Rumored to have once been occupied by Brat Pack actor Judd Nelson, this Hollywood Hills house in the Cahuenga Pass neighborhood pocket was designed by noted modernist architect William Kesling. Originally built in 1935 and now owned by a local L.A. trauma surgeon, the streamline moderne structure has been meticulously preserved over the years, while simultaneously updated and expanded via the addition of an accessory structure. Now asking $2.1 million, the entire place — essentially two separate houses — is connected via a cantilevered, enclosed walkway.
“I would say one of the greatest moments of the home is the super-cool addition by Mills Studio in 2002,” says listing agent Julia Allos of Deasy Penner Podley. “Whenever I take buyers to the bottom level, all I hear is ‘Wow.’ The design was so forward-thinking and artful. It plays off of the ’60s, as well as being very current. You kind of feel like you’re in a James Bond movie as you discover and walk through it.”
Known as the Estes Residence, the original structure is one of only 15 single-family homes designed by Kesling during the early 1930s still standing in L.A.; that includes a spot in the historic Fairfax district built for Oscar-winning actor Wallace Beery in 1936, along with the side-by-side art deco-style Vanderpool and Skinner residences on Silver Lake’s Easterly Terrace.
Arrested on fraud charges in 1936, Kesling was sentenced to two years probation and prohibited from working in the construction industry. He later resurfaced in San Diego, designing privately commissioned houses, including a 1946 cliffside dwelling in La Jolla for Walton McConnell that was captured by famed photographer Julius Shulman and featured in Life magazine.
Nestled amid a hillside, on a heavily wooded 0.15-acre corner lot, the stucco and green-trimmed house boasts a striking exterior marked by the original steel casement windows. It’s fronted by a grassy yard and driveway that empties into a one-car garage; inside, just over 2,000 square feet of light-filled living space includes three bedrooms and three bathrooms — one containing a Roman tub and glass block walls in keeping with the architect’s original design.