When Baron Steinbrecher attained his real estate license in 2012, his first order of business was to find and purchase a property that he could re-develop and sell. His prayers were answered when he walked into a broker’s open for an architectural home set in Beverly Hills, at the coveted Trousdale Estates neighborhood.
Feeling special energy about the house, he quickly pulled together some investors, purchased it, and two years later sold the fully renovated residence for a record price on the street of $12.9 million. Today, the reimagined abode is once again on the market, complete with distinguished details including high-end finishes, a seamless indoor-outdoor flow, and jaw-dropping vistas.
“The most amazing thing about the property is that possesses the complete package,” says Steinbrecher, who is co-listing the home with Mauricio Umansky, both of The Agency, for $15.8 million.
“It’s private, set back from the street with a large driveway, and although it’s modern, the Mid-century architectural integrity remained intact. The floor plan is open but also flexible with all the pocket doors, and the rooms all have great volume and space that overlook the incredible city and ocean views.”
Found at 521 Chalette Drive—behind gates on one of Trousdale’s most coveted thoroughfares—the four-bedroom, five-bath dwelling was completed (using some existing foundation) by architect Christ Light of C.J. Light Associates and Gordon Gibson Construction.
Expect 5,638 square feet of sexy, Josh Brown-designed living space on a single level highlighted by a soaring, open great room with a Portoro marble fireplace, and a dining area lined with Fleetwood walls of glass that open to attractive grounds spotlighting grassy lawns, a zero-edge infinity pool with floating spa and cabana with a fire feature.
Yet other standout attributes a professional chef’s kitchen with Calacatta gold counters and backsplash; plush screening room; and a spacious master suite and spa-like bath offering direct access to a private patio and pool terrace.
“This property perfectly blends the authentic, Mid-century Trousdale Estates vibe with a modern but timeless design,” says Steinbrecher. “There is a special energy people feel when they walk through the door that is only magnified by the incredible views.”
Baron Steinbrecher and Mauricio Umansky of The Agency
PHOTOGRAPHS: COURTESY OF THE AGENCY
A company tied to Vancouver Canucks co-owner Francesco Aquilini is selling a revamped 1950’s Mid-century Trousdale Estates home for $17.995 million.
According to Mansion Global, the single-story, four-bedroom residence has been transformed into a luxe contemporary mansion during the past two years and is listed with Rayni Williams and Branden Williams of the Williams & Williams Estates Group at Hilton & Hyland.
Expect a gated entrance leading to a motor court and glass front doors that open to provide expansive views across the spacious open-floor plan that features a wall-to-wall marble fireplace in the living room and floor-to-ceiling sliding glass that opens to the pool and backyard.
Among the highlights: a kitchen with a sleek white redesign boasting slab stone countertops and backsplashes; an updated master suite including contemporary finishes in a large en-suite bath that opens to a shielded patio area; a climate-controlled wine room; bar; and all-new technology, including a Sonos audio system and new security cameras.
The home’s iconic architectural element? A cantilevered ceiling in the main living room that carries through to the back of the house to create a unique pleated roofline.
Photographs Provided By The Williams & Williams Estates Group
Written by Abigail Stone | Photographs by Paul Jonason
Trousdale Estates, just up from the Soho House, is one of the city’s most desirable neighborhoods. Veer right onto Doheny Road and the hustle and bustle of Sunset Boulevard quickly fades in favor of the area’s rolling hills and serene roads. Mature trees nod to the neighborhood’s origin as part of Greystone Mansion grounds. Balancing privacy with accessibility, it’s no wonder that some of Hollywood’s most legendary names—Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Tony Curtis—have called these streets home. Its mandated height restrictions ensure backyards with unobstructed views. Located in a city that now stretches from seaside Malibu to urbane Downtown and over to the Valley, and within easy driving distance of Beverly Hills’ world-class shopping and multi-starred restaurants, this part of the 90210 is in the center of it all.
Situated at the end of a cul de sac, 335 Trousdale Place is located on one of the area’s highest points, which becomes clear the moment you pass through the teak gates echoed in the home’s monumental front door. Even before stepping inside, you glimpse the stunning view through this glass front. It seems to offer the whole city in one inspiring scene. From Downtown to the ocean to the Getty Center, here is the sight of Los Angeles at its most mesmerizing, pulling you through the house toward the backyard.
