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Where Builders Build for Themselves

March 22, 1987|RUTH RYON | Times Staff Writer

If you ever wondered where the home builders build for themselves, here's one answer: Fairbanks Ranch, which is in the rolling hills of Rancho Santa Fe in San Diego's North County.

Once owned by the dashing actor Douglas Fairbanks, who dreamed of building a Wallace Neff-designed mansion there for himself and actress Mary Pickford, the 1,240-acre Fairbanks Ranch estate area--turned into 618 estate sites varying in size from a half-acre to 60 acres--has attracted a surprising number of builders who are making their homes there.

Among them: Woody Brehm of Brehm Communities; Walt Wolf, Wolf Industries; Bob Buie, the Buie Corp.; Keith Johnson, the Fieldstone Co.; Bill Carden, McMillan Co.; Doug Allred, the Allred Co. and Celebrity Homes; Paul Friedman, Friedman Homes; Steve Tate, Brehm Communities, and Joe Davis, Watt Industries Inc.

Watt Industries/San Diego Inc. was the firm that took a gamble five years ago this November in developing the ranch, which gained some fame when the 1984 Olympic Equestrian Endurance Event was held on the Fairbanks Ranch Country Club golf course.

Since the ranch was subdivided, many homes in the $800,000 to $1-million range have been built, and one was constructed at a cost of $7.5 million. That one--with 13,000 square feet--was built by San Diego builder Walter Wolf, for himself.

Most of the sites have been sold. Fifty remain, and the fifth and final phase of 103 lots will be released in May, probably at prices from $300,000 to $700,000. There are also two horse-property parcels for sale: one with 39 acres for $2,338,800; the other, with 25 acres, for $1,574,300.

As for the home Fairbanks dreamed of building, the 13,735-square-foot "Casa Zorro" was built on 2.8 acres in 1980, with some modifications to Neff's design, and was sold in December, 1981, for $2.5 million--in cash--to a Dallas businessman.

From one beauty to another--actress Jane Seymour has sold her Los Angeles home, in the hills above West Hollywood, to supermodel Cheryl Tiegs.

Seymour and her husband/business manager, David Flynn, moved to Santa Barbara.

They sold their four-bedroom, seven-bath home, built in 1935, for a recorded $1.65 million. The 5,357-square-foot home, with swimming pool, was sold fully furnished.

New York architect Mohindra Kawlra received a Beverly Hills Architectural Design Award last week for his first California project: the Bombay Palace restaurant, that flashy facade remodel at 8690 Wilshire Blvd., which has been described as "a series of bosomy curves in pastel pinks and turquoise . . . that creates a sense of Oriental voluptuousness smoothed out for our bland tastes."

It also has been called a throwback to the late '30s when a restaurant's trademark in California was the building that housed it. Typical of those times was the Brown Derby.

Jeff Bridges, Linda Gray, Donna Mills, John Ritter and Dennis Weaver are the celebrity hosts lined up for the dinner-and-dancing opening next Saturday of the $22-million West Los Angeles project known as The Sports Club/LA.

L. A. Raiders tailback Marcus Allen is special guest at the $60-per-ticket opening, to benefit LIFE (Love is Feeding Everyone) and The Rainbow Guild/Amie Karen Cancer Fund. Michael Talla is president of the new 100,000-square-foot facility.

A 62-foot-long, 13-foot-high panel of carved Burmese teak runs along the 18-foot-high inside wall of one of the most expensively priced homes in the country.

Owned by Susan and Bob Whittaker, the Trousdale estate is listed at $12 million, including the panel and many other Chinese objects d'art.

That's a drop from the $15.85 million its owners were asking when the house was first put on the market in April, 1985. Well, these big (10,000 square feet in one story), expensive homes do take time to sell, says Bruce Nelson of Asher Dann & Associates, Beverly Hills, who now has the listing.

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