Family Business: Hand-Crafted Atawalt Estate in Brentwood Lists for $11.25M
Owned by Richard and Patricia Atawalt since it was built in 1965, the home is on the market for the first time. Richard led the family business, Atawalt Lumber, for decades. Patricia, an anthropologist who studied worldwide ethnographic clothing and founded the Center for the Study of Regional Dress at UCLA’s Fowler Museum, took over her husband’s role at the company when he died in 2000. She died in October.
“She was a modern-day Jackie O. when it comes to women’s fashion, and they’re quintessential L.A. royalty,” says listing agent Justin Alexander of Pardee Properties. “They’re one of those families that’s an integral part of the city’s history.”
The family founded Atawalt Lumber in 1923 and helped supply much of the wood used for buildings in and around the Los Angeles area over many years, Alexander says. Nowadays, “They’re the local boutique Home Depot of Los Angeles.”
As with their business, construction and design of the house was trusted to family. Dave Atawalt, a cousin of Richard’s, both designed and helped build the house. The hand-selected lumber and use of dowels and pegs give the stately 4,310-square-foot home an old-school, hand-crafted look.
“It has a dramatic, European type of feel to it, and a lot of modern from the ’60s. When people think of a craftsman, they have a specific vision. This is more of a giant Swiss chalet in Brentwood. There’s nothing else like it in L.A,” Alexander says.
Inside, you’ll find a two-story living room with a 24-foot ceiling and a poured-concrete fireplace that has been stained and waxed. It’s a perfect place to read, but you can also head upstairs to the library, where a balcony overlooks the sprawling room.
Throughout the house, posts and beams are taken from large selections of Douglas fir, and the plank floors are made of oak. The home’s antiques and furnishings, worth an estimated $10 million, will be sold separately at auction.
Out back on the lush grounds dotted with rose bushes and azaleas is a storybook stone house. It was built by local architect John Byers so the Atawalt kids could watch polo matches off the western ridge, although those polo grounds have since been developed upon.
Right next door is Phyllis Diller‘s former estate, which sold for $9.35 million in 2012. With so many multimillion-dollar compounds and mansions dotting Brentwood, what makes this place stand out?
“I’ve seen dozens of $10, $20, $30 million estates throughout L.A. and Brentwood,” Alexander says. “This one is inspiring because you feel like you’re at this grand chalet in the middle of Jackson [County] Colorado.”
He adds, “People are all about being moved by their property in L.A., and this is definitely one of those properties.”