Google CFO Buys Historic Palo Alto Home for $30 Million

Google’s new CFO, Ruth Porat, now owns of one of Palo Alto’s most historic homes, purchased for a record-setting $30 million.

Though born in England, Porat is no stranger to Palo Alto. During her youth, she moved with her family to Palo Alto where her father worked for over a quarter century at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. Ruth is also a graduate of Stanford University and currently serves on its board of trustees as its Vice Chairperson.

Located at 1950 Cowper Street and designed by “Palo Alto’s best-loved architect,” Birge Clark, the Colonial Revival residence was built in 1932 for Lucie Stern, a descendant of Levi Strauss. The home has been beautifully maintained and the tile and wrought iron embellishments are representative of its Colonial Revival style. Colonial Revival is a blend of uniquely American design aspects characterized by classic, understated and distinguished construction and timeless features.

Birge Clark and Lucie Stern developed a longstanding relationship during the design and construction of the two homes at 1950 and 1990 Cowper Street. Lucie had one built for herself and one for her daughter. Clark was also one of Palo Alto’s chief architects, constructing hundreds of buildings within the town’s borders as well as on the Stanford University campus. Renown for his California Colonial Revival style, Clark considered Mrs. Stern’s house at 1990 Cowper Street to be “one of his best” and an “ideal solution for a one-story California Colonial house.”

The 4,271 square foot, 3 bedroom house last sold in 1978 for $1 million but hasn’t been occupied for quite some time. According to the Palo Alto Daily Post, this $30 million purchase marks the largest real estate transaction in Palo Alto. Porat ranks as #26 on Fortune’s list of Most Powerful Women and though she wasn’t included on the list of the highest paid women due to her recent Google career move, she ranks right up there with Apple’s Angela Ahrendts who sits in the #16 spot.

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