Esa-Pekka Salonen puts his home in Brentwood up for sale

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The Brentwood home of Esa-Pekka Salonen, former music director of the L.A. Philharmonic, has come on the market at $4.1 million.

Designed by architect Ted Tanaka, the six-bedroom, 5 1/2 -bathroom house has 4,695 square feet of living space. Tanaka's works, which emphasize the use of light, geometric shapes and open space, are among the most recognizable in Los Angeles. He is responsible for the towers of colored lights at the entrance to LAX.

At the Salonen house, an open staircase with a semicircular glass wall at the landing bumps out of the side of the structure, and 2 1/2 -story tall window walls flood the living room-dining room area with natural light.

The home has the feel of a contemporary museum, with obtuse angles, curved walls, exposed trusses, clerestory windows, white-on-white bathrooms and a dramatic black-and-white kitchen.

The conductor-composer is Finnish so it seems fitting he would have a sauna. A musical staff on its door handle offers a touch of whimsy.

"With the wonderful Californian climate, the location and proximity to the beach, the pool in the garden . . .the outside living was perfect, especially for bringing up a young family," Salonen said. "The quiet for composing in my studio was idyllic."

The property was purchased in 2002 for $1,516,000, according to public records.

Salonen, 51, led his last concert with the Philharmonic in April. He was the orchestra's 10th conductor for what he described as "17 wonderful years."

The maestro is selling because he has a new position as principal conductor and artistic advisor of the Philharmonia Orchestra in London and is going to be based there.

In Los Angeles, he is passing the baton, but not his house, to 28-year-old Venezuelan Gustavo Dudamel, who officially starts as music director in September.

They didn't let home go to pot

"Weeds" writer and executive producer Jenji Kohan and her husband, Christopher Noxon, have listed their Spanish-style home in Los Feliz at $1,597,000.

The three-bedroom, 2 1/2 -bathroom house, built in 1927, has 2,980 square feet of living space and sits on a bluff overlooking East Hollywood. Among period details are stenciled ceiling beams, an original hand-painted mural in the foyer, a wrought-iron circular staircase and a turret sitting room.

"It's a family house," said Noxon, who liked the home's combination of character and room flow off the stairway. "Everything winds around that central core."

The pair redid the kitchen and back part of the house two years ago with the intent of keeping it largely authentic, he said. "Although the kitchen has upgrades, we tried to maintain the original Spanish vibe."

Springing a surprise on friends and family who gathered for what they thought was an engagement party, the couple married under the trellis in the front yard and are raising three children in the house. "It's a very dear and special place," Noxon said.

They are selling because they have moved up to another home in the neighborhood.

Kohan, 40, purchased the home in 1996 for $520,000, public records show. She has been a writer and producer on television shows including "Tracy Takes On" (1996-97) in addition to creating "Weeds," now in its fifth season.

Noxon, 40, worked as a music consultant on the Showtime comedy from 2005 to 2007 and is an author and freelance journalist.

The listing agent is Patricia Ruben of Sotheby's International Realty, Los Feliz.

'Desert Blanket Bingo' can't cut it

Singer and actor Frankie Avalon has sold his golf course retreat in La Quinta for $955,000.

The three-bedroom, 3 1/2 -bathroom, 3,285-square-foot house looks out over a pool and spa to a fairway and the mountains beyond in the PGA West community. The house was built in 2002 and features an open floor plan and walls of glass.

A golfer, Avalon purchased the home in 2005 for $1,185,000, according to public records.

The onetime teen idol performed his 1959 No. 1 hit "Venus" on "American Idol" in April. He kicked off a tour last week in New Jersey that will cross the country and conclude in New York in April 2010.

Avalon, 68, got his musical start as a child prodigy playing the trumpet in Philadelphia. A 1957 appearance on Dick Clark's "American Bandstand" fueled sales of his early record "De De Dinah," which went on to sell more than a million copies. He starred opposite Annette Funicello in such beach movies as "Beach Blanket Bingo" (1965), "Bikini Beach" (1964) and "Muscle Beach Party" (1964).

The listing agent was Sandi Phillips of California Lifestyle Realty, La Quinta.

Leaving high-rise life for a house

Harry Morton, the owner of the Viper Room and founder of the Pink Taco restaurant chain, has put his West Hollywood condominium on the market at $2,895,000.

The one-bedroom, two-bathroom unit, which can be converted to two bedrooms, has 1,845 square feet of living space. It is on the eighth floor of the high-rise Sierra Towers, constructed in 1965. There are views of the Sunset Strip, downtown L.A. and the ocean. The condo was designed for minimal maintenance.

The son of Hard Rock Cafe founder Peter Morton is selling because he recently purchased a home in the Hollywood Hills' bird streets area.

Max Shapiro of Westside Estate Agency, Beverly Hills, has the listing.

lauren.beale@latimes.com

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