A Marvelous Steel-and-Glass Midcentury Asks $5 Million in Los Angeles

Built by local modernist architect Bernard Zimmerman for celebrity clothier Leland Zeidler, the 4,400-square-foot home features glass-enclosed spaces that frame views of the surrounding canyon.
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From its unique canyon-straddling site on the edge of a wilderness park in Los Angeles to its Case Study–influenced midcentury design, the 4,400-square-foot home at 3465 Mandeville Canyon Road was waiting to be rediscovered.

That’s not to say the window-lined home went completely unnoticed: It was featured in the 2018 Phaidon book California Captured, which celebrates the renowned architectural photographer Marvin Rand. But because its architect, Bernard Zimmerman, was ultimately lesser-known than other L.A. modernists like A. Quincy Jones, John Lautner, and Richard Neutra—the latter of whom Zimmerman worked under for more than a decade—the 1960s residence has kept a lower profile than comparable gems in the area.

An archival photo showcases the Zeidler Residence shortly after its completion.

Located in Mandeville Canyon, just north of Brentwood on L.A.’s Westside, the home is built on a 3.4-acre flag lot full of mature sycamore and eucalyptus trees. A long, curving driveway leads to the isolated residence perched into the hillside. Because it borders the Westbridge-Canyonback Wilderness Park—which is part of the Santa Monica Mountains—the steel-and-glass residence feels secluded even though it’s centrally located.

"What a special piece of terrain it is," says listing agent Simon Beardmore of Sotheby’s International Realty - Brentwood Brokerage. "As you pull into the driveway you cross this little creek and the house is tucked into this little valley—its own little ravine."

Built on a 3.4-acre flag lot that puts it further up the hillside than its neighbors, the four-bedroom, four-and-a-half–bathroom home enjoys a more isolated perch.

The home’s entry is marked by beveled-glass walls and a dramatic three-part staircase.

A stairway leading from the former carport passes through an outdoor terrace.

When Beardmore first encountered the house, he recognized this was no ordinary design, with its walls of glass, elongated stairway-entry sequence, and series of protruding, covered decks that facilitate easy indoor/outdoor living. "My gut, intuition, and experience, told me that this had to be a known architect in that school of [names like] Craig Ellwood or Pierre Koenig," he says, citing two architects of the famed Case Study series.

The swimming pool at the rear of the home was a later addition; the glass-enclosed living room originally featured a protruding deck similar to those in the front of the house.

Both the living room and dining area are sunken a few steps below the main floor, hinting at the upcoming popularity of sunken living rooms in the 1960s.

Early on, Zimmerman worked under legendary architect Richard Neutra, as well as Victor Gruen—a pioneering designer of the United States’s first shopping malls—before forming his own firm, Zimmerman Architects and Planners.

After Zimmerman completed the home at 3465 Mandeville Canyon Road, he spent much of his subsequent career in academia. In parallel to his work as an architect, Zimmerman taught for more than 30 years and even helped found the architecture department at California State Polytechnic University in Pomona.

A skylight over the stairway creates an atrium-like volume and fills the home with natural light.

Zimmerman was an activist who campaigned to preserve once-threatened L.A. landmarks like the iconic Hollywood sign, Schindler House, and Watts Towers. He also cofounded the Los Angeles Institute of Architecture and Design and helped launch the Architecture + Design Museum. As a curator, he organized a number of exhibitions on the work of local architects and designers, including New Blood 101 at the Pacific Design Center.

The home’s long, rectangular form becomes the backbone to a series of decks and walkways.

The detached carport was built out in order to create two additional bedrooms and a family room during a 1990s remodel.

The home is nestled into a kind of mini-ravine created by the creek it traverses.

Zimmerman’s clients for the 1960s house, Leland and Marian Zeidler, were noteworthy too. Two years before the commission, Leland and his brother, Marvin, founded Zeidler & Zeidler, a men’s clothing store chain (better known as Z&Z) that expanded to more than 20 outlets by the 1980s. According to a 2009 Santa Cruz Sentinel obituary for Leland Zeidler, he and his brother, who designed much of their own inventory, "clothed a veritable who’s who of the L.A. scene" during the 1980s, including such figures as Muhammad Ali, James Brown, Steve McQueen, Jerry West, and Jay Leno.

One of the elongated decks is right off the dining room, making the house ideal for entertaining.

Arriving on the main floor, one can look through walls of glass in either direction.

The 4,400-square-foot residence features a dramatic three-part staircase that passes through a large, overhanging terrace and continues through the beveled-glass front entry to the great room on the second floor. With a skylight directly above, the space doubles as a kind of multistory atrium. 

"When you reach the top of the stairs, you look out through all this glass into the drop-down living room and through another glass wall onto the pool," Beardmore says. "But then you pivot 180 degrees and look back into the dining room that floats above the first lower deck. It has this incredible feeling that you just levitated amongst the trees."

Beveled plate glass panels bring in light while maintaining privacy.

A stacked stone wall is part of the property’s rustic landscaping.

Originally spanning 2,200 square feet, the Zeidler Residence was quite large compared to most homes from its era. In the 1990s, the carport was enclosed to add two more bedrooms and a family room, which doubled the residence’s square footage. Today, the residence includes four bedrooms and four-and-a-half bathrooms. Amenities include a two fireplaces, a backyard pool, and a guesthouse.

The public areas and main bedrooms face east to capture sunrise views.

While some of its surfaces and details show the home’s age, it seems to be awaiting the right remodel. "It makes me makes me happy that because Zimmerman is the architect and the home has a real pedigree—there’s a better chance it will be restored instead of torn down," Beardmore says. The large lot has room for a substantially larger building, he adds: "But everyone that’s coming to see the house now has the eye toward restoration and bringing it into 2022."

3465 Mandeville Canyon Road in Los Angeles, California, is currently listed for $5,000,000 by Simon Beardmore of Sotheby’s International Realty - Brentwood Brokerage.

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