The period between 1920 and 1940 is known as the “Golden Age” of Southern California architecture. During this relatively brief window, highly skilled craftsmen and high-quality building materials were in plentiful supply, as were well-heeled clients, all of which would be made scarce by the Great Depression and World War II. Among the architects most popular with the money-is-no-object crowd during this period was Gordon B. Kaufmann, whose client roster was filled with such illustrious names as Doheny, Chandler, and Adamson.
In 1927, Kaufmann was commissioned to design a residence for Harry L. Thompson and his wife, Anna Lambert Thompson. Together with his business partner, steel magnate John Lambert (who was Anna’s father), Thompson held a controlling interest in several Pasadena hotels. The Thompsons’ Palladian-style villa was constructed not far from the palatial estate of Henry and Arabella Huntington — now the Huntington Library, Museum, and Botanical Gardens — and is just as impressive today as it was a century ago.
Occupying a lot of just over one acre, the villa disperses nine bedrooms and the same number of bathrooms within three levels. Public spaces include a vast drawing room with Italian marble fireplace and ceiling murals hand-painted by Giovanni Smeraldi, a dining room with lovely wallpaper by Zuber & Cie, and a walnut-paneled library with a hidden, Prohibition-era bar-room. Other sumptuous features include Palladian archways, marble and tile floors, elaborate moldings and plaster work, coffered ceilings, French doors, an elevator, and a stunning loggia with groin-vaulted arches, painted tile, and original cast-iron lanterns.
Among the estate’s exterior amenities are a swimming pool and spa, a lighted north/south-facing tennis court, and a garage with space for six cars. There’s also a one-bedroom guest house with kitchen and family room.
The pedigreed property has been owned by the same family since 1984, but is now available with an asking price of $12.5 million. Brent Chang of the Chang Group at Compass holds the listing.