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Mediterranean melange at Arroyo's edge

French doors and monastery floors mix with the airs of old Spain and Italy on a Pasadena promontory.

July 01, 2007|Gayle Pollard-Terry | Times Staff Writer

THIS is a majestic villa with a pedigree. Noted architect Sylvanus Marston and his partners blended elements from two styles -- Spanish Colonial and Italian Revival -- in designing the Mediterranean Revival house.

"Casa del Cielo," which translates to "House of Heaven," took four years to complete. Built circa 1923 on a grand scale for businessman William Henry Peters, who specialized in real estate and investments, the 19-room mansion cost $50,030 at a time when the average house and lot could be purchased for around $3,000, according to Pasadena-based building biographer Tim Gregory. Within five years of its completion, it had been featured in five architectural magazines.

The tri-level residence today has more than two dozen rooms in 12,109 square feet of space. There is also a guesthouse near the swimming pool and spa, a spacious storage room and the garage has a bathroom and tool room.

Commanding wrought-iron gates frame the driveway. A heavily carved massive wooden door opens onto a two-story foyer. That entryway features a restored 12th century stone floor imported from a monastery that Peters and his wife, Helen, brought back from their European travels.

The main house has six bedrooms including a five-room master suite with a bedroom, writing room, sitting room, his-and-hers bathrooms, and his-and-hers walk-in closets. Upstairs, four bedrooms open to balconies that look onto San Gabriel Mountain vistas. The bedroom on the main level has an attached bathroom, and a guestroom on the lowest level has a powder room.

The remodeled and expanded kitchen has an enormous center island and soapstone counters. It opens to a family room with a breakfast nook that was added in 2002.

About this house: The property is potentially eligible for listing on the California Register of Historical Resources because of its design by regionally significant architects and its good state of preservation. Additional original architectural details include: wide-plank cedar floors in the living room; vaulted and beamed ceilings with twisted rope moldings; original door knobs; French doors; and a wooden door, also imported from a monastery, that leads to the dining room. The "gentlemen's bar" has the original mahogany bar. In addition to a billiards room, there is a two-story library with a spiral staircase.

Asking price: $15 million

Size: Nearly 14,500 square feet for the main residence, guesthouse, storage room and garage on more than 3 acres of land that sits along the Arroyo.

Features: The terraced grounds include multiple fountains and gardens, a swimming pool with water jets, a tennis court surrounded by wisteria vines on a separate level, a peacock aviary with six birds that come with the home, a grape arbor, roses, an apple orchard, apricot and pomegranate orchard, a woodland walk with mature redwood and cedar trees, a dog run and a koi pond. In a recent addition, a wine cellar covered with reclaimed stones from a European castle sits near a gym and media room. All major systems have been updated.

Where: Pasadena

Listing agent: Carol Chua, Coldwell Banker Previews, (626) 844-2222, South Lake Avenue, Pasadena office-South Lake office.


To submit a candidate for Home of the Week, send high-resolution photos with caption information on a CD and a detailed description of the house to Ruth Ryon, Real Estate Section, L.A. Times, 202 W. 1st St., L.A., CA 90012. Questions may be sent to

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