A well-maintained, late-1950’s mid-century modern residence privately tucked up into the affluent foothills above Pasadena, Calif., changed hands for the first time in almost fifty years and property records indicate it was purchased for $3.6 million — a good bit below its $4.125 million asking price — by a corporate entity tied to prodigiously talented and always self-deprecatingly faux-humble Hollywood legend Meryl Streep and her sculptor husband Don Gummer. A pretty, tree-covered drive makes a long sweep up to the unassuming yet enigmatic low-slung residence designed by award-winning but little known mid-century architects Whitney Smith & Wayne Williams. Built in 1959 along one of Pasadena’s most prestigious streets above the rugged Arroyo Seco River bed where it has a tree-framed view of the iconic Colorado Street Bridge — a.k.a. Suicide Bridge for the large number of people who have leaped to their deaths from it, the multi-winged residence sits on almost two acres with three bedrooms and three bathrooms in 3,087-square-feet.
A skylight-topped foyer has unusual pebble-patterned original terrazzo underfoot that switches to honey-toned hardwood floorboards laid at a 45-degree angle in the cavernous combination living and dining room. Exposed cinderblock walls provide a rigid visual geometry to the airy space that has a double-height ceiling clad in narrow wood planks, a terrazzo accented raised hearth fireplace and two solid walls of glass at opposite ends of the room that fill the room with light and open to pebble-stone terraces under deep, shade-making roof overhangs. The kitchen and bathrooms retain vintage fittings and are probably headed for a thorough restoration or, more likely, a complete replacement and a slender corridor leads to the bedroom wing where one bedroom has a private office or sitting room and at least two bedrooms have floor-to-ceiling windows and direct access to a shared bathroom.
Discreetly positioned behind another house and completely invisible from the street, the property’s sprawling grounds are dotted with mature shade trees and possessed of open vistas over Pasadena to the San Gabriel Mountains. The property additionally includes a small, detached office/studio and a lagoon-style pool nestled into an un-landscaped slope below the front of the house where it’s surrounded by rustic boulders and towering Eucalyptus trees.
Streep, a three-time Oscar winner who stars opposite Tom Hanks as formidable newspaperwoman Katherine “Kay” Graham in Steven Spielberg’s historical docudrama “The Post” about The Washington Post’s publishing of the Pentagon Papers in the 1970s, and Gummer, an accomplished constructivist sculptor who recently had a sizable piece commissioned for the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, once owned a townhouse in New York City’s Greenwich Village they bought in 1995 for $2.175 million and sold in 2005 for $9.1 million to recently deceased Johnson & Johnson heiress Elizabeth “Libet” Johnson. The townhouse has since changed hands a couple of times and is now owned by countess turned high-end frozen food entrepreneur Elisabeth de Kergolay who has listed at $24.5 million after first setting it out for sale with a way too rosy $35 million price tag.
Nowadays, the East Coast-based Streep-Gummers preside over a nearly 90-acre spread arranged around a large, private pond near the historic town of Salisbury in picturesque Litchfield County, Conn., and they maintain a 6,174-square-foot penthouse in a full-service condo complex in New York City’s Tribeca neighborhood they picked up in 2006 for $10.131 million.
listing photos: Sotheby’s International Realty