A Famed Disney Imagineer’s Former SoCal Retreat Can Be Yours For RM14.053 Million

A little more than eight years after he passed away from age-related causes at age 91, the onetime Ventura County residence of acclaimed artist and production illustrator Frank Armitage has popped up on the market for the first time in half a century, asking a smidge less than $3 million. Resting at 1807 Ladera Road in Ojai, the 10-acre spread comes complete with picturesque views overlooking the entire Ojai Valley and the Topatopa Mountains beyond.

Custom-built for Armitage and his then-partner Jill Penkhus in the early 1970s—and subsequently inherited by Penkhus, an artist who died in 2016—the green wood-sided structure is now owned by her husband, songwriter Jerry Millstein, and offers two bedrooms and three bathrooms in roughly 2,000 square feet of split-level living space boasting abundant windows throughout. A striking sculpture crafted by Armitage himself also comes with the sale.

Depicting himself as a mythological Greek half-man, half-human centaur strumming a guitar and his former partner as a beautiful nude on his back, the sculpture holds court in the living room, which also contains a retro wood-burning fireplace with a stove pipe chimney stretching to the ceiling and glass and wood-trimmed doors spilling out to an expansive wood deck. An adjacent kitchen outfitted with an eat-in peninsula and a walk-in pantry flows to a dining area, a family room that currently serves as an art studio, and an office nestled alongside the entrance foyer.

Other highlights include a duo of spacious primary bedrooms—one on the main level and another on the floor below, with both featuring their own walk-in closets and baths. And outdoors, the Zen-like grounds are dotted with avocado and orange orchards, along with a host of boulder-lined hiking trails. There are also a pair of cottages on the premises, one of which was built with local river stones and the other a music studio holding a full kitchen and bath. An added bonus? The tasting room at Ojai Olive Oil Company is just steps away!

Revered as one of the world’s foremost production illustrators, Armitage moved to Los Angeles in 1952 with $84 in his pocket and landed a job at Walt Disney Studios, where he contributed to backgrounds and layouts for features such as Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty, Mary Poppins, and The Jungle Book. The Australian-born artist also did production illustration for Fox’s Oscar-winning sci-fi classic Fantastic Voyage and created artwork and designs for several Disney theme parks.

1807 Ladera Road in Ojai

Previously published on Robb Report USA

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