Private Retreat in Hidden Valley
Surrounded by magnificent equestrian properties and nestled at the foot of the Santa Monica Mountains, this approximately twenty-six acre Hidden Valley property is an enclave of spectacular natural beauty. The ecosystem has intentionally been left largely undisturbed; a gently rolling terrain is populated with a wide variety of native oaks, redwoods, pepper trees, pines, elms and ash and is the backdrop for a unique compound of vintage barns, charming guest houses and state of the art equestrian facilities.
Discrete entry gates open to reveal a panorama across oak-leaf covered meadows, dramatically highlighted by immense natural stone boulders that create a virtual sculptural garden. Along the western edge of the property is a stacked stone fence reminiscent of Andy Goldsworthy’s installations. Immediately to the left of the entry gates is the north-south facing tennis court and the property’s original windmill. As the entry drive continues a Dressage arena and Judging Stand is located off to the right. Further up the drive is the heart of the property, located just past the grass and dirt turnouts that are adjacent to the stable.
One’s eye is immediately drawn to the two Vintage Barns that serve as the social hub and center of the property. A large bell stands nearby to call family and guests to meals and activities. Known charmingly as the Art and Romantic barns, they vividly recall the property’s rural California past. The larger Art Barn benefits from high pitch trestle beam ceilings, jalousie windows at the ridge line allow it to remain refreshingly cool in summer. The walls are white washed and the floor remains the original poured concrete. A large seating area, tables for cards or puzzles, a long and inviting dining table and a full service kitchen make this the ideal setting for country breakfasts, leisurely Sunday luncheons and romantic evening dinners. Large sliding barn doors open up to create a magical indoor-outdoor room. Stone steps descend from the barn to another wonderful outdoor entertainment area. The interior of the Romantic Barn has deconstructed walls that expose the original natural hewn timbers and siding. More subdued and masculine in ambiance this is the game room par excellence. Competitive ping pong competitions or an eventual billiard table would make this the rousing site for evening fun. Hanging basket lanterns outside the Romantic barn create a magical outdoor room under the warm, starry California sky. Both barns given their generous and gracious floor plans make them particularly well suited for large scale entertaining.
Four delightful cottages provide privacy and independence for family and guests. Number 5 benefits from a wide screened front porch, the living room which comprises a sitting, dining and kitchen area represents the perfect marriage between modern convenience and farmhouse country charm. Walls are painted white and floors stained dark – carpets are sisal and drapery materials are all of natural fibers with a consistent color palette of neutrals and creams in all of the cottages. Number 6 is the largest cottage with a long rectangular living area with wood burning fireplace, dining and kitchen area. An oversized bedroom includes a sitting area with fireplace; the spacious bath and separate shower are clad in natural sandstone.
Another outdoor sitting area is located between cottages 5 and 6. Number 7 is attached to a large carport and is equally well designed for comfortable, casual living. Number 8 is located on the highest site on the property and remains distinctively private. Once again a living, dining and kitchen area is featured. This cottage enjoys a large outdoor entertainment and lounge area off the living area, and the bedroom has a spacious wrap around porch. All cottages are equipped with full working kitchens, washer and dryer units, wine refrigerators and air conditioning. Cottage exteriors are deep slate/putty gray stucco, with a lightly textured trowel finish.
The property abounds with walking paths that continue up into the Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area where there are endless hiking and riding trails. There are numerous sitting areas throughout the property where one can admire the magnificent stands of trees and reflect on the peace and calm of nature’s bounty. A pergola is the perfect place for an alfresco luncheon; a screened tree house is a wonderful respite to curl up with a favorite book. Whether sitting in basket chairs hanging from a stately oak or laying on chaise lounges in an open meadow, one is continually invited to discover new vistas across the property. A peaceful screened Yoga studio is also located on a secluded site overlooking the property. Should additional lodging become necessary in the future, there is a large level, centrally located building site.
The modern stable features twelve original stalls that have been converted into six oversized double stalls. Floors throughout are paved in rubber tiles. Several of the stalls are now the backdrop for collections of both French and American 19th Century decorative arts. The stable also has both a large tack and storage rooms. To further enhance the rustic character of the property, antique corrugated tin panels were installed on the roof.
The Property Office, utility rooms and guest bathroom are conveniently located in a low rise building directly across from the Romantic and Art Barns. Adjacent to the stable but located at a discrete distance from the Art and Romantic Barns are four cottages that are currently being used for resident staff housing and office facilities. In this service area is a large Hay Barn as well as a storage and garage facility.
Artistic lighting has been thoughtfully incorporated throughout the entire property. As evening falls, majestic oaks and pines are subtly washed in soft pools of light and pathways to the cottages appear magically out of the dark.
A mere fifty minutes from the bustle of Los Angeles, this glorious and truly unique property is the ideal setting for either a large family compound; or a private corporate retreat. The resident family of deer that freely roam the property, the whisper of the breeze through the canopy of stately trees, and access to both hiking and horse trails throughout the adjacent Santa Monica Mountains make this the perfect property to reconnect with the serenity of nature’s pristine beauty.