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Flying Mane Road: Above the Clouds

Dr. Godfrey Pernell, who would serve multiple terms as mayor of Rolling Hills, and his wife Beverly purchased Flying Mane Road, the approximately 1.16-acre property in 1950 after being driven to the remote site, where they paced off the lot lines of their forever home.

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Flying Mane Road An Authentic Mid-century Home Sits Amid Unparalleled Ocean Views—among the Highest on Palos Verdes Peninsula

Ascend up the verdant hills of picturesque Crest Drive and near its highest point, turn onto Flying Mane Road, a quiet cul-de-sac street found in the leafy gated community of Rolling Hills on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. The gentle air and majestic mix of blue sky, ocean, and abundant green landscape create an atmosphere of calm—a feeling that builds as you turn into the driveway at the end of the street, and see a crisp white home set against a lush lawn.

This is reported to be the highest-elevation single-family residence on the Peninsula; a place where an authentic Mid-Century home has been sculpted to embrace this unique setting—so high it’s above the fog line. The longtime home of Dr. Godfrey Pernell and his family, the three-bedroom and two-bathroom custom residence—warmly, earthily elegant—was completed back in 1954.

Approximately 2,427 square feet, the residence was designed by local architect John Richard Shelley, whose signature was Mid-Century Modernism, and whose neatly executed works in this style included the exclusive Long Beach Petroleum Club and the Hyatt House Hotel at San Francisco Airport. John Richard Shelley’s work was prolific as a resort developer as well, with projects that included the first hotel in Wailea (Maui), and the Nusa Dua resort area of Bali.

Given this, perhaps it makes perfect sense how keenly John Richard Shelley’s design follows the land to optimize the striking natural panorama that surrounds the home. An open floorplan and generous amounts of glass are used to bathe public spaces in ocean views and natural light: the kitchen and large island are adjacent to the dining room and a stone-fireplaced family room—all of these made even more uplifting by a soaring vaulted ceiling with exposed wood beams. In the formal living room, a separate space with a curved silhouette that’s dressed with a custom, circular couch, you can entertain guests amid scenes of both the ocean and city, with the lights of Downtown Los Angeles twinkling after dark.

“The Mid-Century feel shines from the moment you open the front door,” says real estate agent Liz Gallucci Bird of Vista Sotheby’s International Realty.

Even moments before, when a walkway and the exterior facade of grey and beige limestone (authentic Palos Verdes Stone) greet your arrival. 

During its 70-year history, the property has been home to only one family. The home has been thoughtfully restored during the last year and making sure to keep many prized Mid-Century features intact. There are glossy cork floors and sculptural chandeliers, as well as a bounty of custom millwork, like the honey-hued paneled wall that discreetly hides a collection of built-in cabinets and a pull-out desk. Bathrooms were upgraded with fresh tiles that aesthetically complement the home’s vintage.

“Everything we did was to maintain the integrity of the original vision,” points out Liz Gallucci Bird.

Step onto the minimalist wood deck, which feels like an extension of the family room, and where you can imagine spending many hours watching the sky, clouds, and sea shift in hue and mood.

“You look out to Catalina and Avalon Bay, around Portuguese Bend, and up to Abalone Cove,” says Liz Gallucci Bird of the vista.

“There are so many gorgeous view properties in Rolling Hills, but I have never experienced anything this high up. You stand above the fog line and see the clouds sitting below you. It defies your mind of what is possible with an ocean view.”

Gifted with a one-of-a-kind vantage point due to its superb position on the Peninsula, the entire acre-plus lot has been dressed and looked after with care. There are fruit trees and green palm fronds wafting about. A garden of exotic cacti—which were tended faithfully by Dr. Godfrey Pernell—is situated alongside the house.

When wandering the peaceful property, you can head down the sloping hillside towards the ocean to reach the cozy barn, which is conveniently equipped with a bonus room. Even the front of the house is a neatly landscaped scene of old-growth California trees casting shadows over a thick lawn of green grass.

“Life behind the gates—it’s as good as it gets,” describes Liz Gallucci Bird. “People move here for the privacy and for the connection to nature.”

Though Rolling Hills occupies a realm of its own, with its spacious, sun-splashed ranches and miles of peaceful hiking and horseback trails, it’s surprisingly accessible to the world outside its charmed gates. Grocery stores, golf, and dining are a 10- or 15-minute drive from the property; as is the 110 Freeway and lifestyle destinations like Terranea Resort and Trump National Golf Club.

Back home on Flying Mane Road, you’re in a world of your own, sitting high above the clouds and surrounded by the same stunning, unbound scenes of natural beauty that first greeted Dr. Godfrey Pernell and his wife all those years ago.

Liz Gallucci Bird | 310.975.4760 | DRE# 01998069
Liz Bird Fine Homes | Vista Sotheby’s International Realty
List Price: $3,900,000

Photography by Paul Jonason

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