Coming up for sale for the first time in 60 years, this secluded property in Laurel Canyon is the longtime family residence of Hanns Scharff, a German immigrant with a fascinating backstory.
Born in East Prussia in 1907, Scharff had been living in South Africa working for his family’s textile business during the 1930s, but happened to be vacationing with his wife and children in Germany when World War II broke out in 1939. As a German citizen, he was pressed into military service—though he never joined the Nazi Party—eventually getting assigned to interrogate POWs thanks to his fluency with English.
Following the war, he was invited to give lectures at the Pentagon and helped the U.S. Air Force develop survival techniques for their pilots. Per a 2016 LA Times feature, Scharff’s methods have come to be seen as the gold standard among the intelligence community.
Scharff’s true calling, however, was to be an artist. After settling in the U.S. after the war, he built a successful career as a mosaicist, producing work for Disneyworld’s Cinderella Castle, Los Angeles City Hall, and the USC campus.
Unsurprisingly, elaborate mosaic work is also on display at the Scharff family residence. Located at 8519 Crescent Drive in the Wonderland Park tract, the 1940s home contains six bedrooms and four bathrooms in 3,981 square feet of living space. Its features include vaulted and beamed ceilings, hardwood and tile floors, picture windows, French doors, two fireplaces, and built-in shelving.
Included in the sale are eight parcels of land, totaling over an acre, and an owned solar panel system. There’s also parking for approximately 10 cars. The property is listed with Lorena Costino and Alexis Boris Waterman of Compass at an asking price of $3.3 million.