Highly influential architect Cliff May pioneered the California ranch house, that quintessentially SoCal architectural style, and one of the best-preserved examples of his work recently sold for a considerable $8 million. Located in the bucolic and equestrian-oriented Sullivan Canyon preserve — a quiet community tucked between Brentwood and Pacific Palisades — the U-shaped structure last transferred way back in 1970 for just $104,500, according to records. For nearly 40 years, the property was home to Tony Award-winning film and stage choreographer Michael Kidd, a legendary figure in the world of dance. Following his 2007 death, the property continued to be owned by his children until its sale earlier this month.
The new owners are married couple David Fredston and Rochelle Gores Fredston, he a private equity guru and founder of L.A.-based investment firm Sole Source Capital, she the founder of the Philanthropic Society of Los Angeles and eldest child of multibillionaire Alec Gores. For those unfamiliar, the extended Gores clan is one of the wealthiest families in the greater L.A. area, and additionally includes fellow billionaire Tom Gores and Paradigm talent agency chief Sam Gores.
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As for the property itself, the May-designed house was originally built in 1941, per records, and the single-story rambler includes five bedrooms and five baths in 3,245 square feet of living space. A long gated driveway offers off-street parking for several vehicles, plus an attached two-car garage. Inside, the well-scaled public rooms have hardwood floors, and the master suite includes a vaulted ceiling with a fireplace and sitting area. The house is oriented around a central swimming pool and patio area, where a red tile deck offers plenty of room for alfresco dining and the pool features an old-school diving board.
Unfortunately for classic ranch house lovers, marketing materials gently imply that the house is a likely teardown candidate. “These lots don’t come available often … transform this vibrant lot into your own private paradise,” listing remarks note. The .68-acre property is relatively large and completely flat — ideal for construction purposes — and it’s worth noting that a similar ranch-style house immediately next door was recently demolished by its owner, real estate mogul Rick Caruso. While the Fredstons’ plans for the property aren’t currently known, the existing home would likely require costly alterations to install the contemporary amenities expected by buyers in this price range.
For now, however, the pristine property still stands and harks back to simpler bygone times. Surrounded by vast lawns and a towering canopy of mature trees, the park-like estate remains a rural oasis, a rare country retreat that’s happens to sit just seconds away from bustling Sunset Boulevard.
The Fredstons currently reside in the nearby Mandeville Canyon neighborhood of Brentwood, where back in 2016 they paid Academy Award-nominated film producer Michael De Luca $6.5 million for a large and luxurious East Coast-style mansion with a movie theater, library and an elaborate children’s playhouse.
Launch Gallery: Billionaire Heiress Buys $8 Million Cliff May Teardown