Mad Mansion


Los Angeles is home to some of the most legendary celebrity mansions in history, but one estate with an even more glamorous history has just hit the marker. Luke Thomas finds out more.

Frank Sinatra’s former seven-acre estate on a hilltop in Chatsworth, Los Angeles, which he rented in the 1950s and ’60s, has gone on the market for $12.5 million.

The legendary musician hosted a who’s who of celebrity in the abode, including Marilyn Monroe, who reportedly stayed in his guest house for several years. Old Blue Eyes gave the property its original claim to fame, but the number of stars, past and present, who’ve lived, stayed or worked at this secluded midcentury gem is nearly too many to name.

Three seasons of Mad Men and the now defunct E! series The Arrangement were filmed at the property. Rihanna, Usher, Mariah Carey and Mary J. Blige, have all shot music videos there.

Says Barrie Livingstone, a listing agent with The Agency; "It was Beyonce’s house in the 2006 movie Dreamgirls, and Halle Berry emerged from the home’s swimming pool in the 2001 thriller Swordfish, and past seasons of Law and Order have also used the location.”

"It’s a working house, with production companies sometimes busing in as many as 300 people and paying $25,000 a day to use the site,” explains Barrie.

Even without the estate’s stunning architecture, its storied past and expansive, private acreage have would have helped make it a prime production spot. It’s also zoned into camera-friendly Los Angeles, as opposed to Beverly Hills or Malibu, which put caps on the number of days a project can film on a given property.

An heiress to the Chase Manhattan Bank fortune commissioned architect William Pereira to build the house in the late 1940s, and the unique construction of single-pour concrete and earthquake-proof rubber pilings made the home a prototype of sorts for Pereira’s iconic Transamerica building, which was built in San Francisco 20 years later, Mr. Livingstone said.

The Los Angeles property sits at the end of a winding drive around three-quarters of a mile long—a distance that earned the estate its original name "Farragone" (a combination of far and gone, the listing agent said). It’s now being marketed as the "Byrdview" home.

The mid-century main house features airy, unembellished white walls broken up by warm wood accents, including built-in shelves. Its 16-foot floor-to-ceiling windows make the outside the focal point from inside and provide panoramic views over the grounds, pool and an extended pergola-covered terrace, images of the home show.

In total, there are seven bedrooms and nine bathrooms on the compound, which hasn’t changed hands in decades, according to property records.

It’s the first time in three years that the long-time owners have toyed with selling the home. It was most recently for sale in 2015 for $12 million.

Four of the seven acres comprise flat, buildable land, which would allow the next owner to create an equestrian facility or second, larger guest house, according to the listing.

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