A lovely Monterey Colonial-style mansion in the genteel, quietly swank community of San Marino has become available with a $10.9 million asking price. Set on a fashionable street in the best neighborhood pocket of town, the 1927 Robert Ainsworth design appears in top-notch shape after a comprehensive update and restoration by the current owner, celebrity chef-turned-business mogul Joachim Splichal.
Invisible from the street, cloistered behind a riotous array of full-grown hedge plants and towering evergreen trees, the sumptuous estate is accessed via a vibrant, candy apple red driveway gate. There’s garage parking for three vehicles, a sizable motorcourt, and sprawling, pancake flat lawns that surround the sophisticated home.
Inside, the nearly century-old structure has clearly been modernized, though original architectural details — coffered ceilings, wood-paneled walls, window shutters and the classic second-floor balcony — remain. Contemporary luxury amenities include dark chocolate-colored hardwood floors, an all-new kitchen with designer stainless appliances, a media room and master suite with spa-style bath and fireplace.
Sets of glassy French doors provide convenient access to the oak tree-shaded central brick courtyard, equipped with a central fountain and colorful Portuguese tile, both features original to the property. Beyond the courtyard, accessible via a wrought iron gate, lies a sparkling pool with lustrous Mediterranean blue tiles and an open-air loggia charmingly overgrown by a flowering bougainvillea plant.
Done up in a Provençal French Country style, the ivy-covered guesthouse — located just beyond the pool — features its own kitchen and media room, a titanic, chartreuse green-colored great room with exposed wood ceiling beams, decadent hardwood floors and two additional bedrooms and baths, one of the latter equipped with lavender-hued cabinets and a sauna.
The .82-acre estate additionally includes numerous tree species — magnolia, olive, oak and more — and a vegetable garden, plus an outdoor hot tube with waterfall feature. It appears Splichal acquired the property way back in 1995 for an unrecorded sum; tax records suggest he paid something south of $2 million.
Located in the San Gabriel Valley just south of Pasadena, San Marino has long been regarded as a bastion of tasteful architecture and whisper-quiet, old money-style wealth. Though not a typical celebrity destination, there are a healthy handful of famous folks in the surrounding area — “Avengers: Endgame” director Anthony Russo, Meryl Streep, Oscar de la Hoya, Erika Girardi and Kristen Wiig among them.
Now in his mid-60s, the German-born Splichal remains one of L.A.’s best-known chefs. He presides over Patina Restaurant Group, a veritable eatery empire that includes more than 75 restaurants and employs a reported 6,500 people. Though he sold the company in 2014, Splichal has retained his title of founder and chef, guiding the business through the challenge of growth in a finicky, trend-driven industry.