“There’s a reason why Trousdale is the highest price per square foot in the city; seamless indoor-outdoor, organic, modern Beverly Hills living,” says Branden Williams of Hilton & Hyland, who is listing the luxury estate for $27.5 million. This 270-degree panorama has stiff competition in the home itself. In an enclave that boasts architecturally important houses by such famous architects as Wallace Neff, Paul R. Williams, A. Quincy Jones and Frank Lloyd Wright, this organic modern home, with its sleek, low profile, more than holds its own.
Steps lead down from the home’s front hallway into its elegant living room. Here, inviting, sensual furniture—a sinuous boomerang sofa, modeled after those designed by Adrian Pearsall, and velvet barrel chairs clustered around a fireplace set into a show-stopping marble wall on one side, with fur-covered armchairs grouped with a long leather couch on the other—created expressly for the home, exude glamour.
At night, the city lights create a dramatic background for cocktails, while the highly polished built-in teak wood bar puts everything close at hand. But, of course, it’s all about the view that forms the focal point of every room, from the dining room, where a live edge table for 10 sits under a shimmering modern crystal chandelier, to the kitchen with a breakfast table under another stunning light fixture, to the master bedroom featuring bronze details that catch the sun’s rays, to the master bathroom, where you can enjoy daylight along with a steam shower. Where else in the world, apart from Southern California, can you truly maximize the singular pleasures of indoor/outdoor living?
All are accounted for here: early morning laps; a post-dinner turn in the hot tub; a glass of wine at sunset; a nap in the outdoor guest house featuring sliding glass Sky-Frame doors to welcome in the sunshine. Such is the benefit of Los Angeles’ temperate climate, of which this house takes full advantage.
The house also reaps the aesthetic rewards of the exquisite materials used throughout: gold-veined marble in the guest bathroom, a rich millennial velvet channel headboard in the master bedroom, a living wall in the guest house. Complementing these elements are the home’s top-of-the-line kitchen appliances from Wolf, Miele and Sub-Zero, and state-of-the-art accessories including an oversized television and vintage Italian touch lamps in the media room, not to mention a sumptuous fur rug and a gleaming brass desk in the office, all luxuries befitting a property of this caliber that’s move-in ready.
With a roomy, fully-finished three-car garage that can be easily outfitted to hold three additional show cars, and a generous motor court able to accommodate almost a half dozen more, as well as plenty of street parking, this showpiece estate is one to share with friends. And with five bedrooms, there’s plenty of room for guests. Invite them at will, just know that it’s likely they’ll stay a while.
PRESENTED BY BRANDEN WILLIAMS AND RAYNI WILLIAMS
OF HILTON & HYLAND
LIST PRICE $27,500,000
Once home to actors Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe, this Gerard R. Colcord-designed estate at 1524 Stone Canyon Road in Bel-Air now is on the market for $15.999 million. Expect almost 9,000 square feet of charming Medieval-style living space boasting four bedrooms (most notably, a spacious master wing featuring a sitting room and wet bar); a great room with a soaring pitched ceiling and brick fireplace with built-in seating; and a media room. Among the home’s standout features: “I would say the dramatic high ceilings and exposed beams in the great room and master bedroom that are a Colcord signature,” says Tim Mullin, who is co-listing the property with Rick Ojeda and Nick Segal, all of Partners Trust. Rounding out this home’s special appeal is a guest house and park-like grounds replete with a sprawling terrace, full barbecue, pool and spa, and canyon and hillside views.
Jane Fonda and Richard Perry’s gated Beverly Hills estate is available for $9.995 million, listed by Jade Mills of Coldwell Banker Global Luxury. Found at 1575 Carla Ridge—in coveted Trousdale Estates—the four-bedroom residence boasts 7,000-plus square feet of open, eco-conscious living space on two levels, complete with walls of glass, vaulted ceilings, photovoltaic electric panels, bamboo flooring and a stunning glass elevator. Outside, the 36,272-square-foot lot offers a resort-like setting showcased by covered and open patios, a solar heated pool, viewing pavilion with fire pit and meditation garden with fountain—all with breathtaking canyon and ocean vistas.
