Take a Trolley All the Way Home

This Bay Area 3-bedroom has its own private cable car to take you up, up and away from it all.

Tramway to Heaven

Photo Courtesy of Mary Kay Yamamoto The tram ride, says Leslie Decker, is "where I have my coffee in the morning, and where I decompress on the way home." 

John Kapelowitz had been a contractor for years when he decided to build his dream house. In the late '80s, he and his wife, Leslie Decker, bought a lot on a quiet cul-de-sac in San Anselmo, about 45 minutes north of San Francisco in Marin County, with a much-coveted view of Mount Tam.

There was just one teeny little problem. It was on a hill so steep, building a driveway would cost as much as building a house, and they weren't about to do both.

So they did the only logical thing: They built and installed a tram from the two-car garage up to the site of the house, which was a nice, flat rise perfect for a home. The tram dutifully hauled every bit of building material up the 100-foot rise, then every bit of furniture and, finally, every guest the Kapelowitzes invited over.

Oh, you heard me right: There's no path. There's no driveway. The five-minute tram ride is the only route up to the house. At the top, there's a winch powered by an electric motor and a control station — the same principle as a ski lift. An additional control station sits at the bottom, and there's a remote control inside the house. The tram, painted to look like a San Francisco cable car, is 6 feet tall, 6 feet long and 3 feet wide, and holds 2,000 pounds, but the top pops off to reveal a flatbed if you need to haul up a grand piano.

The property has 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms (2 are full), a solar water heater and a view so spectacular you could plotz; it's priced at $1.2M.


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