Decades ago, the TV comedy Green Acres lampooned a big city banker and his high-fashion socialite wife who ditched their luxurious New York City penthouse to live on a country farm. The absurd series concept was ratings hit.
Today, an equally radical idea has cropped up like a spring harvest in Los Angeles. A modern farmhouse marvel called Forest Knoll Residence has hit the market for $32 million in the Hollywood Hills. It’s also highly rated, design-wise.
Rarely has L.A. witnessed anything like this. This, too, is original programming—a traditional rural phenomenon (the barn) in modern, metropolitan residential form. Developed by Viewpoint Collection, the property is listed exclusively by Tomer Fridman, Sally Forster Jones, and Tyrone McKillen.
Los Angeles and farming aren’t natural allies. You’re more likely to discover a European-inspired castle than a grand farmhouse in this city. Contemporary Forest Knoll just might germinate into an L.A. curiosity. Maybe even a trend—because this experiment works.
“Although modern farmhouses have slowly made their way into the Los Angeles real estate market, Forest Knoll is truly unlike anything else we’ve seen,” says Frederick Chin, CEO of Viewpoint Collection. “It’s unusual to have a ‘modern barn’-designed home in the upper luxury tier, and at this price point.”
Instead of housing barley or livestock (the original intent for barns), Forest Knoll is designed to be lived in—luxuriously. Perched on a 1-acre promontory in the Hollywood Hills (near Sunset Plaza), the newly constructed estate is privatized by a grand gate and hedged ficus trees on a 41,820-square-foot lot. The six-bedroom, nine-bath residence spans 11,184 square feet.
Designed by Standard Architecture and Plus Development, Forest Knoll’s majestic three-gable façade is inspired by parallel vaults at Louis Kahn’s Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas. The museum is virtually closed but Forest Knoll is virtually open.
In a subtle nod to the vernacular barn, the residence is a trio of elongated, two-story-high volumes conjoined by stairs and beautified by gabled exteriors. Lower levels house service areas (stairs, kitchen, powder rooms) while vaulted upper loft spaces (bedrooms, master baths, office) are open and airy with sweeping views.
The minimalist home’s three grand parallel gables distinguish the property against a mesmerizing hillside backdrop. Illuminated living spaces conveniently open to the large backyard entertainment patio, amplifying the home’s sweeping views and harmonious connection to nature.
A restrained palette and organic materials (unstained and unbleached wood, concrete and stone) marry the architecture to the enveloping green landscape. Forest Knoll is worthy of its prominent perch. For those lucky enough to see it, surely it’s a sight to behold. As for its future owner, the view is even more spectacular from the residence.
“The home embodies a modern barn with its open design and loft-like spaces over the central living area,” says Jeffrey Allsbrook (AIA, LEED AP), partner at Standard Architecture. “The steeply-pitched roofs often found in many early barn designs allowed us to maximize the breathtaking views and the thoughtfully selected textural elements further enhance the modern barn aesthetic.”
The middle volume features a colossal 30-foot-high great room whose towering ceiling pitch and white-oak walls draw the eye skyward toward the rear floor-to-ceiling, glazed picture windows framing unobstructed downtown vistas.
This great room boasts an expansive double-sided concrete fireplace space for living, dining or entertaining above travertine floors leading to the backyard infinity pool, spa, fire pit and gas grill.
At the opposite end, olive trees, a solid oak front door, and a travertine path welcome guests. A dramatic cobblestone motor court is inspired by European streets.
The two adjacent volumes offer white-oak bedrooms and Calacatta marble-clad bathrooms (with freestanding tub) on the upper level while lower level living areas flow past large art walls to the panoramic backyard.
The master suite boasts a large Hers and His double closet with custom millwork, a walk-through double shower, and jetliner city views. The open kitchen offers sleek, informal dining—basking in breezes from alfresco back patio doors.
“Forest Knoll’s modern farmhouse and three-gable design seems to be a monumental compelling design and a fresh departure from a lot of the ‘square boxes’ that have proliferated new construction in recent times,” says Compass broker Fridman.
The residence took three years to complete, designed as warm, spacious and cozy with indoor-outdoor options—elevating the “quintessential” California lifestyle.
Courtesy of Compass and The Society Group, 25 virtual VIPs experienced Forest Knoll during a Zoom sensory open house tour which activated all five senses related to the home’s design (via a pre-delivered white-glove service box with a small olive tree plant, a fragrant candle, champagne, T-shirt, and white oak and travertine squares to sample). Forest Knoll is billed as “a property that ignites all five senses and redefines the virtual tour.”
“They are both first-of-a-kind,” says Fridman. “The sensory experience was able to showcase the essence [of the house] and highlight the unparalleled features.”
Green Acres isn’t the place to be. Forest Knoll is. The sitcom’s famous theme song says “just give me that countryside” and “I just adore a penthouse view.” Forest Knoll offers both in the City of Angels. What could be more heavenly (and farm-y) than that? I mean, besides having $32 million to spare?
Written by Keith Flamer