With designs by master architect Edgar Ullrich, trees planted by famed botanist and landscape architect Kate Sessions and occupants descended from the Sepúlveda and the de la Guerra families, this La Jolla hillside home is about as close to San Diego royalty as you can get.
In fact, the Upper Hermosa residence, now on the market for $5.995 million, has the potential for historic designation.
Fronted by a brick pathway with manicured hedges on each side leading to an archway of “cup of gold” vines, the property showcases exceptional landscaping while simultaneously drawing attention to the prestige of the home.
Proponents of the idiom, “they don’t make them like they used to,” could cite the 1936 residence as proof as the mastery that marked the property’s designers remains apparent. Details were not spared in the construction of the 3,345-square-foot home, including elaborate millwork, peg-and-groove hardwood flooring and elegant built-ins.
Many of the home’s best qualities are not so much seen as felt, say the sellers, brother and sister, Robert Munroe and Maria Munroe Browne. “A great architect understands the importance of selecting the right site and then integrating a home into that specific site. This house has exactly that sense of scale and space and thus has a tremendous flow. It’s perfectly harmonious with its atmosphere, not only physically but emotionally.”
The sellers, along with Robert’s wife, Bonnie, added to this sentiment, saying “It’s an exceedingly formal house, but it’s not pretentious. When you walk in through the front it feels stately and grand but most of the time you walk in through the laundry room and into the kitchen where it feels like home. So it’s very flexible in how it presents itself.”
French doors throughout the entry-level make for a surprisingly open, modern feel given the home’s age, including those leading to the brick-paved back patio. Alongside a sunny office and formal dining room with a wide bay window, the first floor also fits multiple entertaining spaces.
Access to outdoor living can also be found upstairs where front and rear balconies offer views encompassing ocean sights.
Although a majority of the house has been maintained for its nearly hundred-year existence, various updates throughout the years have taken place, including a kitchen remodel in the 1980s that also resulted in the creation of an additional family room and sunroom.
Brother real estate team, Drew Nelson and Tim Nelson of Willis Allen Real Estate, who hold the listing, say that they see the prospective buyer as someone with an eye for modernizing the home without sacrificing its original character.
Regarding the potential for historic designation, the duo added, “The right buyer is going to be someone that understands the opportunities that come with owning a potentially historic house —most importantly, perhaps, the reduction in property taxes.”