If nothing else, 2020 has been an exciting year for fans of midcentury modernist master Richard Neutra. A bumper crop of his greatest works — many of them astonishingly well-preserved — have come up for sale, architectural treasures located everywhere from Palm Springs to Connecticut, and from Santa Monica to Montecito.
Just in time for the holidays, another Neutra gem has popped up on the open market, this one located in L.A.’s tony Bel Air neighborhood. Built in 1954 for Neutra’s clients Richard and Clare Hammerman, the house is sited atop a high knoll with stunning city views, behind a long gated driveway. The Hammermans sold the place decades ago, and a subsequent owner hired Neutra disciple John Bertram to renovate and expand the house, while keeping its original design spirit intact. Today, the glassy structure has just over 4,300 square feet of living space, with four bedrooms and 5.5 baths.
Last sold in May 2019 for $7.2 million, the house is now owned by an entity linked to a “His Royal Highness S.A.A. bin Abdulaziz Alsaud,” according to records. Given that estimates indicate there are 15,000 members of the House of Saud, Saudi Arabia’s royal family, it’s not entirely clear which prince owns the Neutra prize, or what the initials S.A.A. represent, but the owner quite obviously ranks as one of the wealthiest Alsaud family members of all.
At the same time he acquired the Neutra house, His Highness also dropped an additional $45 million in cash for the monster mansion next door, a contemporary extravaganza that includes one of L.A.’s most outrageous backyard swimming pools. Reports from last year said he planned to use the the bigger estate as his primary residence, while the Neutra house would be utilized for staff and guest housing.
In any case, His Highness’s plans have clearly changed, and he no longer requires this accessory property, which has been left mostly vacant since last year. For $8.9 million, a modernist fan can acquire the house and its half-acre hillside lot, which also includes subtropical landscaping and a backyard pool.
Inside, the mostly muted furnishings give precedence to he long banks of floor-to-ceiling windows. Open-concept living offers a great room with a dining area and den, and glass sliders open to a long balcony. There are two master bedrooms, both with head-on views toward the bustling city, plus a terrazzo-slathered master bath and a walk-in closet.
Other amenities include a laundry room and maid’s quarters. While the steeply sloped backyard isn’t particularly huge, it does feature a very private al fresco entertaining deck surrounding a dark-bottomed plunge pool.