Rapturous adjectives are often used to describe the high-profile mansions in Beverly Hills, CA, but “whimsical” isn’t one of them.
But the word is apt for at least one major aspect of glamorous Maison 808, which recently arrived on the market for $58,888,000. Another apropos adjective is the word “largest,” as in the single largest residential estate in the history of the elite town.
This particular estate was built in 1990 by architect Budd Holden, known for creating estates for Hollywood royalty in the ’80s and ’90s, including Barbra Streisand and Cher.
It sits on a generous double lot measuring a little over an acre and a half, and the main residence measures approximately 26,800 square feet with eight bedrooms and 15 bathrooms.
However, the whimsical aspect of the mansion arrives via rail-as in, there’s a working train on the property. You don’t need a railroad to traverse the distance from one end of the estate to the other, but it sure adds to the fun.
Listing agent Christophe Choo of Coldwell Banker Global Luxury told us the owner-luxury developer Alan Casdan-has always loved trains. After Casdan visited Walt Disney‘s home with its famous train system, he was inspired to build one on his own property. He hired the same builder who created the locomotive systems at Disneyland to build a replica that’s one-eighth in size, complete with a steam and a diesel engine, train station, and tunnel that goes under the pool house.
“Cars stop and take photos when the train is running in the front of the house,” says Choo, who has ridden the rails a number of times himself. “I’m a big kid at heart. I love that train.”
While the train is fun, it’s hardly the property’s main selling point. Choo says the luxury of the home is unlike anything he’s seen in his over 30 years in real estate. He notes the home’s classic architecture and design will endure, while the sterile white boxes that are popular today are bound to feel dated somewhere down the line.
“The quality of the craftsmanship and materials is timeless,” he says, noting the rich marble and Versailles parquet flooring, intricate stonework, antique French crystal chandeliers, leaded-glass windows and skylights, and Lalique fixtures. The home also features custom millwork, carved wood paneling, thoughtful built-ins, and 14 fireplaces, many of them made of antique marble from France, Italy, and England.
The 5,000-square-foot master suite has the feel of a “grand Parisian apartment,” says Choo. It boasts its own private vestibule, staircase, sitting room, wraparound terrace, and four fireplaces. There are also “endless closets,” says Choo, who adds that Casdan’s wife, Susan, is a couture aficionado.
For entertainment and recreation, there’s a large media room with a drop-down screen and projection system, lounge, and sunken bar with a two-story wine cellar. There are two detached guesthouses, a sunken tennis court, mosaic-tiled pool with waterfalls and waterslide, and a championship croquet court.
Located within walking distance of the Beverly Hills Hotel and just minutes from the shops and restaurants of Rodeo Drive, the estate has been the site of numerous events and fundraisers over its 28-year history, attended by U.S. presidents, foreign prime ministers, and A-list celebrities. Yet it remains a “warm and nurturing environment,” says Choo.
The Casdans raised their family here, but now the mansion is huge for only two people. They’re ready to downsize and move on to their life’s next big adventure.
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