L.A’s top celebrity home: Sinatra to Monroe and Mad Men

Southern California’s star-studded home, Farralone, was built for Chase Bank heiress-and-socialite Dora Hutchinson.

A longtime home for Frank Sinatra and, according to legend, the site of JFK’s affair with Marilyn Monroe, it has been a film site for many films and television shows including Mad Men, Californication and Dreamgirls. Recently restored, it is for sale at US$21.5 million.

In 1949, Hutchinson hired futuristic-architect William Pereira to design Farralone.

He was one of the most famous and prolific architects of the time, who had also been a film-set designer, director and producer for several 1940s movies. 

In his career, Pereira worked on more than 400 projects including the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair, Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and his most famous, the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco.

Located on 4.3 acres in the Chatsworth neighbourhood, Farralone is perched on a hilltop with 360-degree views over Los Angeles, mountains and the surrounding 3000 acres of nature preserve.

Gated and unable to be seen from the road, the 6661-square-foot, four-bedroom, six-bathroom structure has 60 per cent of its walls as sixteen-foot-tall glass, flooding it with light and capturing the views in all directions.

Also included is a bar, formal dining area, a den/office, large chef’s kitchen with island bench, breakfast nook with view and top-of-the-line appliances, a number of fireplaces, and endless entertaining areas both inside and out.

Hutchinson’s guest lists contained the Who’s Who of Hollywood, including Lucille Ball, Ava Gardner, Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack.

When the excitement of the celebrity party scene started to wear thin, Hutchinson moved back to her native New York City and rented the home to Sinatra, who stayed for almost 10 years.

Sinatra started a whole new era of entertaining for Farralone, taking it from elegant to a slightly rowdy boy’s club vibe with his Rat Pack and political buddies.

Everyone who was anyone passed through Farralone’s doors, grounds and pool throughout Sinatra’s tenure.

Marilyn Monroe was one of the regular guests, and as legend goes, the property’s guest house with its private pool was the venue for her scandalous affair with John F. Kennedy.

In more recent times, the property has been a filming backdrop for films, music videos, television sitcoms and fashion advertising.

The house and grounds have been seen in films such as Swordfish, Dreamgirls, Transformers and Bewitched.

It has also starred in television series Mad Men and Californication and in music videos by Mariah Carey, Usher and Rihanna.

Now priced at US$21.5 million, the listing agent is Craig Knizek of The Agency, Beverly Hills.

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