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The Van Pelt Estate at 2131-2149 Lyric Avenue in Los Feliz’s Franklin Hills

Welcome to the “John A. Van Pelt Residence. A 2 ½ acre compound with no less than five residential structures, twelve fireplaces, eight fountains, parking for fourteen cars, and one glorious pool all perched atop Los Feliz’s Franklin Hills.

2131-2149 Lyric Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Offering at $12,000,000
Bedrooms: 8
Bathrooms: 8
Square Feet: 6,493
Lot Size: 2.61 acres

If you have ever hiked the streets of this quiet and desirable neighborhood you may have come across this private and gated driveway and wondered what was hidden up that long driveway. Now is your chance to find out. This property, in fact, debuts on the market for the first time in over 45 years. Now, at long last, this historic estate and its fascinating Hollywood history has been rediscovered and revealed.

The story of this remarkable property takes us back one hundred years and includes a variety of household names from the early days of Hollywood cinema. John Van Pelt was a renowned music professor and arranger of sacred choral music. Wonderful images can still be found of Van Pelt leading a choir of 1000 singers at the Hollywood Bowl in 1931.

In the late 1920s and early 1930s, Van Pelt and his brother Belford were also investing in California real estate and had purchased a large swath of the eastern Los Feliz hillside — on a street that the musical Van Pelt would come to name, “Lyric Avenue.” Another avenue in the development was named for his wife, the successful actress Myra Marsh, known for her roles in The Man from the Alamo (1953) and I Love Lucy (1951). Myra’s pool parties were legendary and included a roster of Hollywood stars including Lucille Ball and Bette Davis. John Van Pelt subdivided the Los Feliz tract into 71 parcels, keeping the largest, Lot 8, for himself and his wife. As you can see below, it is much larger than the other lots that surround it. Once you make your way up the long and private drive you feel immediately transported into another era. The Van Pelt Estate is completely hidden from the street. Each of the five dwellings in the compound has been built in the English Storybook style but include many other architectural elements that are sure to captivate and entertain. The main residence has affectionately been named “Whimsy Hall.”

Van Pelt was also a noted preservationist and salvaged old ship parts, burnt lumber, and historic clinker brick materials from LA cable cars demolition to create his magical, dreamlike estate. Whimsy Hall features the anchor, banister ropes and oars from Jack London’s boat “The Snark.”

Whimsy Hall consists of three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a separate guest quarters.

The rustic and impressive living room offers a virtual cavalcade of art and creativity. The stone fireplace, hardwood and brick floors, the terrific wood beamed ceiling, and bookshelves create an enticing atmosphere. At once classic, Bohemian, and surely only to be found in Los Angeles.

A charming cook’s kitchen features outdoor access through a wood door with a port hole.

The first bedroom in the main residence has lovely wood beamed ceilings with brick accents and excellent views of the surrounding compound.

The bathrooms have been stylishly updated yet maintain a vintage appearance with gorgeous and unique tiles.

The second and third bedrooms have quirks and charms all their own.

The main house also contains a one-of-a-kind wine cellar, a meat locker, and a chauffeur’s rooom.

Incredible outdoor spaces abound at this property including the main house’s great outdoor kitchen and entertaining terrace.

Down the way you will find the legendary pool and pool house.

The pool showcases Hieroglyph graphics.

And the great pool provides plenty of privacy and is sure to be a hit with friends, family, and certain revelers throughout the year.

The five residential buildings are privately spaced and are separated by stone pathways, fountains, and lush banana, blood orange, navel orange, pink grapefruit, pomelo and pomegranate trees. The large property provides ample space for exploring. Van Pelt also reclaimed clinker bricks from the LA cable car demolition to build his many walls and stone paths. There is simply an endless amount of astonishing stories of a singular surviving kingdom.

Each of the homes have enchanting names like Windjammer Cottage, Sea Rover Cottage, Sea Horse Lodge, and Star Sailor Manor.

Its next owner may want to live in one of the dwellings and rent the other four. This extraordinary property presents a number of options. The property could be come an exclusive writer’s retreat, a luxurious getaway destination, or a sanctuary of solitude.

In the mid 1970’s, Van Pelt’s son sold the property to a “fiercely private person,” who devoted his life to upgrading the property while preserving its storied history.

Along the way, the cast of characters that made up the tenants and guests are a story all their own. One former tenant hosted dinners with Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, serenades with oboist Umberto Luccarelli, and closing night parties for Nixon in China with Peter Sellars.

Another residence on the property was leased by a famous actor who received visits from Groucho Marx, as he collected the comedian’s necktie collection. The names of some of the more infamous or controversial tenants of the property remain under wraps.

Now, in 2020, The Van Pelt Estate is now ready to begin the next chapter of its remarkable story. This home is work of art. You can make it yours.

If you would like to view The Van Pelt Estate, call me today at (323) 697-3040 or email me at jacqueline.tager@sothebyshomes.com.

Listing provided courtesy of Patricia Ruben, Sotheby’s International Realty.

Jacqueline Tager | CalBre#: 1476997
jacqueline.tager@sothebyshomes | (323) 697-3040
Sotheby’s International Realty – Los Feliz Brokerage
1801 N Hillhurst Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90027

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