13745 Mulholland Drive – Scenic Canyon Escape in LA’s Exclusive Enclave

An aerial view of the front of 13745 Mulholland DriveFor those of us who grew up on Beverly Hills 90210 and wondered whether the lives of the characters in the show were really as glam as they appeared, wonder no more. This palatial enclave at 13745 Mulholland Drive in the famed zip code should put to rest any doubts. With sweeping canyon views and a staggering 57, 239 sq. ft. lot, this 3 bedroom/2 bathroom 2,000 sq. ft. home in the hills bordering Sherman Oaks is soon to be someone’s new Dream Palace, as it’s currently on the market for an asking price of $3,250,000.

Groundbreaking Ceremony, 1923 courtesy of waterandpower.org

Groundbreaking Ceremony, 1923 courtesy of waterandpower.org

In 1923, The Van Nuys News reported on the results of a new bond measure for road construction deep within the Santa Monica Mountains. Residents of the district in question voted 4 to 1 to allow the new road to be built. This highway, the newspaper said, would

“provide a veritable boulevard of scenic beauty. Vistas of the ocean and the beautiful residential tracts between the ocean and the hills, the wide, sweeping views of the San Fernando Valley and the natural beauty of the hills the road traverses will make this highway one of the popular drives in California and will open up the hills for some attractive home sites.”

The Van Nuys News, December 12, 1924

The Van Nuys News, December 12, 1924

This road, of course, was the 21-mile long legend that is Mulholland Drive named after Department of Water and Power chairman and scrupulous developer William Mulholland. With the creation of his aqueduct, he’d turned the San Fernando Valley into the “fruit basket and vegetable garden of LA,” and now his new road would make the area that much more livable. Designed by engineer D.D. Reaburn, Mulholland Drive was originally projected to be 55 miles in length, and when it was finally completed and unveiled for all of Los Angeles to see, see they did.

Opening of Mulholland Drive, December 27, 1924 courtesy of Huntington Digital Library

Opening of Mulholland Drive, December 27, 1924 courtesy of Huntington Digital Library

The grand fete to celebrate Mulholland Drive’s completion drew a crowd of at least 37,000 automobiles who came out to see the attractions which included a Wild West/rodeo show, firefighters and their latest firefighting technology, various bands from across the Valley, carnival street dancing along Vine in Hollywood—and a motion picture set created by Universal Studios depicting rodeo star Hoot Gibson being filmed.

Over the next few years, countless articles would chronicle the development of the famed road, alerting readers to sections that were not quite driveable while still consistently lauding the highway’s unparalleled views. From “Mulholland Drive Still Inadvisable” to “Mulholland Drive Open But Rough” to even “Body of Nude Woman Found in Canyon Near Mulholland Drive,” the 1920s-1930s news from the Valley was dominated by the tidbits of the thoroughfare’s story.

Mulholland and his entourage were of course, not the first ones to settle Mulholland Drive. That distinction goes solely to the Chumash and Tongva Indigenous Peoples, who’d been living in the Santa Monica mountains and the surrounding areas for over 7000 years. The Santa Monica Mountains contain over 1,000 archaeological sites showing evidence of these two indigenous groups.

De La Ossa Adobe at Los Encinos Historical State Park, courtesy of historicparks.org

De La Ossa Adobe at Los Encinos Historical State Park, courtesy of historicparks.org

One such archaeological site close to 13745 Mulholland Drive is the Los Encinos State Historic Park, where Tataviam and Tongva peoples built the ancient site known as Siutcanga, or “Place of the Oak Trees.” Spanish explorers wrote about this village during their travels in the Portola Expedition of 1769. The village is now a historic state park located about seven miles away from the home on Mulholland Drive, and today visitors can see the Californio-style adobe built by the ranchero who took over the land after the indigenous were forced out of it.

The adobe is architecturally considerably different than the architecture that would pop up in the San Fernando Valley nearly a hundred years later, when the veritable palace at 13745 was built.

Van Nuys News, March 31, 1949

Van Nuys News, March 31, 1949

In 1942, when the Mulholland home was originally purchased by two immigrants from Germany—Peter and Anna Helmuth—modernist architects like Richard Neutra, John Lautner, and R.M. Schindler were building their careers. (The yard sale ad above is likely from the Helmuths, and they clearly had a sense of humor–Myrtle the Turtle?)

These architectural geniuses specialized in clean, utilitarian designs that were common during postwar construction. And they had a talent for something particularly useful to the moneyed set—building expansive homes on hills.

Platform Homes, courtesy of Office of Historic Resources, Department of City Planning

Platform Homes, courtesy of Office of Historic Resources, Department of City Planning

Less than two miles away from 13745 Mulholland Drive are the infamous Platform Homes in Sherman Oaks. Neutra originally designed the homes, but encountered issues with the developer and subsequently the architect William Beckett finished the project in the mid 1960s (LA Conservancy).

Nearby the Mulholland home sit Harry Gesner’s unique “boat houses” in the Hollywood Hills, and Lautner’s panopticon-style modernist masterpiece Chemosphere. The area is replete with gorge midcentury modern homes built on hillsides—offering residents the ultimately in privacy and absolutely fantastic panoramic views of the city.

Just ask Jack Nicholson—he’s steps away at 12850 Mulholland Drive, a home he’s owned since 1975 and the same one notorious for the Roman Polanski scandal in the late 1970s. Nicholson’s pal and Dick Tracy actor Warren Beatty also once lived just a few doors down from 13745 Mulholland Drive at 13671 along with other mega A-lister Annette Bening.

