The San Gabriel Valley’s charming city of Pasadena is full of architectural treasures, and one of the best-kept midcentury secrets in town recently trundled onto the open market for the first time in decades. Designed by local architect John Galbraith and completed in 1956, the flat-roofed house last sold in 1963 — for well under $150,000, according to tax records — and remained in the same family until this month, when the sublime time capsule transferred for nearly $2.4 million in a bidding war.
Property records reveal the buyer is an entity easily linked to Christian Karlsson, the Swedish DJ, songwriter, and record producer who’s the Bloodshy half of the famed Bloodshy & Avant, the pop music power couple who have produced and co-written hit tunes with the likes of Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, Katy Perry and Kylie Minogue. But the team, which also includes fellow Swede Pontun Winnberg, are still probably best-known for their longtime association with Britney Spears, for whom they created enduring fan favorite earworms like “Piece of Me,” “Radar,” and “Freakshow.” Their biggest success, however, was 2003’s international smash “Toxic,” which won Spears a Grammy and has frequently been acclaimed as one of the best songs of the aughts.
Though it’s 60-odd years old, the timeless Galbraith design still manages to look current. Located in a semi-remote gated community in the Pasadena’s northeast corner, and additionally tucked up behind a long driveway, the house sports vertical redwood paneling inside and out, and the interior is defined by a huge double-sided fireplace slathered in Bouquet Canyon stone that effectively bisects the living and dining rooms. Walls of glass blur the line between indoors and out in a quintessentially SoCal manner, while the family room offers a stunning redwood bar for convenient boozing.
For its part, the still-chic kitchen looks like something straight out of “Mad Men,” with mahogany cabinetry and pure white countertops. There are three bedrooms in the home, one of which offers a built-in desk and fireplace, plus two full bathrooms and two half baths, all of them in the same pristine condition as the rest of the home.
Most of the public rooms have direct access to the backyard through glass sliders, where a concrete patio spills out to a nearly-rectangular swimming pool with rounded edges. Through-the-treetops views take in a sizable swath of the San Gabriel Valley, and somewhere on the 1.5-acre property is a 500 sq. ft. shed that could be covered into an office, or perhaps a music studio.
Now in his 40s, Karlsson has been active in the music industry for decades, though his biggest success as a producer came dyuring Bloodshy & Avant’s heyday in the mid-aughts, when Spears was arguably at her professional peak. Since then, he’s co-founded record label INGRID and indie pop bands Miike Snow and the Grammy-nominated Galantis, with whom he’s performed at major events and festivals around the world, including multiple Coachella appearances.
Records reveal this $2.4 million new acquisition is not Karlsson’s only home in the Pasadena area. Since fall 2016, when he bought it for $2.6 million, the musical Swede has owned another historic midcentury modern home in a different neighborhood pocket of Pasadena.