The historic, wealthy and sedate Hancock Park and Windsor Square neighborhoods, five or six miles west of downtown Los Angeles, are deservedly well known and much coveted for their broad, tree-lined streets that are chockablock with magnificently maintained and sometimes quite grand homes built in a wide variety of architecturally diverse historic styles. Amid all the stately American Colonials, French Regency villas, baronial Tudors and Mediterranean manses that ooze with dignified affluence hide a smattering of more unassumingly proportioned midcentury residences. One of them, a fastidiously and fashionably updated 1953 California ranch house set on nearly half an acre along a street lined with regal Palm trees, was recently sold for $5.3 million to film financier and Tinseltown scion Roeg Sutherland, youngest of legendary actor Donald Sutherland’s five children and, with Benjamin Kramer, co-head at CAA Media Finance.
Discreetly obscured behind a giant, beautifully languid Elm tree, and fronted by a wide swath of lawn enhanced with simple plantings, the low-slung, roughly 3,600-square-foot home is utterly unobtrusive alongside far more conspicuously capacious Italianate mansions, Nantucket cottages and Monterey Colonials. Re-worked for the contemporary art collecting sellers by dexterous L.A. architect Jeff Guga in a manner that embraces its architectural bones and pulls it squarely into the 21st century with precision craftsmanship, carefully considered materials and a keen sense of light and color, the single-story sprawler contains three bedrooms and two-and-a-half baths, plus a separate guest bedroom and bathroom with both interior and exterior entrances.
Dark-stained and highly glossed wood floors contrast with chalk-white walls and a mildly pitched exposed beam ceiling in the combination living and dining room where a wall of full-height windows allow for a panoramic view over the backyard. A simple, raised hearth fireplace sits at a 45-degree angle to the lounge area, and an off-center skylight bathes the articulated wall behind the dining area in soft shadows and warm light. The just-about-entirely-white eat-in kitchen is a study in high-minimalist utilitarian simplicity with gleaming white counters and cabinets. The family room incorporates a study nook with a cleverly cantilevered desk space and a huge bank of storage cabinets, while a cozy separate library showcases a wood-paneled accent wall opposite a fireplace sheathed in lustrous black ceramic tiles.
Bedrooms are clustered together down a skylight-topped hall off the small entrance hall and include two average-sized guest bedrooms that share a Jack and Jill bathroom sheathed in white penny tiles gussied up with a bold strip of square, bright orange tiles over the double-sink vanity. Another wood-paneled accent wall adorns the principal bedroom that spills out to the backyard through full-height glass doors. A walk-in closet is lined with bespoke wood built-ins, and the cement-grey-walled bathroom offers a classic (and unexpected) claw-footed soaking tub along with a glass-enclosed shower space under a large skylight in the vaulted ceiling.
Tall hedges and mature, strategically placed specimen trees provide verdant privacy in the flat-as-a-pancake backyard. A courtyard garden and dining terrace outside the kitchen and family room has a circular, wishing-well-inspired water feature as its meditative focal point, while the swimming pool’s rectilinear edges are soften with sculpted shrubbery and a row of perfectly pruned trees.
Sutherland, an avid collector of contemporary art and eclectic ephemera, still owns, but would like to sell, his former home, a sophisticated, minimalistically modernized 1920s Mediterranean villa squirreled down a long, gated driveway in a historic pocket of the Hollywood Hills. Tax records show he bought the 4,400-square-foot home in 2014 for almost $3.6 million, and it is currently available at a pinch less than $4.7 million after it first came to market last month at $4.75 million.