Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, September 29, 2012

MVNews this week:  Page 12



 Mountain Views News Saturday, September 29, 2012 

One Of A Kind: Featuring unique homes and gardens and the people who create them 

Story by Chris Bertrand. Photos courtesy of Kathleen Wright of Coldwell Banker and Sharon Verani of Sotheby’s Int’l. 


Today, One of a Kind takes a look at the top end of the 
real estate market in several of the Foothill communities 
in the San Gabriel Valley. Using a real estate search 
website called Trulia, (, the following 
homes came up as the highest listings in the area.

Often, real estate verbiage is known for its superlative 
language but these homes have much to brag about 
according to the following excerpts from their listings:

Altadena : 1369 E. Altadena Drive is listed at $4,350,000. 
This Mediterranean home, built in 1915, with a main 
house of 13,000 square feet with 7 bedrooms and 7 
baths, plus a guest house on 1.5 acres.

Gated Mediterranean Estate designed in 1915 by 
celebrated architect Reginald Johnson. This spectacular 
Villa is majestically sited on 1 1/2 acres of mature 
landscaped grounds with tranquil gardens, sheltering 
oaks, and mountain views. The dramatic loggia leads 
to the front entry where carved double doors open to 
reveal a breathtaking 2-story atrium. Elegant details 
abound with limestone floors, soaring ceilings, spiraling 
pillars, wrought iron balconies, Venetian plaster walls, 
and oversized windows and French doors which 
drench the rooms in light. All of the public rooms, 
including an incomparable living room, formal dining 
room, library,… billiard room, and solarium are grand 
in scale and open to the atrium through archways. The 
main residence is approx. 13,000 square feet with 7 
bedrooms and 7 baths, including a lavish master suite. 
A fully appointed guest house, three car garage, pool 
and spa complete this family compound with privacy. 

Contact Sharon Verani or Mark Ogden of Sotheby’s 
International at 626-482-4914 or visit www.


Arcadia : 241 Whispering Pines Summit is offered at 
$6,889,000. This 8,831 square foot home is located 
above Foothill on 1.94 acres. Built in 1981, the home 
offers seven bedrooms and six baths. 

“Enter the property through iron wrought gates to a 
circular stone driveway, spectacular waterfall & Japanese 
garden landscaping. Elegant Tudor architectural style 
home features European style library/Executive office, 
Den with wine cellar & home theater. Impressive 
landscaped grounds w/ breathtaking 180 degree view 
overlooking the city. Formal dining room w/ European 
mirrored boxed ceiling & chandelier. Gourmet kitchen 
& center Island with alkaline filter water system. All 
rooms facing the backyard on first floor open outdoors 
to a serene Koi pond & waterfall through beautiful 
French doors. Within the double door master suite, 
guests can relax in a retreat area by the fireplace or step 
out onto a private balcony. Unwind with a personal spa 
day in the master bath customized with a spa tub, sauna 
and shower. 5-Car garage in a separate gated area with 
access from the front circular driveway. Last but not 
least there is a private studio area for creative ventures 
located amongst the inspiring backyard scenery.”

Contact Peggy Fong Chen of Re/Max Omega at 626-447-
1688 or visit 

Sierra Madre : 751 Oak Crest Drive is listed at 
$1,995,000. This 1 acre view property is the site of the 
well known “Pyramid House”, a unique glass structure 
built in 1975, and a separate 3 bedroom 2 bath guest 
house on a private lane adjacent to Bailey Canyon. The 
current listing indicates the value is in the land. 

Top of the world! Private and secluded 1 full acre 
of land. South facing, sanctuary in the wilderness. 
High on the mountain above Sierra Madre. Spectacular 
panoramic views of the mountains and valley below. 
Scenic beauty from all locations, with city lights at 
night. End of the cul-de-sac location behind a gated 
private road. This unique property will provide you 
the peace, beauty and seclusion of a mountain retreat, 
with a short drive to the village of Sierra Madre. The 
property has 2 structures currently that can be taken 
out to build a large hill top dream home. Large good 
size pad, the grading has been done to accommodate 
the existing structures. All utilities in place, including 
city sewer. This is one of the best panoramic view lots 
in the entire region.

Contact Barry Marine of Colwell Banker at 310-829-
3939 or visit 

Pasadena : 965 El Campo is listed at $8,900,000. Built 
in 1999, this 11,932 square foot home on 1.76 acres 
includes a three bedroom, 2 bath guest house.

