Frederick Law Olmstead Jr., the youngest son of pioneering landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead Sr., the designer of Manhattan’s Central Park and Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, followed in his father’s legendary footprints and became a conservation-minded landscape designer and urban planner whose handiwork can be found across the country and around the world. Among the younger Olmstead’s projects were a master plan for Cornell University in upstate New York, the Caracas Country Club in Venezuela, and, looking out over the Pacific Ocean in southern California, the master plan for the Palos Verdes Estates neighborhood.
Situated on a hilly peninsula that juts out into the Pacific Ocean about 25 miles southwest (and a world away) from downtown Los Angeles, Palos Verdes Estates is among the country’s most affluent areas, with a median home price of about $2.6 million, according to Redfin and Zillow. Perched atop the affluent enclave’s towering 250-foot cliffs, with powerful 180-degree ocean and coastline views, a 1.2-acre estate has come to market with a record-busting asking price of $35 million. The property is available through Britt Austin and Cari Corbalis of Vista Sotheby’s International Realty.
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Between the main house and a guesthouse/entertainment pavilion, the estate has seven bedrooms and eight bathrooms, plus three powder rooms, dispersed throughout almost 12,500 square feet. Largely concealed behind tall hedges and security gates, the estate’s front door is framed by a pair of towering palm trees, and, inside, designer Tim Clarke created a serene and comfortable neutral color palette that allows the explosive views to be the standout feature of almost every room.
Timeless and refined, yet relaxed and homey, design highlights include reclaimed wood-beamed ceilings, French white oak and limestone floors, Roman clay plaster walls, vintage Italian chandeliers, and antique fireplace mantels from France. Fully retractable sliding doors in both the main house and the guesthouse/entertainment pavilion blur the boundaries between interior and exterior spaces.
Complementing the main house’s intimate formal sitting room and spacious formal dining room are a gourmet kitchen, a window-lined breakfast nook, and a family room with three walls of retractable glass that, when open, convert the room into a breezy loggia. Elsewhere are a study/library and five ensuite bedrooms (the primary suite boasts a private, ocean-view spa), while a subterranean level houses a games room and a movie theater, as well as garaging for more than half a dozen cars.
The guesthouse/entertainment pavilion, set alongside the swimming pool, was built with similar materials and the same level of craftsmanship as the main house. Entire walls of glass slide open with the touch of a button, and, amid the vast indoor-outdoor spaces that include a custom indoor Italian grill, there are two ample ensuite bedrooms, a total of three and a half bathrooms, a large fitness room, and a secured wine cellar that holds more than 1,200 bottles of wine.
The grounds were handled by Studio Art Luna and include limestone terraces, clipped hedges and native coastal plantings, raised beds for herb and vegetable growing, and a sea of emerald grass that rolls down to a flagstone path that snakes along the cliff’s edge.
According to tax records, the estate is owned by a trust managed by Capital Group chairman and CEO Timothy Armour. Records also indicate that the pair of parcels that comprise the estate were acquired in two transactions, the first in 2007 and the second in 2011, for a combined $9.4 million.
Should the property sell for anywhere near the asking price, it would obliterate the record for the highest amount ever paid for a single-family home in the exclusive neighborhood as well as on the entire peninsula. Last year, USC’s head football coach, Lincoln Riley, ponied up almost $17.2 million for a landlocked three-plus-acre property in Palos Verdes Estates, while another home in the neighboring community of Rolling Hills changed hands in 2018 for $20 million.
Click here for more photos of 245 Rocky Point Road.
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