Financial journalist turned banker Frank A. Vanderlip Sr. formed a syndicate in 1913 to buy up some 16,000 acres on the Palos Verdes Peninsula — land that would eventually be carved into four communities and earn him the nickname “the father of Palos Verdes.”

After commissioning a study to determine the best site for his personal estate, he chose a spot of rugged hillside that squarely faces Santa Catalina Island.

The resulting Villa Narcissa was named for his wife, Narcissa Cox Vanderlip. The 11.46-acre green oasis in Rancho Palos Verdes would be owned by four generations of Vanderlips.

Among luminaries to frequent the Tuscan-style residence, built in the mid-1920s, was close family friend Ted Geisel, the beloved children’s author and illustrator known as Dr. Seuss.

A brick terrace fronts the ocean-view side of the house. Graceful arched windows frame the formal garden-facing door, which is topped by a sculptural frontispiece.

A groin-vaulted ceiling tops the Mediterranean blue dining room, while an intricate dark wood ceiling brings warmth to the living room, which centers on a fireplace. On the opposite wall, windows reveal a horizon line of water.

The 7,700-square-foot main house contains seven bedrooms, seven bathrooms and two partial bathrooms. There are also 10 guesthouses, a swimming pool and a tennis court on the site.

A gradual 246-step brick and stone walkway flanked by plantings and statuary leads from the house up to a column-sheltered seating and lookout area. Much of the surrounding hillside is protected by a land conservancy.

The property, at 100 Vanderlip Drive, is listed at $12.995 million. Jade Mills and Tiffany Mills of Coldwell Banker and Lauren Forbes of Compass are the listing agents.


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