When David Parnes of “Million Dollar Listing: Los Angeles” offers to show you one of the most intriguing properties it represents, go for it.
Not because he insists. His impeccable British manners prevent harassment. Rather, it’s because it’s going to show you something you’ve never seen before and probably never will.
Parnes and his partner, a British compatriot, James harris, stars on the popular reality show Bravo, and manages sales for some of LA’s legendary mansions, including what is commonly known as Spelling Manor.
Their total trading volume in the first year of the pandemic, 2020, was $ 290,231,500. So far in 2021, they have already amassed over $ 500 million in sales.
A Slice of Beverly Hills History
So when Parnes says he has something special to show me, I just jump in his Rolls and go for it.
The classic Beverly Hills estate he had up his sleeve, built in 1931 and listed for $ 24,995,000, did not disappoint.
As we walked through the hills, Parnes explained that this house was once owned by Paramount Pictures. It was used by the studio for glamorous private functions, as well as to house stars and executives who were not based in the Los Angeles area.
It belongs to the estate of fire Charles Fries, a producer who has worked on film and television projects including the television series “The Amazing Spider-Man”.
One of his films, “Troop Beverly Hills”, was based on the experiences that Fries’ wife, Ava Ostern fries, had with the Beverly Hills Girl Scout Troop that she founded. Much of the inspiration for the film comes from events that happened on this very property.
Parnes and I both love properties with an elegant Hollywood history. While the shiny glass and steel boxes that have sprung up in Los Angeles neighborhoods are dazzling, there is something heartwarming and refined about old properties.
“This house has so much Old World charm,” Parnes tells me. “It’s full of moments.”
He’s not wrong.
Inside the doors
I felt extremely privileged as we entered the grounds through ornate wrought iron gates.
A winding brick driveway took us up the hill to the parking lot. From there we had a nice view of the recreational portion of the 1.19 acre lot which includes a full size swimming pool and tennis court.
Parnes started our visit very cleverly in perhaps the most elegantly vintage part of the estate, the poolhouse / lounge / bar designed by the famous architect. Paul williams. I found myself dreaming of a 1940s swimsuit and a Bellini.
Then we went up the stairs and entered the 13,000 square foot primary residence. From the entrance it was supremely staged, not only with period furniture, but with fresh flowers, scented candles and tableware from Limoges, Cartier and Baccarat.
Consider a night in
I couldn’t help but imagine myself in a strapless cocktail dress, long gloves, and a tiara, entertaining alike dressed deans of society and their tuxedoed husbands in the plush living room.
After cocktails, we could go down to the elegant home theater room to enjoy a screening of an old favorite.
Later, a game of poker began in the living room.
Those who preferred to relax rather than compete gathered by the fireside in the living room, sipping the vintage of their choice from the well-stocked wine cellar.
And when all the guests were gone, I would retire upstairs to the luxurious master bedroom.
Maybe the maid would draw me a bath infused with rose petals.
When I wake up from my dreams, I must point out that it is not just a leisure house. I was intrigued by the desk belonging to Mrs. Fries.
Not just because it’s light, bright and efficient, with lovely views and patio doors leading out to one of the many verandas.
It has another trump card: what could be one of Beverly Hills’ original glam rooms. A woman should have quick and easy access to beauty at all times.
Renovations will be necessary
While he loves the elegance of the six-bedroom, 10-bathroom estate, Parnes is aware that no property is perfect.
“There is work to be done to update it,” he says.
Some rooms were renovated in the 1980s and may need restoration. A buyer will likely want to bring the entire mansion up to modern standards and efficiency while preserving nods to its history.
The kitchen is a good example. It was last renovated at a time when kitchens were used for food preparation and not necessarily for socializing. A brighter and more open future is likely to be ahead.
The intimidating idea of the upcoming renovations is counterbalanced by the sight of the lavish gardens, which would be impossible to replicate. This type of property, with its expansive terraces, patios, gardens, courtyards, lawns and, perhaps most spectacular of all, views, is simply unique.
It’s easy to see the grounds filled with happy guests walking around, enjoying any kind of celebration you could imagine.
Parnes and I both hope that the estate sells to someone who cherishes its history and restores it, rather than tearing it down and building a modern steel and glass cube in its place. But as a listing agent, he can only hope.
We could easily have stayed all day on the estate, fantasizing about its endless possibilities. But we had to move on, so he could show me what might just be the polar opposite of this house.
James harris and David Parnes of the Agency and Jade mills of Coldwell Banker International Realty Beverly Hills have the list.