2801 La Castana Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90046
Priced At $1,735,000
This Spanish-style residence on a highly-desired street in Nichols Canyon was designed by Fred Smathers, an architect-developer whose homes attracted a celebrity following in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s. Architecture buffs remember Smathers as “a pioneer” who re-interpreted the Mediterranean style homes of ’20s and ’30s for the way homeowners live today. Smathers’ style is usually evidenced by high (sometimes 2-story) ceilings, informal areas designed for entertaining, terraces, and brick-lined patios. Smathers paid attention to spaces for outdoor dining, loved pools, and liked â€œformalâ€ garden touches including trellises, planter boxes, and hedges.
2801 La Castana follows suit with most of Smathersâ€™ conventions. A double-height ceiling soars over the homeâ€™s entry and living room, which is warmed by a fireplace and lit by banks of windows looking out into private, landscaped spaces. Spanish Colonial-style beams run the length of the roomâ€™s ceiling. An elegant oak floor lies underfoot.
The houseâ€™s dining area is also lined with decorative beams and opens through its bank of French doors to a terrace.
The dining area flow seamlessly into the homeâ€™s family, or â€œgreatâ€ room. Hereâ€™s a bit of L.A. architectural trivia that is relevant to this houseâ€™s floor plan…Where did the concept of a family room (or â€œgreat roomâ€) come from? Fred Smathers gets (most of) the credit: â€œSmathers was putting Great Rooms into houses in the â€˜60s before people in L.A. knew what Great Rooms were,â€ says one Los Angeles architectural expert.
The homeâ€™s mostly-original kitchen opens to the great room (arched windows, recessed lighting, and more beams here) and to the dining room, creating a hub for entertaining. Thereâ€™s even a breakfast bar for informal dining. A gorgeous brick floorâ€”a Smathers stapleâ€”lines this complex of rooms.
Upstairs is the ownerâ€™s grand master suite; a double-sized room with space for sleeping, sitting, and relaxing. Rustic, romantic beams are overhead. Gleaming oak floors lie beneath. Two closets (one walk-in) and a bathroom adjoin. Over-scale windows let light in, but look out to total privacy.
Also on this level, an ample guest suite (also featuring oak floors) with its own bathroom with separate tub and shower.
Back downstairs, a powder room doubles as a pool bath (with an exit to the great outdoors) and houses a laundry closet with side-by-side machines.
BONUS ALERT: Thereâ€™s also a retreat with a separate entrance which could be used as a home office, man cave, yoga room, or pool house. A brick-lined fireplace, white-washed wood paneling, beamed ceiling, decorative glass windows, and a Dutch door add ambience to this flexible space.
Brick patios surround the homeâ€™s swimmerâ€™s pool. Here thereâ€™s the opportunity for large gatherings on a lounge deck and outdoor living and dining areas. Mature landscaping envelopes the property, providing a privacy shield.
Out front, the propertyâ€™s 2-car garage/enclosed car port is accessed via a brick driveway that provides additional off-street parking.
Entertainment industry veterans who have owned other Fred Smathers homes in The Hills include Oscar winner Kevin Costner, presenter Ryan Seacrest, Oscar-winning director Quentin Tarantino, award-winning â€œExorcistâ€ director William Friedkin, Oscar winner Richard Dreyfuss, former â€œTonight Show with Johnny Carsonâ€ band leader Doc Severinsen, L.A. news icon Kelly Lange, and â€™80s pop idol Richard Marx to name a few. 2801 La Castana Drive has had its share of Smathers entertainment biz activity: This home was once owned by prolific songwriter/producer, Richie Zito, who worked with Cher, Diana, and Elton. Zito produced 38 “charting” singles in his career. One of the residenceâ€™s current owners is a film and television director.
La Castana Drive itself is currently dotted with celebrity residents and has always been a place where Hollywoodâ€™s elite hunker for some down time.