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"You can't see it from the street," listing agent H. Blair Chang says. The gated home is located in a "celebrity enclave" of the Hollywood Hills neighborhood and "very private," he adds.
That's probably why half of the potential buyers for the manor, built in 1913 and named Artemesia, are in the entertainment business, Chang says. It's a rare opportunity: The artful home with a pipe organ and a storied past has been on the market only four times. The home is merely minutes from popular restaurants and shops, but it's also private -- and that privacy comes with a premium price. As in almost $10 million.
The seller bought the home in the 1980s, when it was in a state of disrepair. Over the decades, he undertook a multimillion-dollar restoration of the building, including a few modern tweaks in the kitchen and the home's wiring.
Noting the home's enormous size, Chang says, "it's not your typical Craftsman." We agree: This home is anything but ordinary.
Built by Frederick E. Engstrum, who also purchased the 12 surrounding acres of land, it was the sole residence in the area when it was constructed. The location was selected for its views of the city below, as well as the Pacific Ocean in the distance.
The serene estate is surrounded by woods, a pond, waterfalls, stone pathways, a guesthouse, an outdoor pavilion with fireplace, and multiple patios and decks.
Parcels of the property have been sold off over the years, so the home sits on 2 remaining acres. The neighborhood has filled in since then -- Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are its best-known residents.
With its past luster restored, the home is meant to be ogled. We couldn't stop gawking at the ornate woodwork, the detailed ceiling designs, the 2,000-square-foot ballroom, and a dining room that seats 40. The massive house also includes eight bedrooms, seven bathrooms, six fireplaces, and a sleeping porch with five pull-down Murphy beds.
The Murray Harris self-playing organ resonates through hundreds of pipes and chimes on all three floors of the home. The value of the instrument, one of the largest pipe organs in the country, is estimated to be $1.1 million.
The $9.95 million asking price will attract a few buyers who love the place as is, as well as others who might want to put their own stamp on the place. A buyer could redo the entire interior because the structure doesn't have landmark status, Chang notes.
Whatever happens, we hope the gorgeous green-tiled bathroom with a walk-in shower tub doesn't make someone's wrecking-ball list. It's just one of the many artisanal touches that populate the interiors of Artemesia.
"The house is like a piece of art with a lot of history," Chang says.