Always wished you could live like the Kennedys—complete with your very own collection of homes where you can while away the days playing tennis or head to the nearby resort for a round of golf? Not to mention the resort-style grounds and breathtaking views of the Santa Rosa Mountains. Now’s your chance with this five-home Coachella Valley compound that has hit the market for the first time ever for $5.5 million.
Situated on a 1.83-acre parcel at 49200 Avenida El Nido in La Quinta—within the gates of the exclusive La Quinta Country Club—the residential complex was built more than 40 years ago as a desert getaway by Lloyd’s of London exec Bud Buettner and features a quintet of fully furnished residences boasting more than 11,000 square feet of living space (including 14 bedrooms and 13 baths). Affectionately known as the “Tennis Oasis,” the property is highlighted by a lighted, regulation-sized court where the owner would vie against the likes of tennis pro Jack Kramer, NFL Coach Chuck Knox and USC’s Pat Haden.
Other high points include a welcoming pool and spa; an outdoor kitchen with a built-in barbecue; a large playing lawn ideal for a game of croquet; and a wealth of citrus and palm trees. Also notable is the design of the homes, which was largely completed by noted Palm Springs interior designer and artist Donald Lloyd Smith (who worked on Liberace’s nest and many high-end resorts). Smith’s artwork even can be seen gracing the walls of each abode. The entire property is listed by Jeff, Vicky and Kevin Botsford with Partners Trust, and Kathy and Charlie Coulter of Coulter & Assoc.
photos courtesy of Robert Caldwell and Jason Speth
Aaron Kirman of John Aaroe Group has sold the former Beverly Hills estate of late comedian and philanthropist Danny Thomas for $65 million. Situated at 1187 N. Hillcrest Road—on a 2.5-acre promontory in the sought-after Beverly Hills community of Trousdale Estates—the palatial seven-bedroom, 10-bath property features 18,000 square feet of living space.
Highlights of the Moorish-inspired residence include sweeping 360-degree views of the entire L.A. basin and the ultimate in designer details (including $2.5 million in Baccarat chandeliers, gold-leaf crown molded ceilings and hand-woven carpets), along with a ballroom, media room, and opulent dining and living rooms.
As for the private grounds, they are showcased by a pool, along with dining and viewing pavilions ideal for entertaining and enjoying the city scenery. Rounding out the property’s special appeal is a motor court with parking for 20 automobiles.
photos courtesy of Simon Berlyn Photography
A gated Colonial mansion belonging to film producer Anton Lessine—son of Mikhail Lesin, Russia’s former minister of media and mass communications—has been listed by Aaron Kirman and Neyshia Go of John Aaroe Group for $29 million. Found at 10 Beverly Park—along a ridge line on more than 4 acres in the exclusive guard-gated community—the residence boasts 13,500-plus square feet of living space exhibiting opulent design details including parquet flooring, and imported marble and hand-carved woodwork.
Among the show-stopping amenities: seven bedrooms (including a master suite with his-and-her closets and bathrooms, plus a separate sitting room with stunning canyon and city views); a gourmet chef’s kitchen with a large walk-in pantry; a 16-seat movie theater; a gym with sauna and steam room; a billiards room; and luxe grounds complete with a pool and gazebo, as well as a collection of intimate gardens.
photos courtesy of Matthew Momberger
Travis Barker of Blink-182 fame has placed his contemporary Cheviot Hills residence on the market for $4.75 million. Found at 2706 Club Drive—just south of Century City—the custom-built, two-level home features more than 4,000 square feet of living space highlighted by cutting-edge design.
Included are four bedrooms (most notably, the stylish master suite with three walk-in closets and a bath sporting ceramic and walnut finishes and a built-in vanity), along with a living room that features 13-foot ceilings and 10-foot-tall windows; an open-plan kitchen with a lengthy island that extends to an outdoor terrace via retractable walls of glass; a media lounge; an al fresco dining area with built-in barbecue; and a heated saltwater pool. Steve Frankel of Coldwell Banker is the listing agent.
photos courtesy of Jeff Ong for exteriors, Berlyn for interiors
Singer-songwriter Neil Diamond has purchased a Malibu retreat at 33330 Pacific Coast Highway for $7.25 million. Situated in the Encinal Bluffs community—in a private cove overlooking the beach—soaring ceilings and walls of glass easily capture the stunning coastline views.
