers decorating the cement wall of her front yard.
Every item, including the brightly hued orange couch circling the sunken area living room, has been carefully selected by Florence since her purchase over a year ago. She has painstakingly searched in local shopping trips for unique items fitting in every nook and cranny imaginable which even make the home more of a fun place to visit. Think of any child’s face when upon entering, he is greeted by a child size smiling stuffed animal lion welcoming him to sit beside on the entry’s curved setee. Marcella Yano and her friends, among them Dr. Dennis and Aurora Low, had a fun time visiting in such a happy place. She said, “I want to make this home a place of whimsy to capture everyone especially children’s, imagination when they visit.” As the guests wandered among the dinosaurs in her garden, they were intrigued to learn more of the owner’s background.
An accomplishment Florence Fang is most proud of is having her Florence Fang Family Foundation found the “10,000 Strong Foundation”, an offshoot of President Obama’s initiative seeking to strengthen US-China relations through educational exchange and language learning. By July 2014, the 100,000 Strong Foundation reached its goal having 100,000 American students to China to study Mandarin. During China’s President state visit in 2015, both he and President Obama in the White House Rose Garden announced the 100,000 Strong Foundation has achieved goal so now aiming to bring 1 million American K-12 students to learn Mandarin in China by 2020 and renamed US-China Strong Foundation. Florence’s vision and leadership together with the Ford Foundation and her Florence Fang Family Foundation in 2013 was the force behind this whole project.
Chi Am Circle members serving the guests that day were Sharon Lai, Mary K Lim, Maelene Wong, Eva Wong, and Ginger Lai, who had prepared a lavish buffet reception. As the guests sat in the open dining rooms, they were able to look out on buy cars whizzing by on Highway 280 below and admire the Crystal Springs Dam and lake. Leaving this haven of whimsy and fun, the guests and hostesses marveled at this new wonder that the 280 passengers can view from their cars, and were appreciative of Fang’s generosity in sharing it for a charitable cause.
Florence Fang undoubtedly deserves to have a haven to relive her fantasies. Florence definitely has become a member of the Flintstone Family by continuing the fun-loving adventures and atmosphere children throughout the world saw in the program, and will continue to fulfill her own dreams in a new whimsical way through her new abode