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Venture capitalist buys Butterfly House for $16.5M


Published: June 7, 2012

ONE OF Carmel’s most recognizable homes — named the “Butterfly House” for its distinctive curved roof — sold last week to venture capitalist Kevin Comolli for $16.5 million.

Located at 26320 Scenic Road, the three-bedroom, four-bath residence was designed and built in the early 1950s by architect Frank Wynkoop.

Perched on a rocky outcropping overlooking Point Lobos and Carmel Bay, the 3,041-square-foot home had been listed for $19.2 million by Carmel Realty, which described it as “one of only five true oceanfront properties in Carmel.”

The construction of the house, which was completed in 1952, caused quite a stir. Some believed it would fall into the ocean. Acquiring the steel columns and beams it needed during the Korean War also proved to be a challenge. Wynkoop eventually received a letter from President Dwight D. Eisenhower permitting him to use the steel. But he only owned his dream home for a brief time before money woes forced him to sell it.

Steven Kahn and his family owned it for more than half a century before Joe Walter bought the house in 2008. Before Walter purchased it for $9.3 million, then Vice President Dick Cheney was rumored to be its buyer.

Walter hired Wynkoop’s sons, Thor and Jay, to renovate the home. The brothers brought it up to date, adding a rectangular pool to its interior courtyard and other modern amenities.

Comolli works in the London office of Accel Partners, “a global venture and growth equity firm” committed to “helping exceptional entrepreneurs build lasting, category-defining technology companies.” The company — which also has an office in Palo Alto — lists Facebook, Spotify, Etsy and Walmart among its many clients.

Comolli joined Accel in 2000. According to his biography on the company’s website, he has been active in “international startups, general management and venture capital investing for 26 years.”

He is also listed as an active member of the World Economic Forum, a Swiss nonprofit foundation dedicated to “improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.”

Comolli graduated from Northwestern University in 1982 with a BS in Engineering. He received his MBA in 1987 from Harvard Business School.

A Google search did not turn up any links between Comolli and Carmel, although the reasons why he wanted to buy the house are probably self evident. He did not respond to questions from The Pine Cone about his new home.