Not all Southern California homes with water views face the ocean. In the exclusive Bel-Air neighborhood west of downtown Los Angeles, a large reservoir in the Santa Monica Mountains creates a lake-like backdrop that resembles a Mediterranean landscape, a neat trick for an urban enclave less than 20 miles from downtown and Los Angeles International Airport.
One example: the ornate mansion for sale at 1940 Bel-Air Road that was built on a low hill overlooking scenic Stone Canyon Reservoir. The setting provides a natural and scenic setting for the 17,000-square-foot home with eight bedrooms and 15 bathrooms built a decade ago.
It’s on the market for $30 million.
The home’s entrance and open floor plan create a flow from room to room that works equally well for entertaining or kicking back. It has a formal living room with glass doors that open to the outdoors and a formal dining room as well as a family room, study, and kitchen with a custom stone-topped island. The home’s luxurious look comes from finishes in materials, such as Persian onyx, Italian Travertine and French limestone.
The primary suite on the upper level with a spa-like bathroom also opens out to a surrounding patio and views of the hills and the water. Outdoors there are two terrace patios with fire pits and an infinity pool with ample chaises and a spa. Other high-end amenities include a wine cellar, home theater, indoor tiled swimming pool, and two garages that hold up to seven cars.
The property was once owned by the late Ursula Theiss, a German actress and second wife of Hollywood actor Robert Taylor. She lived at the Bel-Air address for nearly four decades beginning in 1969 after Taylor died.
The house sits behind Bel-Air’s gates and above the lower reservoir built in 1924. There are two man-made reservoirs at the site (lower and upper) which few Angelenos have ever laid eyes on because access is restricted. The Stone Canyon Overlook at 13931 Mulholland Drive in L.A. offers a distant glimpse.
The lower reservoir, where the estate is located, is no longer in use because the water doesn’t meet federal drinking water standards. It has appeared in Hollywood films. In 1974, the reservoir doubled as the fictional Oak Pass Reservoir in the movie “Chinatown” (and includes the scene where actor Jack Nicholson’s character famously gets his nose sliced), according to an L.A. Times story.