View from the Top

This sprawling five-bedroom corner property frames an incomparable view of the ocean in its windows

Written by Abigail Stone | Photography Courtesy of Paul Jonason

Offered by Anthony Marguelas, Amalfi Estates

List Price $4,795,000

view of the ocean and easy access to town. A rambling home by a noted architect. A house imbued with history and movie lore. California style permeated with a touch of classic East Coast comfort. And, of course, beauty in spades, with wood-burning fireplaces, a master suite with generous closet space and a sumptuous bathroom. Looking for a home that checks off all the criteria on your list can be challenging. Until coming across this hidden gem at 17751 Tramonto Drive.

Located in a quiet enclave, just a short drive up the Pacific Coast Highway and easily reachable from Sunset, this perfectly positioned home accesses the mellow charms of Malibu, the polish of Pacific Palisades and the sophistication of Santa Monica with a few minutes drive. Beverly Hills, Westwood and Brentwood are also within reach (a boon in these traffic-intense times). “Perfectly positioned” can also describe this home’s setting: on a corner lot on Tramonto Drive, perched high upon a promontory. Wrap-around windows showcase a breathtaking and ever-changing view of the ocean. On a clear day, the panorama seems to extend across to Catalina and all the way north to Point Dume. Should one worry that other homes will interrupt the view, height restrictions on surrounding properties ensure that it’ll be yours to enjoy, unobstructed, for generations to come.

Dating back to 1947, the home, designed by Mid-Century architect Alfred“Hap” Gilman (who’s also behind the Santa Ynez Inn), was one of the first residences to be built in the area. Naturally, given its long history, it’s also the repository of legend. According to actor Peter Fonda, who references the home in his liner notes for the soundtrack to Easy Rider, the house, which was once owned by fellow actor Robert Walker Jr., inspired The Byrds’ music for the cult-classic film. With its clean lines, wide expanses of glass, post and beam construction, and access to gardens from each area in the house— all Gilman signatures—it’s easy to see the home as the muse for an experiment in modern living and out-of-the-box thinking. Then there’s the architect’s playful side, revealed in ingenious nooks and crannies, hidden private spaces and quirky details, such as the window over the built-in office in one of the Jack-and-Jill bedrooms found in the front of the house. Seamless updates by the current owners enhance this home’s natural gifts: solid construction, a celebration of the surrounding landscape, a balance of public and private spaces and tons of natural light. And, in the fall, liquid amber trees turn a brilliant scarlet, washing the property with the beauty of an East Coast fall.

The kitchen, dining room and living room encompass most of the first floor, offering easy access to the backyard (where, should you desire it, there’s plenty of room for a generous pool) to enjoy the mesmerizing ocean view. Though these spaces merge into one another—a bonus for the large parties this home can easily accommodate—each is deftly set apart from the other to better balance the needs of daily life, allowing occupants to enjoy time together while still pursuing their own interests. A study, just around the corner from the living room portion of the main floor, takes full advantage of the home’s views and supplies a bit more privacy for times when solitude is an absolute necessity. Skylights ensure that every room is bright and inviting.  

This home is full of secret sanctuaries; and older children will appreciate having their own space. The bedroom just beyond the kitchen faces out to the garden. Above it, the sprawling master bedroom suite, which extends over most of the second floor on this side, mimics the view from the study: a mesmerizing seascape that never fails to enchant. There’s enough space here for a well-appointed sitting room. This retreat also includes a step down master bathroom, with a bathtub big enough for two, and, around the corner, a generous walk-in closet. 

More solitude is found in the aforementioned trio of rooms at the front of the house. With its long balcony overlooking the backyard, they lend themselves to a variety of uses: as the perfect home office set-up, for independent teens or grown-up children, or inviting private quarters for live-in assistance. Hidden downstairs is another retreat: a basement finished as a cool screening room.

However, it’s at sunset that this home truly glows. The sun dipping into the ocean spreads its warmth throughout the house, reaching into every corner. It’s an aspect of Los Angeles only a few are privileged to experience in person. In this home, you’re one of them.


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