The tract of La Linda Drive in Los Cerritos is a quiet and stately neighborhood nestled within the already quiet and stately neighborhood in the old-money area near Virginia Country Club and Rancho Los Cerritos.
The gated neighborhood still has a strong historic feel to it, largely due to the fact that it’s anchored by the Bixby Mansion, or Bixby Ranch House, at 11 La Linda Drive. The cavernous home was built in the late 19th century and George and his wife Amelia moved into the home in 1890, making a huge addition that fairly doubled the home’s size in 1904, making it large enough for the parents, their seven children and seven workers as well as serving as the headquarters for farming operations of Rancho Los Cerritos.
The 10-acre ranch site that surrounded and included the mansion was bought in 1922 by oilman and banker Thomas Gilchrist, who subdivided the land into the parcels that eventually became today’s La Linda neighborhood, 35 beautiful and mostly large homes that line the oval La Linda Drive just off Bixby Road a block west of Long Beach Boulevard.
The house stood in various states of disrepair over the decades, but it was brought back to life in later years by its last owner, the late Duane Rose, a florist who had bought other lots on the site, including today’s featured home at 51 La Linda Drive, which Realtor and home restoration artist Alison White has on the market now at $2.499 million.
White, who has recently moved to Long Beach, has done remarkable work with the dozens of homes she’s purchased and restored perfectly back to their original condition—or, in many cases, much better. I wrote last summer about a home at 4131 Cedar Ave. with which she did a thoroughly meticulous job in rescuing and restoring.
White isn’t a mercenary house-flipper; she doesn’t do quick, superficial work like many flippers and, while a big payday is always nice, she’s mostly concerned with making the house better in every way, often at a cost that eats into any appreciable profit.
“I won’t make much on this house,” she said, noting that she paid $1.65 million for the large East Coast Traditional home and has spent some $700,000 putting it in its current resort-style condition. Much of the money went to the outdoors, including a swimming pool in the property’s huge backyard that is basically divided into two parts, the pool/barbecue area and a huge, grassy area—throw in another $10,000 for installation of new sod.
The 1938 home has five bedrooms and three baths in 3,504 square feet on an 11,000-square-foot lot.
Aside from the landscaping and pool, there wasn’t as much renovation work as was required on White’s Cedar Avenue home. Still, her touches are tasteful and elegant. She finished the formal dining room with deep blue grasscloth wallpaper, a Serena and Lily chandelier and a bay window and French doors that lead out to the backyard.
The modern and spacious kitchen with a prep station, an island and bar seating opens to the family room with its large glass sliding doors leading to the yard, and the sole downstairs bedroom may be best used as an office with its wood-burning fireplace and a bathroom.
Four bedrooms are upstairs, including a large primary suite with vaulted wood beamed ceilings, a wood-burning fireplace and a sitting area. The ensuite bath has dual vanities, an arched bathtub and a Carrara marble shower with rain showerhead. The three additional upstairs bedrooms share a renovated full bath. A full laundry room completes the second level.
There’s a palpable sense of living in a little village within the gates of the La Linda community, with occasional neighborhood-wide parties and get-togethers. The community has an HOA of $900 a year; its members are currently embroiled over the potential removal of a beloved or hated eucalyptus tree. The late florist Rose was of the tree-hating school who was so anti-eucalyptus that he put into his will a $100,000 bounty on the tree that would go to the HOA; the buyers of his mansion, then, offered the same amount for the tree, on community grounds, to be kept.
At press time, the tree was still standing.