June 16, 1959 Daily Independent Journal

June 16, 1959 Daily Independent Journal

Head south from the home into Benedict Canyon just a few miles and you’ll find the old George Reeves home at 1579 Benedict Canyon Drive. According to multiple accounts, the ghost of George Reeves—who was best known for his role as Superman in the television show The Adventures of Superman—still roams the property. According to his then-fiancé Leonore Lemmon, he’d fought with her after drinking heavily and shortly afterward, she heard a single gunshot.

Drama is a timeless theme, as we discover looking into the history of 13745 Mulholland Drive. One of the home’s first owners, a man named Ahmed “Aly” Sadick who purchased the property in 1953, got into a bit of a row while attending a Hollywood awards ceremony in 1954, where Marilyn Monroe and other big names were in attendance. Sadick, along with his twin brother Amad—cotton importers—fought with another pair of twins named Bertil and Gustave Unger (really, does it get more Hollywood than this?) over seating arrangements. Some like it hot, I guess.

The Plain Speaker, January 24, 1954

The Plain Speaker, January 24, 1954

Coincidentally, Legacies has reported on another one of Sadick’s homes—7321 Woodrow Wilson Drive—located in the Hollywood Hills.

Errol Flynn’s Mulholland Farm, courtesy of The Errol Flynn Blog

Errol Flynn’s Mulholland Farm, courtesy of The Errol Flynn Blog

When most celebs were buying it up big in Beverly Hills, actor Errol Flynn decided he liked the picturesque, peaceful landscape off of Mulholland Drive and purchased nearly 12 acres of land right off of the winding behemoth of a road. He named it “Mulholland Farm” and rumor has it that it was replete with secret passageways in addition to a casino, two-way mirrors, and peepholes (wsj.com).

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Celebrity has come to our featured home at one point, too. In 2002, Co-Executive Producer of Days of Our Lives, (one of the longest running scripted TV programs in the world btw) Greg Meng, purchased the home.

Greg Meng, Twitter

Greg Meng, Twitter

Meng is also the Senior Vice President of Corday Productions, the Burbank-based company that produces Days of Our Lives, and the author of a book entitled Days of Our Lives: 50 Years.

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In 2004, actor Sergei Brusilovsky and his wife Zina Kagan purchased the home from Meng. Brusilovsky typically plays Russian actors and has appeared in movies like Love Affair and numerous TV shows like Sabrina the Teenage Witch, ER, Mad About You, and more recently, 2 Broke Girls.

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It’s no wonder that the likes of the entertainment industry and other creatives are drawn to this peaceful, comfortable oasis in the hills. Built in 1942, the home at 13745 Mullholland Drive continues the trend en vogue at that time of modernist, clean design started by the minimalist icons we listed earlier—a departure from the more highly coveted Spanish architectural homes that were previously popular.

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Even the kidney-shaped pool is emblematic of the modernist leanings at the time. The original inspiration from the kidney pool came from Thomas Church, a Berkeley-and Harvard-trained landscape architect who’d studied in Europe and returned to become a pioneer in modernist indoor/outdoor living spaces.

April 1951 Cover of House Beautiful

April 1951 Cover of House Beautiful

He’s specifically renown for the Donnell Gardens in Sonoma, the site of a former cattle ranch belonging to Dewey Donnell, a local rancher and active member of the Sonoma community. It was there he became inspired by the natural setting of Sonoma and together with sculptor Adaline Kent, constructed the first kidney shaped pool. Kent’s sculpture completes the biomorphic design of the pool, offering complementary curves and waves that work in tandem with Church’s nature-inspired design.

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13745 Mulholland certainly espouses Church’s love for indoor/outdoor fluidity. Perched high atop the city with resplendent Santa Monica Mountain views, the home is equally a peaceful oasis as it is an entertainer’s paradise. The rare, flat lot offers copious amount of possibility while still maintaining the privacy that hillside living gives.

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The interiors are equally inviting as the exteriors. With large picture windows and multiple French doors leading to the outdoor patios, the home maintains all the mid-century modern principles having to do with continuity and indoor/outdoor fluidity. Gorgeous hardwood flooring and wooden cabinets coupled with dramatic, high ceilings keep the space airy and natural.

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Lovely built ins and clean, sleek lines provide ample opportunity for artwork and the occasional knickknack. The home is a true blank canvas…bring your brushes!

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High ceilings, abundant natural light, and gorgeous views of the backyard and beyond make the master bedroom dreamy.

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A splash of color in the bathroom lends some spontaneity and fun to the modern stylings of the home.

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The expansive living areas also offer opportunities for workspaces, a more palatable alternative to the stuffiness of a separate office area. The work/live space of a downtown loft is reimagined here within the comfort of a sprawling, lovely home.

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And for those moments when you’re in need of creative inspiration…the outdoors always beckons. Nooks and crannies within the environs of the sprawling backyard offer numerous opportunities for contemplation and escape.

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When we say palatial, we mean it. This mid-century dream home clocking in at almost two acres, offers limitless possibilities for expansion. With resplendent views and abundant nature, the property is in prime shape for development. And in the off-chance the next lucky resident of 13745 actually wants to leave the house, they’ll be close to some of the city’s best schools (like the Buckley School), the best restaurants (Ventura Boulevard), and the best hiking (just about every canyon within a two-mile radius). Simply put: this property has got the best of the best.

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