Situated in the eastern Santa Monica Mountain range, 3954 Farmouth Drive’s over 5,500 sq. ft. of interior living space balances luxury, and enjoyment of the surrounding terrain. The home’s only neighbor to the east is Griffith Park, the largest urban wilderness area in the United States, but it’s only minutes from the best that metropolitan Los Angeles has to offer. MLS# 15888857 Listing Price 2,799,000
Within the park’s 4,200 acres are some of LA’s favorite destinations such as the Greek Theater, Roosevelt Municipal Golf course—one of the better executive golf courses in the LA area—Vermont tennis courts, the Los Angeles Zoo, and the art-deco masterpiece, The Griffith Observatory, and the monumental Hollywood sign aren’t too far off.
James Dean’s bust is up at the observatory, commemorating Rebel Without a Cause which was filmed at the observatory in 1955. More recently, Transformers, Valentine’s Day, and Terminator Genisys, are just some of the movies that shot scenes at the LA landmark.
In 1989, architect, Robert Elbogen was asked by his friend, Kief Adler, to design a home for one of the last, great, untouched properties in Los Feliz. Adler was a contractor, and the site was an 11,000+ square foot lot adjacent to Griffith Park’s urban wilderness.
“The view was obviously a main focus point,” recalled Elbogen of the project, “and we were requested to keep the top floor limited in height not blocking the view (as a courtesy) for the neighbors across the street.”
“It was raw hillside at the time,” remembered Elbogen. “The entire concept was oriented towards to view.” The result was nothing short of masterful: a commanding view with tasteful architectural elements, and a prime location at the end of a cul-de-sac in the Los Feliz Hills.
It was at an early point in his career, and to design a home in Los Feliz Hills meant that Robert Elbogen’s work would be among great company. The neighborhood boasts some of the best-known residential architecture in the city, including two homes designed by architectural heavy hitter, Frank Lloyd Wright, and another by Richard Neutra. In fact, three of the most well-known homes in Los Angeles, the Ennis House,
the Aline Barnsdall Hollyhock House–originally designed by Frank Lloyd Wright as a residence for the oil in 1919–1921, and Richard Neutra’s Lovell House are located in Los Feliz. Some other notable architects include Raphael Soriano, Rudolph Schindler, and J.R. Davidson.
At 3954 Farmouth, Elbogen set out to build a structure with a nod toward these icons of the 1920s which are now landmarks. “The curved front façade and glass blocks were meant to soften the curb appeal and allow diffused lighting into the front room adjacent to the kitchen,” said Elbogen.
“The 1/2 level split approach meant there was not a full flight of stairs in the home,” said Elbogen. It also happens to be a feature that appeals especially to families. “It made it pleasant to traverse and reach any part of the house without a lot climbing.” The decision set up the main level to be wonderfully spacious and bright. Extended height walls and vaulted skylights and gave 3954 Farmouth a timeless contemporary feel that carried the design into the next millennium.
Elbogen went with mid-century modern influences in keeping with many of the homes in the Los Feliz Hills. Indoor living spaces flow seamlessly into the outdoors and beyond.
The design features glass block that can be seen from the street entrance, but also exists throughout the interior. Kalwall skylights, known for high quality and energy efficiency were implemented into the design. The result is so much cool, natural and diffuse light that the home almost glows.
One thing that has changed over the past 1/4 century is the color scheme.
The original color scheme can be seen in these archived photos that were taken just before it first went on the market. The initial sales listing flyer is below. The red and white scheme used had been requested by the owner/builder Kief Adler.
High-end stainless appliances and cherry wood cabinet fronts are a nice update to the kitchen, but the layout remains the same–a testament to Elbogen’s thoughtful design.
Designing 3954 Farmouth on spec meant that it needed a broad appeal. The basics were that it had an adequate number of bedrooms. The vision of luxury was up to Elbogen. The almost 1,000 square foot master suite is the ultimate living space, featuring a fireplace, walk-in close, private retreat, and the master bath complete with a sauna.
The three additional bedrooms are generously sized with well-appointed bathrooms.
3954 Farmouth turned out to be excellent experience for Elbogen, who would go on to design numerous high-profile homes in Southern California and commercial projects such as the Los Angeles Ballet Academy, and was a member on the project management team for the HKS Architects-designed Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills, and on the enormous Terranea Resort and Spa in Rancho Palos Verdes.
3954 Farmouth is seen here in the red box inset. And in the upper center-left in the photo below.
An 11,145 square foot lot abutting Griffith Park means there’s room for a pool, but plenty of urban wilderness surrounding the property.
From 3954 Farmouth, The San Gabriels, Glendale, and much of Los Angeles is laid out below you.
The twinkling grid of lights begin in Los Feliz’s gentle foothills at the southern end of the neighborhood, and tumble into trendy Los Feliz Village. Vermont and Hillhurst Avenues from Prospect Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard, to the deodar cedar-lined Los Feliz Boulevard, vibrate with an eclectic mix of young professionals, Hollywood hipsters, tourists, and old-timers.
Robert Elbogen recalled that in 1989, when 3954 Farmouth was designed and built, it was just before Los Feliz’s Village scene really took off with hip coffee shops, restaurants, and exclusive clothing boutiques and vintage stores.
Los Feliz was the eastside neighborhood backdrop during the 1990s swing revival in the 1996 movie, Swingers. Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn, among other hopefuls, played the single, unemployed actors in the film that showed Rat Pack–Era lounging suspended in time at The Dresden Room on Vermont. Crowds still pack into The Dresden to hear Marty and Elayne Roberts on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays as it has been for 30 plus years.
Los Feliz is home to some of the most famous, and infamous architecture in the city. Just around the corner from the Ennis House on Glendower Avenue is 2475 Glendower Place, the Los Feliz home that had been the scene of two murders in 1959. Though the criminal-case was quickly solved, the details are harrowing:
“Homicide investigators found that Dr. Harold Perelson bludgeoned his wife to death with a ball-peen hammer, savagely beat their 18-year-old daughter, and then fatally poisoned himself by gulping a glass of acid.
Authorities removed two other children from the sprawling hillside estate that overlooks downtown Los Angeles, locked the front door to the 5,050-square-foot mansion, and left… Fifty years later, the Glendower Place home remains empty.” On a Los Feliz hill, murder — then mystery, February 6, 2009, Bob Pool
For some, though, Los Feliz can be the happiest place on earth. An easy stroll down from 3954 Farmouth brings you to Woking Way, where Walt Disney and his wife, Lillian, built this French Normandy – style home in 1932 on over one acre of land.
Disney had lived in Los Feliz when he developed the iconic character Mickey Mouse.
The Los Feliz Hills have always been affluent. Many who choose this area for its seclusion still want to be close enough to the action. The neighborhood suits these criteria well being centrally located to Hollywood Studios, Burbank Studios, and uber-hip and creative Silver Lake and Echo Park. Twilight actor Robert Pattinson sold his Los Feliz home in 2014 to The Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons. Kristen Stewart previously lived in the home with Pattinson. Today, young celebs like Natalie Portman, Ryan Reynolds, Will.i.am, Danny Masterson, Liv Tyler, Eva Mendes, and many more call the area home.