If you ever wanted one house to live in and another home on your property devoted to entertaining, make your way to Southern California.
“The previous owners (Adelaide and Alec Hixon) who lived in the property were one of the founders of Harvey Mudd College,” explains listing agent Anthony Guthmiller. “They bequeathed this property in a living trust to the college … because they wanted all of the proceeds of the sale to go to the college.”
Adelaide died in November 2019 at the age of 101. Now, the college is selling the prestigious parcel.
The two homes are midcentury modern designs, and the larger of the two is a party palace that measures about 6,500 square feet. The other home comes in at around 2,500 square feet.
Architect Thornton Ladd designed the smaller of the homes in 1954. This single-story home was built for Ladd’s mother. The Hixons purchased it from Ladd in 1969 and used it as their residence.
“It’s a glass pavilion in style. There are terrazzo floors throughout the entire property,” says Guthmiller.
Nature plays a large role in the Ladd-designed home.
“It has four different water elements. There’s a reflecting pond on the side of the entrance, there’s a double-sized swimming pool, and next to the swimming pool is a Japanese waterfall and water element that obviously needs to be restored,” Guthmiller says.
Architect A. Quincy Jones designed the larger house in 1973, and it’s now on the market for the first time. Jones is known for designing the Sunnylands estate in Palm Springs for Walter and Leonore Annenberg.
Jones designed the house for the Hixons with open courtyards, natural elements, and a bonsai tree.
“No one has ever lived in the home long term. It always [was] an entertaining home for them,” Guthmiller explains.
The home has three bedrooms, six bathrooms, a kitchen, and plenty of storage areas for items like dishes and wine.
“They threw a lot of charity events, fundraisers, personal parties. The view from every place in this house lends itself completely to entertaining.”
The Jones-designed home is made of glass and metal and boasts high ceilings and clean lines. A huge fireplace sits in the middle of one large room, which usually served as the cocktail area for parties, Guthmiller explains.
“It looks more like a commercial property because of the scale of it, but that’s how it was used,” he says. “It was actually very much like a gallery featuring their art.”
Glass doors open to many courtyards, gardens, waterfalls, and koi pond. They also allow for soaking in the surrounding views.
“They’re incomparable. They’re just amazing. They capitalized on that,” Guthmiller explains of the vistas.
“I’ve seen a lot of views over the years and none like this one,” says co-listing agent Gus Ruelas. “You’re at the south end of the Arroyo, where you have the Rose Bowl, so you can see the Rose Bowl and beyond the Rose Bowl to the two golf courses adjacent to the Rose Bowl, all the way up to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It’s an expansive view, one of the best anywhere in Pasadena.”
While the views might be spectacular, both homes will require a bit of work to bring them into the 21st century.
“It needs a fresh update for appliances and things like that. The structure itself is amazing. It’s more of how you would want to update it for today’s living,” Ruelas says. “There isn’t anyone that’s going to buy these two and not consider the fact that they’re going to spend quite a bit of money renovating and creating something that works just for them.”
Both agents say these homes have received a lot of interest from potential buyers. However, Guthmiller says, this marvelous modern compound lacks something many other notable estates have: a distinctive moniker. He then compared the property offering to the likes a mythical creature.
“This house doesn’t have a name because it has never been on the market. This is a unicorn private home that is so unique and literally has been hidden away for 50 years.”