“The scale and volume of the home is very impressive, which allows for lots of natural light and amazing ocean views from almost every room,” says Sandro Dazzan, who co-listed the home with Irene Dazzan-Palmer, both of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.
“The most special part of the property is the access to one of the most secluded and private coves in all of Malibu.”
Featuring more than 4,000 square feet of open living space, the five-bedroom, seven-bath property offers a massive great room, a gourmet chef’s kitchen and a master suite with dramatic ocean views, along with an office, gym and sauna. Outdoors, one will find an infinity pool and spa, barbecue area and direct beach access.
photos courtesy of Simon Berlyn Photography
Written by Jenn Thornton | Photography Courtesy of Trousdale Estates by Steven M. Price
With 535 homes scattered across some of the most storied sites in Beverly Hills, tony Trousdale Estates is as bright a star as the luminaries who have famously called it home. And what homes—imperious places with square footage and city views to spare. Featuring museum-quality architecture from some of the most celebrated names of their day—from Wallace Neff and A. Quincy Jones to Cliff May and Lloyd Wright— Trousdale Estates represents social prestige on an unprecedented scale.
To own a trophy home here was—and still is today—to arrive in the most glamorous fashion one could possibly conceive.
The one who actually did, though, was Paul Whitney Trousdale, a prolific developer steeped in Southern California real estate, whose outsize ambitions resulted in an ever-increasing number of aspiring projects all the way to Hawaii.
He saw the promise, envisioned the place where he, too, would eventually commission a home. Although in some ways obsessed with his place in the establishment, Trousdale was progressive in matters of business, which he proved in 1954, negotiating a deal for 410 acres of Doheny Ranch land above Beverly Hills that, with a miracle of engineering, he would help transform into the dream development that bears his name and his imprint.
Trousdale Estates did not just proclaim exclusivity—it enforced it.
Building codes were strict (home plans had to be approved by a master architect) and residents were high-powered. Its tagline promising “life above it all” was more shout than insinuation: Trousdale is the place for the elite went the thinking. Dinah Shore and Groucho Marx bought lots. Moguls moved in. By the 1960s, Trousdale’s roster of residents included Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon.
With pedigree nonpareil, Trousdale homes were starchitected showpieces where everything was bigger, grander—the marble gleamed, front doors stretched to the heavens, pools had sex appeal.
Still synonymous with the city’s rich and powerful, the Trousdale Estates of today signifies more than mere flash—no longer is it just that brash social experiment lording over all in Beverly Hills. Despite a number of teardowns in recent years, the development is getting its due as a significant architectural record via the forthcoming new book, Trousdale Estates: Midcentury to Modern in Beverly Hills, which details the enclave’s history down to the studs and is certain to appeal to the whole new generation of midcentury enthusiasts recognizing Trousdale as incubating some of the finest of architecture from the period.
On the eve of the book’s release this January, author and preservation consultant Steven M. Price reflects on the most exclusive luxury community in Los Angeles.
Of all the architecture in L.A., what compelled you to write a book about Trousdale Estates and how long did it take?
Honestly, it took me 40 years. But I thought, Trousdale started coming back around the year 2000 and I grew up studying its architecture; so in 2008, when nobody had written a book about it, I said to myself, I’ll do it as a hobby! Then it kind took over my life.
Given Trousdale’s history, did the fact that so little was written about it surprise you?
It did and it didn’t. Trousdale was becoming fashionable and pricey again; that’s usually enough for people to get interested in looking at the architecture, but I’m actually very proud to have put together the pieces to show just how many great L.A. architects were called on to build there in the ‘50s and ‘60s—and it was almost all of them, just a great concentration of big names in midcentury architecture.
One of the precepts of Trousdale was that its homes be designed by architects.