A spectacular, gated 2 story Mediterranean estate in 
a prime Pasadena location with San Marino schools. 
Built with the finest of architectural design, materials 
and craftsmanship. This home features 8 bedroom 
suites plus 2 powder rooms, dramatic 2 story foyer 
w/crystal light fixture, stunning staircase and marble 
flooring, living room w/soaring ceilings and fireplace; 
beautiful formal dining room with crystal light fixture 
and marble flooring; impressive wood paneled library; 
light filled entertainment/media room; state of the 
art gourmet kitchen with lacquered finished cabinets, 
center island w/sink, granite flooring, breakfast 
area, large pantry, additional separate kitchen; and 
charming family room w/hardwood flooring and 5 car 
attached garage. Incredible “resort like” grounds were 
professionally designed and landscaped.

Contact Linda or Brent Chang of Coldwell Banker at 
(626) 449-5222 or visit 

Monrovia: 328 North Terrace View Drive is listed at 
$5,000,000. This 2008-built estate offers a 6,871 square 
foot home on 2.49 acres with 4 bedrooms and 5 baths. 

South-facing European Masterpiece in gated 
community with spectacular views of San Gabriel 
Valley! Stunning formal entry and 2-story living room, 
wet bar, elevator, 2-story library, 2 fireplaces, formal 
dining room, media room, finest marble/woods/
granite, iron-cased doors and windows. Wine Cellar. 
Family room adjoins 2 chef-kitchens, dining area, 
opens to pool, spa, patios, views. Three upstairs Master 
Bedrooms with views. Approximately 3300 sq. ft. (per 
Owner) exterior covered patios or balconies with 
panoramic views. Monrovia’s Trophy Estate! 

Contact Kathleen Wright of Coldwell Banker at 310-
433-0003 and, or 

What is special about these ultra high end homes? 
What defines their value? Who is buying these listings? 
These and other questions were posed to the listing 
agents of two of the properties, with very interesting 

All the agents interviewed go above and beyond for their 
listings, knowing they have to reach out to the global 
community to reach capable buyers. Brent Chang made 
a video of their listing for use by CNN. Wright uses the 
Wall Street Journal and as two disparate 
ends of the print/internet media spectrum, to reach 
both the celebrity buyer as well as the sophisticated off-
shore buyer.

In Altadena, Sharon Verani commented about her 
listing at 1369 E. Altadena Drive, which was built in 
1915. “We believe it may be the first Mediterranean 
home built in the area.” Some major additions were 
made just ten years later, in 1925, enlarging the 
structures to their current 14,000 square foot size. She 
continued, “Even though it’s 14,000 square feet, it still 
feels intimate, with a great floorplan around a center 
atrium. It has a very open and flowing feeling. It was 
featured as the Pasadena Showcase House in 2002, 
and has a modernized kitchen with an adjacent family 
room. It works with today’s lifestyle.”

Verani explained, “Even though each room has 
incredible scale to it, the home feels intimate enough to 
imagine really living in the house, not just entertaining 

Linda Chang chuckled that she wasn’t being facetious 
when she said her Pasadena listing on El Campo offered 
just about everything anyone could want. “It has it all,” 
she said. “There’s a 3 bedroom guest house in addition 
to the 12,000 square feet main house.” A rather strong 
emphasis on the 12,000. 

“It’s on two level acres with incredible professionally 
designed and maintained grounds,” she continued. 
“They moved in beautiful trees. There’s a tennis court, a 
pergola and a koi pond. It really is resort living!” 

Regarding the market and securing buyers for the 
upper end market, Chang commented that “Our high 
properties (in the San Gabriel Valley) remain strong. 
A lot of our Asian buyers are helping our high end 
markets stay strong,” she reflected.

“The high profile people who choose our area like 
to live here because it is more residential and more 
private than the Westside, and they get more for their 
money. They are comfortable in the international flavor 
of the area, and that it’s close to downtown LA,” she 
summarized. “The schools, both public and private are 
great, too,” she commented.

Schools, as well as the quality of the community, were 
also a hot topic with listing agent Kathleen Wright, a 
Beverly Hills based agent, whose property is the highest 
valued listing in Monrovia. “This property allows 
school attendance in either the Arcadia or Monrovia 
school district, due to some annexed land.”

