Anyone who says pizza isn’t a recession-proof industry hasn’t had a look at the Beverly Hills home of Larry Flax, who’s best known as the founder of family-favorite California Pizza Kitchen. Set in the ultra-exclusive Beverly Park enclave, the property—which claims high-profile residents such as Faith Hill, Denzel Washington and Rod Stewart—has just hit the market with a hefty priced tag of $48.5 million.
The estate is nothing if not sprawling, tucked into a grand 2.8-acre lot and having seven bedrooms and 12 bathrooms spread over more than 14,000 square feet. The home, although resolutely California in scale and proportions, was completed back in 1996 and resembles an elegant French château.
The property has only had one owner: Flax and his wife, Joan, who worked with late (and great) architect Bob Ray Offenhauser on this literal dream home. “They chose every material, most of which were from Europe, and enjoyed participating in the entire design process to make the residence come to life,” listing agent Linda May says of the Flaxs. “Now they’re looking to downsize. It is bittersweet because the house was a real passion project for them.”
This is the first time that the spectacular abode, which is nestled amid lavishly landscaped gardens, has come to market. What buyers will find, according to May, is a quintessential European-style retreat with endless finely quarried limestone, marble and gold-leafing spread among that grand main house, as well as a separate guest home hidden behind imposing gates, which lead to a circular motor court enlivened with elegant fountains.
The main residence is accessed via towering iron and wooden-framed doors that pour into a large foyer that’s crafted, like so much of the home, from limestone. The entryway is capped by a gold lead-coveted dome with a built-in marbled alabaster skylight. Just beyond is the estate’s formal living room, which includes floor-to-ceiling French doors and a separate entertaining zone set behind glass walls. Venture further to find an airy covered loggia with its own fireplace, as well as 20-seat dining room. “The formal dining room has vintage hand-painted Asian wall panels,” May said.
Limestone features prominently in the family room as well. The space is capped by a vaulted ceiling and also contains a fireplace, a wet bar and a wine-storage facility that can accommodate up to 1,800 of your favorite bottles. “The panoramic glass walls in the family room offer unobstructed views of the French-style garden landscaping,” May explains. Then there’s the library, which the listing agent thinks buyers will particularly swoon over. “It’s exquisite,” she says. The area is “appointed with French-style paneled ceiling and walls, marble fireplace, a full built-in bar and custom cabinetry,” she continues. “It is truly a great room for entertaining!”
The home’s primary suite is located on the second floor, which includes its own separate seating area, a fireplace, a kitchen and a private balcony as well as his and hers bathrooms—featuring yet another cozy fireplace.
Of course, there is a pro-level kitchen, which May says was important to Flax “as he would test recipes to innovate his menus at California Pizza Kitchen. The kitchen area also includes its own baking zone, butler’s pantry, commercial-grade appliances and a wraparound granite island to allow plenty of space for experimentation.” The entire main residence, which also includes a home office, is connected by an elevator. “There is even a china room, with impeccable custom felt-lined storage for silver, crystal, fine china and more,” May adds.
The home is as amenity-packed outside as it is inside. The 70 foot-long swimming pool with a spa and a separate “wading” pool for kids, an alfresco kitchen and a flood-lit tennis court can all be found in the spacious backyard. A clutch of intriguing pathway lure visitors to a fragrant rose garden and large grassy lawn area.
Beyond the home’s endless luxuries is perhaps the most luxurious aspect of all: its location within Beverly Park. “This is the most exclusive, guard-gated enclave in Beverly Hills . . . known for having major estates,” says May, whose co-listing agent, Jade Mills, recently sold a home in the area for $70 million. “All of the lots here are at least two acres in size.”
Check out more photos of 55 Beverly Park Way below: