Gustavo Dudamel, the exuberant, indefatigable and famously kinky-haired conductor of the internationally acclaimed Los Angeles Philharmonic, has his comfortably understated if hardly inexpensive home in the Hollywood Hills up for grabs at $5.1 million. The Venezuelan-born classical music supernova, named music director of the L.A. Phil in 2009, while still in his late twenties, and signed in 2015 to a contract extension through the 2021-22 season with the added title of artistic director, acquired the property about two-and-a-half years ago, shortly after he and Spanish actor María Valverde were secretly married in Las Vegas, for not quite $4.8 million.
Protected behind gates and set high on a flat, grassy plateau with sweeping, over-the-treetops city views but completely invisible from the street behind a verdant conflagration of foliage, the extensively updated and interestingly angled 1930s traditional is believed to be designed by John Byers, a Santa Monica-based architect and builder known for his penchant for vernacular architecture. Fronted by an inviting red brick veranda, there are four and potentially five bedrooms and four up-to-date bathrooms in the almost 3,800-square-foot residence. A separate guest or staff bedroom and bathroom is attached to a detached two-car garage on a lower portion of the property.
It’s a short hike, via a gently curved flagstone stairway that passes through lushly planted gardens, up from the motor court and garage to the front door. Designed to greet guests in intimate comfort rather than stagger them with unnecessarily cavernous volume, the wood-floored foyer leads to formal living and dining rooms, the former anchored by a huge, brick fireplace and plenty large enough to comfortably accommodate a grand piano. Both rooms spill out to the veranda through French doors. Beyond the dining room, under a vaulted and beamed ceiling, the kitchen is a modern, finely tailored take on a classic farmhouse kitchen with rustic, open shelving stacked with everyday dishware, state-of-the-art designer appliances and a Dutch door in a sun-bathed breakfast area. There are a couple of potential guest bedrooms tucked away on the main floor and two more on the upper level, including the roomy, sun-splashed master suite. Also upstairs, a sun room or potential fifth bedroom provides a cinematic view over the city through a ribbon of windows that encircle the room.
The nearly three-quarter-acre property, a leafy sanctuary just a few minutes from Hollywood, West Hollywood and the Sunset Strip, has meandering gardens and a secluded flagstone terrace tucked into the thickly planted hillside behind the house. A flat lawn extends out from the veranda at the front of the house where listings held by Kennon Earl and Tom Davila of RARE Properties at Compass suggest there is room to add a swimming pool.