So the wealthy went to the best there were; old lions like Wallace Neff and Paul Revere Williams and James Dolena; new ones like A. Quincy Jones or Hal Levitt and Lloyd Wright. So I kept finding a Wallace Neff, a Cliff May, an A. Quincy Jones in Architectural Digest or other places, and began to put it together casually. When it became kind of a collection, I thought, I need to run with this, so I did.
The book also looks at social architecture of a city. Describe the social construct of Beverly Hills during the time that Trousdale Estates was conceived.
The backdrop is Southern Californian in the postwar era, full of growth and promise, a lot of optimism. It was a time of the Case Study House program, which showed the world how California lived. Those lessons were taken and expanded on by a lot of well-off Californians and developers. But if the California life was good in L.A., it was even bigger and better in Beverly Hills. Everything had to be bigger. I think a lot of people followed the Groucho Marx model.
He had lived in the flats of Beverly Hills, which is a somewhat conservative—architecturally, anyway— area. His brother Harpo lived there very comfortably all his life, but Groucho wanted to be free of it, so as this brand-new shiny development is going up above Beverly Hills, he decides to go there. He’s indicative of others who felt uncomfortable in traditional homes in the flats; they wanted to go to Trousdale to show their wealth, their power, their achievements—and they did. Self-made people who had made fortunes in their lifetimes wanted to reward themselves.
You write in the book that Trousdale was “long dismissed and derided as being all flash and no substance,” a notion that top L.A. architects helped dispel. Will you elaborate?
Architects followed clients, and clients followed fashion; they followed the news and what their neighbors were doing, and they followed, even then, celebrity culture, which was also a factor. Paul Trousdale wanted celebrities in his brand-new colony to publicize it and to make it desirable for other people, so when Dinah Shore moved in, when Groucho Marx moved in, when Barbara Stanwyck moved in, when Janet Gaynor moved in, all were very influential in having successful people want to be there and build there.
I think it’s attacked for its flash because, even though the homes were modern, they weren’t stripped-down modern. Trousdale has always been about excess and filling rooms with stuff, not trimmed-down living. It’s about absolutely everything.
I was surprised to learn about the number of Trousdale’s strict architectural codes during the early years—single-story homes with a minimum of 3,000 square feet to protect the views, for example. How did these restrictions evolve?
Some were relaxed in the 1980s. The change really was when the world moved away from modernism and remakes and historical styles started, especially down in the flats, where you see a kind of mishmash of French and Spanish and Italian style all together in one house. The changes were more stylistic.
Let’s talk about the teardowns at Trousdale. Is the practice common?
It unfortunately is. When I first started this, there were maybe 10 teardowns a year; now there’s probably 20 to 40. It’s hard because the lots are so valuable. Somebody can buy a house—5,000 to 7,000 square feet is now considered too small, by the way—but if the house has a view, no matter the architectural provenance, it may well be a goner.
Where do preservation efforts stand?
There are people who believe in restoring and loving great houses, but for the most part, it is about building anew at Trousdale, which, in a way, it always has been. At first I thought that Paul Trousdale would be horrified by what was happening, and then I realized that, no, he actually would be very proud that what he built still has pizazz and attraction and is commanding top dollar.
But, you know, there are mechanisms in place, like the Beverly Hills Preservation Ordinance, which mandates that very notable houses be reviewed before they are altered or destroyed. We’re hoping to have one landmarked soon.
Let’s talk more about Paul Trousdale. Why was he able to negotiate the land deal for Trousdale opposed to another?
I think it was his earlier ambitions, track record and just asking for it—he knew how to do it. And he probably got there first; he was incredibly well connected. His progression of land deals got bigger and bigger, so he was one of the few who really knew how to do it, especially in difficult terrain.
When you have the San Fernando Valley, which is flat, or Torrance, which is flat, it’s easier to sub-divide, but he had to actually move mountains to make it happen, and not a lot of people had that experience.
Of all the amazing architecture in Trousdale Estates, which house do you feel is most deserving of “icon” status?
I probably have 10 favorites of every style. There’s Greek temple style, which defined the Caesar’s Palace era at Trousdale, but then there’s Ranch-style Trousdale, Hawaiian-Tropic-style and Hollywood Regency Trousdale—that was a very big thing in the ‘60s. Paul Trousdale himself had a home by Hollywood Regency godfather John Elgin Woolf, who was not thought to be a modernist, but actually did apply classic themes in modernist ways.
