Back in 1930, noted architect Reginald D. Johnson — best known for his work on Santa Barbara’s Biltmore Hotel and Pasadena’s Hale Solar Laboratory — was commissioned to create this impressive Georgian Colonial Revival-style mansion for insurance agent/contractor Sidney R. Francis, the son of a former Missouri governor, at a cost of around $50,000.
Sited in West Pasadena’s affluent Arroyo Seco neighborhood, overlooking the Colorado State Bridge, the place went on to change hands several times before selling to Richard Diehl in 1986 for just $850,000; now, 36 years later, the orthopedic surgeon and his wife Kathy are placing the historic property up for sale with listing agents Ted Clark and Heather Lillard of Compass, asking $10.8 million.
Resting on a heavily wooded parcel that spans over an acre, and meticulously preserved and updated through the years, the brick and stone-accented main house has five bedrooms and nine baths in just over 10,400 square feet of living space on three levels. Out-buildings include an 800-square-foot poolhouse and children’s playhouse.
A gated and tree-lined driveway empties out at a motorcourt and two-car garage, with the wide walkway passing through a manicured front lawn dotted with differing shades of roses and up to a front door topped by a stone pediment and relief. From there, the main level features a double-height entry hall displaying a grand spiral staircase, and a peach-hued living room boasting a bay window, wood-burning fireplace and dual French doors leading out to a side garden.
Among the other highlights: a paneled, pine-colored study sporting a black marble fireplace and built-in bookshelves (you might remember it from a scene in the 2009 film “The Hangover”), and a loggia that spills out to an awning-topped patio bedecked with lanterns. There’s also a formal dining room with a fireplace and butler’s pantry, as well as a kitchen outfitted with professional-grade appliances and an accompanying breakfast nook.
All five of the bedrooms can be found upstairs, including a sumptuous master suite offering a fireplace, dual baths and a vast walk-in closet. Also on this floor are three additional ensuite bedrooms, plus a fifth bedroom bathed in crimson that’s currently being used as a den; the amenities continue on the basement level, where there’s a wine cellar and tasting room, along with a walk-in safe.
Particularly standing out is the picturesque backyard, which holds an expansive grassy lawn that slopes down to a pool and spa enveloped by a brick sundeck. An adjacent ivy-covered poolhouse is adorned with a trio of Palladian doors, with a flight of stairs off to the side heading up to an al fresco entertaining area hosting a fireplace, barbecue and some pretty breathtaking views.