Friday, March 27, 2009

Home Shopping on San Rafael Avenue

As the brochure says, "there is simply no address quite like it in Pasadena..." A South San Rafael Avenue address is an exclusive address. Yesterday I got to take a look at a property for sale at 500 South San Rafael avenue for an unheard of $3,500,000. Does that sound expensive to you? Nah. According to the agent, my friend Jeremy Hardy of Craig Estates and Fine Properties, many properties along that street are worth $6 million or more, even in this economy.

I'm standing on the second floor balcony. You're looking at the pool house, which has a kitchen and bathroom, and can serve as a private guest house. The home itself was built in 1904 by an adventurer named Frederick Burnham, who later served as president of what was then the Southwest Museum, now the Southwest Museum of the American Indian. Mrs. Alice Campbell-Johnston altered the house significantly when she lived there from 1927 to 1942. It doesn't look like a 1904 house at all. (Alice must have been related to Frances Ellen Campbell-Johnston, who built the Church of the Angels nearby.)

I enjoy visiting houses like this and felt lucky I got to see this one. It's a fantastic lot--more than 55,000 square feet. And it's mostly flat, which is unusual for a lot so close to the Arroyo. The back yard is almost completely taken up by a tennis court. When I move in I'm going to take that out and just plant stuff.

Jeremy said the house doesn't have a website. But Redfin has already picked up the MLS listing and there are several pictures. Take a look and you'll get an idea of the place. Here's Jeremy, standing below the balcony where I stood when I shot the pool house pic.
Say hi to my pal!


Shell Sherree said...

{Hi, Jeremy, Pal of Petrea!}

I was sitting here in a state of shock at the price until I read further and found that the first pic was merely the pool house, not the house house. Phew!

Shell Sherree said...

And I should have put "merely" in quotation marks. Merely? {Snort. I should dream of such merely.}

Keith said...

I'll have to pass on the purchase but can I rent the pool house?

Katie said...

Ah, what an enticing pool photo. I don't care what the rest of the house looks like (although I'm sure it's fabulous), I'm with Keith -- I'd happily just take the pool house. With the pool of course. If the new owners have kids, maybe they'd want a live-in lifeguard. My credentials have lapses, but I could be re-certified by the time they close!

Kelly said...

A lovely property! That pool looks really welcoming to one stuck in the still-too-chilly-for-shorts midwest.

altadenahiker said...

You lucky duck.

Trish said...

I read along, not recognizing the property by the photos. The address stuck in my head though.

Going back a few decades in my mind, plus a trip to googlemaps, I realized I have been on the property a few times.

As a youngster, I had a few delivery jobs. I know I delivered to this address several times in the various jobs.

The pic of your friend on the porch threw me---that is *really* not a 1904 house---the awning is an atrocious addition IMHO, but do understand why with the sun beating down on that area.

Only $3.5M? Economy is down, isn't it? A friend grew up around the corner and I think the property went "in down times" at $7M for a similarly sized property/house.

Am sure the pool is a mite bit cold to enjoy just yet, unless it is heated---but I *am* sitting here typing while in shorts, aiming to 75F or so today! yippie!

elizabeth said...

But has it got monkey-ball trees?

Petrea said...

I think I fixed that, Shell. Thanks.

When I move in I'm going to need a renter to help with the payments, Keith, so you're it. It's gonna be steep.

Maybe we can work out a deal, Katie!

I hate to tell you this, Kelly, but it's toasty today.

Karin, just take me along next time you visit the one up the street.

Trish, as Jeremy said, even in this economy the price you mentioned is more like it. This home is in good shape, but it needs major updating, and the price reflects that. I'm not crazy about that awning either! They should have left the 1904 look.

I should have dipped my toes in the water. It looked inviting, but it was still just a little cool out yesterday.

I didn't see any monkey balls, elizabeth! But they had A LOT of trees.

Susan C said...

The South San Rafael area is magnificent. My daughter's best friend once lived there. When her mom invited us to go trick or treating with them, I jumped at the chance because I though I'd get to see the mansions up close and personal. But, no. Home owners stationed their house keepers at the end of the driveways to give out penny candy, so we never go to step foot on the property.

altadenahiker said...

Susan, maybe if you had brought your world-famous sangria...

Sure P, anytime.

West Coast Grrlie Blather said...

Save the tennis court!

Shell Sherree said...

{Sorry, Petrea, I didn't mean for you to change anything ~ I was just making fun of myself for being slow on the uptake. I should say 'trying' to make fun of myself ;).}

USelaine said...

The upside of the tennis court is that it doesn't require irrigation, but I'd prefer a garden too. It sure could be fun to have money.

pasadenapio said...

I've been to a few homes on San Rafael for a variety of occasions, from official City of Pasadena functions to charity events to Showcase House.

The gates create an air of mystery, don't they?

Thanks for sharing the photos!

J+P said...

All I know is, when that shack sells, Jeremy's buying the beer.

Petrea said...

Susan, that's so sad! I understand the security concerns with a property like that, especially on Halloween when everyone's marauding. But they miss the fun by not standing at the end of the driveway and handing out candy themselves.

WCGB plays tennis? All right. Elaine sees the upside, too. It would be good for parties.

Ann, I like driving down the street and gawking. The neighborhood is lovely. But this is the first S.R. house I've been inside.

I'm sure he is, J+P, but if you want him to share you'd best be nice.

pasadenapio said...

Susan, when I lived in Palm Springs in the 1980s I would take my kids, in high school by then, to Liberace's house on Belardo Road on Halloween.

We'd stand in line and wait to get to the front door, and there he would be in all his costumed glory, handing out the gigantic Hershey bars to everybody.

He always took time to chat with each and every kid, which was lovely.

Trish said...

At least they sent the house keepers out to the street to hand out candy---most places now just close the gates and turn off the front lights---because most folks won't let their kids trek down a looooong dark driveway to an unknown home to pickup candy.

P---didn't realise the house was in decline---it DOES explain the price, then. Most of the high end stuff in my area is still moving, the really low end stuff is moving, it's the stuff in the middle that isn't going anywhere.

I played a ton of JTL on courts on SR and the general area. It always amazed me that owners of some of those houses, who did not have children JTL age, would just allow a bunch of young kids to doink around their courts with only our bring along parent chaperones as supervisors. I'm not sure I'd be willing, were I an owner---but then again, we're talking a feeeeew years ago.

If you're buying the place P---how about we ALL go in on it? Corral all the bloggers in one place and thus, discretely remove us from the general population of Pasadena and SSR. ;-) My only question would be how to get enough blogging internet speed into the house so we're not all bringing the net connection to its knees.

Monkey balls...oh myyy. I talk about serving monkey BRAINS often, but that's a new one. I've got a nephew I need to scare the daylights out of with "monkey ball soup". ;-)))

Petrea said...

Sure, Trish, we can go in on it. Halvesies, or whatever. I never said it was in decline, either. I believe I said it needs updating, which isn't the same thing. It's old-fashioned as opposed to quaint, and needs a designer's touch. The right person is going to come along and snap it up, and 3.5 mil is a song for that house in that neighborhood.

cat said...

be entertained