How many architectural styles are there at Trousdale?
Well, apart from the styles you expect—Post-and-Beam, Tropic-Modern, Greco-Roman Temple, or Neo-Formalist—Trousdale created a language of its own. Architects like Hal Levitt really came to define a new look for living, in that the most evocative homes often don’t really look like houses at all. They resemble museums, or banks, or country clubs, and I think that’s what the iconic Trousdale house is: cool, flat ceilinged and sculpted.
What features of Trousdale architecture support its aura of exclusivity and social achievement?
The first thing I think announced that in the early era was the application of marble on columns outside, and very tall double front doors. [Architect] Paul Williams said that you can tell the quality of a house by the height of its front doors; so they took that literally. The expanse of the carport—not garage, but carport—so that cars could be shown off to people driving by. They weren’t hidden away. In the back was always the pool, which you couldn’t see from the street but you knew was there.
The book also explores how Trousdale architecture responds to the mood of its various eras. Can you expand on this idea as it relates to the 1960s and 1970s?
The change that happened in the ‘70s resulted from the turmoil of the ‘60s. People began to look backwards. Modernism entered the era of Charlie Manson. When openness became vulnerability, people really did seek to fortify. The new thing at the time was Spanish Modern. People called it nostalgia and the reclaiming of our architectural roots in Spanish architecture, but those heavy adobe walls and little bit narrower windows made people feel maybe a little bit less exposed. It was a fashion that was the follow up to Midcentury-Modern. And then that fell out of fashion. Everything is fashion.
Speaking of, we all know about the celebrities, the glamour. But what don’t we know? What surprised even you?
More than anything is the volume of A-list architects who built there. In the book I only had room to share about a quarter of what I actually have found. I’m amazed by the names, and I’m still finding more. Richard Dorman, William Stephenson, William Sutherland Beckett, Buff Straub & Hensman, Lundberg, Armet & Davis, Edward Fickett! Then the artful masters that perhaps never got as famous or whose stars have faded, like George MacLean, Rex Lotery, Amir Farr, Robert Earl, Harry Gesner, and now the stars of today like Marmol Radziner and the white-hot Paul McClean. I am also surprised at how much is being torn down at this moment. Mad Men has imbued a whole new generation with an appreciation for Midcentury-Modern; they want to know how it was lived at the top. I’m astonished that people are so very quick to tear down these things. It’s a constant battle… the freedom to build anew and build your own dream house is very much a factor in Los Angeles.
As a sociological document, what does Trousdale signify?
Aside from the movie stars and media giants, at one time, the heads of some of L.A.’s great merchant, manufacturing and conglomerate empires, both glamorous and ignoble, rewarded themselves with houses here: Gene Klein, who owned the Chargers. Cliff Garrett, whose company made the air pressure systems for the Mercury space program. Bob Six (with wife Audrey Meadows) who ran Continental Airlines. Irving Bulmash, who controlled S&H Green stamps. Barry Taper, of the banking family. Empires almost all now dissolved or recalled only in memories of those of us who grew up with them. Right now it signifies the big, new, what I call bling boxes. And I don’t mean that derogatorily. They are really fantastic showplaces. But the thinking is aspirational; the de facto motto of what is going up today is something extremely slick, stylish and with every luxury, from nightclubs inside to waterfalls to two-story garages with elevators. It’s just crazy. Homes are also designed by developers to sell to somebody. That’s the big difference, the retail aspect.
One thing I really was amazed to realize about Trousdale is that so many builders—Nathan Shapell (home builder who developed Porter Ranch), the Familian family, Montgomery Ross Fisher—people who could have lived anywhere, chose to build in Trousdale Estates. Not in one of their own developments, but in this one. That says something about what they were hoping to accomplish by building what they thought was a community of excellence—opulence too, but excellence—and I think that’s what people do today. Now that they’ve veered toward the $100 million mark, they’re going to try and exceed it with something showier and grander and glitzier. And that represents the aspirational people of today… people who really want to live well.