What would it be like to live in a home that was designed by someone who also designed many of the attractions at Disney Parks?
If you’ve ever wanted to know and you have an extra $3 million burning a hole in your pocket, you won’t have to wonder anymore!
That’s because a beautiful Mid-Century Modern home in the community of Lake View Terrace, California, has been listed this week. The home was built in 1953 and it’s gorgeous! From indoor waterfalls and copious landscaping, this home has it all.
But perhaps its most exciting feature is that it was designed and built by one of the very first of Disney’s Imagineers.
Fred Joerger was with Walt back before Disneyland was built. He was hand-picked by Walt Disney to create three-dimensional mini models of movie sets and props, as well as mini models for attractions that would be built on a much grander scale at Disney’s brand-new Anaheim park.
According to D23’s website, Fred looked back on his career with Disney and recalled details about his responsibilities on Disney’s team.
“I was given artists’ drawings of an interior set or a building and interpreted them into models,” Fred explained. “It’s very easy to make something like the Haunted Mansion look good on paper, but if you don’t get it into three dimensions first, you may have a disaster.”
Fred said he was the one who helped keep things safe and running smoothly: “My job was to create the model to avert disaster, which was fun, but a challenge.”
Fred was responsible for building props and movie sets for some of Disney’s motion-picture films, like Mary Poppins and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, among others. He was instrumental in creating the Nautilus submarine in the 20,000 Leagues film, making highly-detailed models of the submarine before the final sub was created for the film.
Fred Joerger, Harriet Burns, and Wathel Rogers were the terrific trio who ran Disney’s first model shop. Burns remembers Joerger’s contributions well.
“Most anything at Disneyland, Fred created a model first,” she recalled. “He constructed several versions of Sleeping Beauty Castle, for instance, changing each design, moving the turrets around, changing colors. Walt liked the model with the blue roof because he thought it would blend in with the sky, making the castle look taller.”
And while Fred was an amazing Imagineer, when he wasn’t modeling for new attractions and Disney movie props, he was designing an attraction of his own: his personal home in L.A. County.
It’s this home, called the Villa Di Fontani Estate.
If you’ve got a notion to live in a home in California that literally points to a different “attraction” in each room, you’ll be amazed by this beautiful home.
Though these “attractions” aren’t what you’d see in the parks, Fred’s design of the home does keep the eye moving, and there’s something fabulous to see from every vantage point.
The estate is located on approximately 2/5 of an acre on Ruggiero Avenue. The 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom home encompasses 2,892 square feet and each bedroom has a unique fireplace, as do the living room and dining room.
Floors in the home are made of bamboo, slate, and stone, and the alcoved ceilings, skylights, floor-to-ceiling windows, and intricate stained glass give the home a very warm and bright feeling.
In addition to stained glass, the home also features artwork by other Disney artists, like Walt Peregoy, Tyrus Wong, and Travis Johnson.
The rear of the home opens up to a lushly landscaped backyard, featuring a terraced infinity pool. Towering Cypress trees form a wall behind the pool.
The home sold in September 2010, for $374,000, and the MLS listing states that the current owner has spent the last 11 years restoring the home.
The listing further describes the magical abode as follows:
“A masterpiece in the Foothills Designed and built by Walt Disney Imagineer, Fred Joerger. Extensive use of Roman-style sculptures created by Disney artist Walt Peregoy compliment the terraced pools and grottos. Elaborate hand-painted ceilings by Disney artists Travis Johnson and Tyrus Wong.
“The expansive living room includes massive sliding doors viewing the gardens and pool. An inside waterfall and Koi pond, Venitian plaster walls, recessed lighting, 5 fireplaces. Formal dining room has hidden wine closet and china cabinet, marble fireplace, and one-of-a-kind designed ceiling. The three bathrooms are adorned with white marble.
“The master suite views the lush gardens and includes a fireplace, hand-painted ceiling a mirrored dressing room with custom inlaid flooring, and a Grecian amphora treatment in the alcove ceiling. Master bath is white marble with roman style tub, multi-head shower, bidet, and sliding doors to the gardens. The grounds are secluded & gated for maximum privacy.”
And just in case you’re wondering, there are no HOA fees associated with the estate.