After almost a year on the market, Los Feliz’s historic Van Griffith estate has found a new owner. Software heiress-turned-filmmaker and producer Megan Ellison, founder of Annapurna Pictures, has officially handed over the keys of the pedigreed spread to venture capitalist Blake Bartlett.
The charming compound — which Ellison never used as her own private residence, preferring to remain in her secluded Beverly Hills compound — ended up going for the slightly discounted price of $8.3 million, still a tidy profit considering the “American Hustle” producer bought the hillside estate in June 2018 for $7.75 million (in cash) from a not-famous couple who had acquired the property in 2014 for exactly $6 million from Michael “Flea” Balzary of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
The property’s newest owner, Bartlett, is a young, but obviously very successful partner in the venture capital firm OpenView Venture Partners. During his time at the company, he’s led investments into Expensify and Logikcull, among other notable startups. Now, he’s a leading figure presiding over a particularly desirable property in the celeb-favored enclave of Los Feliz.
The Van Griffith estate packs a lot of Tinseltown history into its three-quarter-acre lot. Hidden behind a thick wall of redwood, pine and olive trees, the main house is invisible from the road behind an imposing driveway gate that swings open to a long, sinuous driveway. Built in 1925, the house was originally constructed for the son of Griffith J. Griffith, the mining tycoon who went on to found Los Angeles’ Griffith Park.
Griffith had initially bought the large parcel of land of what would become the park with the intent to divide it up and sell off the parcels off to high-end home buyers. However, the business magnate ran into trouble selling off lots, since locals believed that the land had been cursed by a disgruntled Mexican heiress who felt she’d been cheated out of the vast rancho back in the early 1860s. Griffith eventually ended up ceding most of the land back to the city.
Composed of two separate white stucco structures, the estate boasts a two-story main residence as well as a poolside guesthouse. There are six bedrooms and four full and three half bathrooms between the two self-contained residences. Though fully updated with modern bathrooms and a chef’s kitchen, the main home retains some original details including coved ceilings and over-sized, multi-pane casement windows that let in plenty of natural light. A roomy living room and formal dining room are complemented by an eat-in kitchen and a rooftop deck which features breathtaking views of downtown L.A., Griffith Park and its iconic observatory. The home even has a clandestine, private speakeasy — a remnant of the Prohibition era and all of the boozy brouhaha of the Roaring Twenties. Outside, an elegant loggia shades an outdoor fireplace and dining area perfect for al fresco entertaining.
A winding stone pathway leads guests down to the resort-worthy saltwater swimming pool and a two-bedroom, Montecito-style guesthouse. Beamed ceilings and numerous French doors enhance the cozy poolside hideaway that offers a lounge area with fireplace, a small kitchen with high-end appliances and a skylight-topped library/office. And, if one were to host guests for an extended period of time, the guesthouse also conveniently features its own driveway.