“I worked with the cities of Arcadia and Monrovia on 
this current listing and on another property nearby in 
Arcadia on Whispering Pines Summit. The cities of 
Arcadia and Monrovia are very well run. They are good 
at budgeting and city planning. I have gotten to know 
the staff at both cities and was very impressed.” 

Regarding the Monrovia listing, she calls it the city’s 
“trophy listing” and further describes,” It’s a grand 
European masterpiece. All the bedrooms are suites. It 
was specifically designed for feng shui by the Chinese 
American builder. There are two kitchens; one for 
meats and the other for vegetables and steaming.” 
Then she laughed, “My Russian buyers said it could be 
a kosher kitchen, too. The 2.5 acres sits up high, and 
offers vistas of all of Monrovia and Arcadia out nearly 
to Catalina on a clear day. It’s the feeling of freedom!” 

Taking the temperature of the buyer’s market for high 
end properties, Wright analyzed, “We had an increase 
of volume of 50% in the last half of 2011. We see the 
volume increase first on the Westside, then it spreads 
to the rest of LA. That’s followed by an increase in price 
later. Traditionally, we have seen the volume, then the 
prices increase in Beverly Hills and Bel Air first, then 
spread to the rest of the community.” 

She spoke of where her high end buyers originate. 
“Most are international buyers… from all over China. 
Internationally minded with more than one home. 
It’s a really exciting market. That’s why I advertise in 
the Wall Street Journal. Coldwell Banker is all over 
China. We also feed to 14 other websites. In addition to there’s, a high end site with 
many high end designer and celebrity followers.” 

“The people you meet are all serious and immediate 
buyers,” she continued. “That’s what leads along the 
recovery of the other houses. The buyers, with a stable 
economic status are able to stabilize the market.”


AT DESCANSO Design a dream green space 
– and learn to avoid ‘crimes against horticulture’


Billy Goodnick has a word of advice for landscapers 
compelled to carve plants into submission. 
Don’t do it. “People go into adversarial mode in 
trying to show the plant who is boss,” he said. The 
result is tortured topiaries: meatball bushes, lollipop 
trees and cubed shrubs.

 Goodnick – award-winning landscape architect, 
blogger, horticultural comedian, rock drummer 
– will present two gardening lectures at Descanso 
Gardens on Saturday, Oct. 6. The programs will 
serve up nuts and bolts advice spiced liberally with 
humor. The lectures are:

· “Design Like a Pro,” 11 a.m., in the Under the 
Oaks Theater.

· “Crimes Against Horticulture,” 2 p.m. in Van 
de Kamp Hall

In “Design Like a Pro,” he will deconstruct how a 
landscaper envisions a design project, considering 
factors like practicality, sustainability and beauty. 
Hankering for a cottage garden? Goodnick will 
explain how to achieve a specific look while substituting 
plants that suit the climate. The goal is 
outdoor living space that elevates the yard to “garden” 
status. “My tagline is beautiful, sustainable 
gardens,” he said.

 “Crimes Against Horticulture” is subtitled “When 
Bad Taste Meets Power Tools.” He will present a 
slideshow that exemplifies one of his pet peeves – 
weekend warriors who slice and dice shrubs with 
the enthusiasm of a Ginsu knife pitchman.

 Goodnick doesn’t mind topiary – in the right 
place. But many of these “crimes” seem to be reaction 
to a good plant in a bad location. “Every plant 
has its genetic destiny,” he said. “You have an obligation 
to understand how big that plant will get.” 
Rather than shear a plant into submission, he suggests 
planning before you plant.

 Goodnick was an in-demand studio drummer 
when he caught the “bonsai bug.” His interest in the 
miniature plants sparked further study and a new 
career. For 22 years, he was the City Landscape Architect 
for the City of Santa Barbara. He continues 
to design gardens for clients, while lecturing across 
the country about horticulture, blogging and writing 
the upcoming book, “Yards.”

 Goodnick’s lectures are free with Gardens admission: $8 adults, 
$6 seniors and students with I.D., $3 children 5-12, free for members 
and children 4 and younger. Descanso Gardens is located at 
1418 Descanso Drive, La Cañada Flintridge 91011. Information: 
(818) 949-4200.

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 Email: Website: