Art Meets Life in This Extraordinary Architectural Property in La Crescenta, $4.5MAuthor:Philip Ferrato
Where: 3947 Markridge Road, La Crescenta
What: Los Angeles is a town loaded with extraordinary architecture and people who go to great lengths to preserve and respect their treasures. LA is, after all, one of the few cities in the country where the term “architecture collector” is used on a daily basis. In 1996, Lari Pittman and Roy Dowell, longtime partners, painter and teachers bought Richard Neutra’s 2-bed, 1-bath Dorothy Serulnic House, built in 1953. Serulnic was Neutra’s secretary; she and her husband live here for decades and eventually sold it to the current owners.
In 2008, Pittman and Dowell began to build a 1-bed, 1.5-bath, 7-sided pavilion designed by LA architect Michael Maltzan. A collection of polygons and triangles arranged around a central atrium and set on a gravel platform at the edge of a ravine, it’s as much an alien spacecraft as a pristine dwelling.
What We Love: There’s a brilliant eclecticism throughout. In the dining room a row of humble bread boards line up over the view and African bead necklaces are strung from the chandelier. Juxtapositions occur throughout the property, bringing together handmade objects (ranging from the owners’ paintings to Americana to tribal art) to soften the severe interiors, harking back to Ray Eames’ tablescapes of much loved objects; a kind of well-edited Modernist clutter.
Spread across the 6-acre site or tucked into intimate corners, the gardens form one of LA’s great private cactus collections.
Below, the Neutra house retains the original built-ins, immaculately cared for. It’s currently used as a guest house.
Below, the view pavilion looks out onto a huge, painterly swath of cacti.
More: Represented by Sotheby’s International Real Estate’s uber-agents Barry Sloane and Marc Silver, both longtime specialists in architectural properties. For additional images, check out the Sotheby’s listing and slideshow. Pauline O’Connor at Curbed LA had a look at the property when it was listed in 2014 for $7.9M. Below, a quiet, shaded corner of the garden.