Restoration Efforts Continue at the Virginia Robinson Gardens, the “First Estate of Beverly Hills”

The County of Los Angeles has embarked on a multi-million-dollar rehabilitation and restoration of the “First Estate of Beverly Hills.” Before we get to the project list, a little architectural history will provide some background information. The Robinsons’ Beaux-Arts-style Main House, designed and built by Virginia’s father in 1911, has a 6-inch concrete ceiling deck.  Built like a parking structure, it is strong enough to hold multiple cars. The concrete sub-floor of the Main House is equally over-built and is insulated, like the walls of the house, by the ancient Italian method of stacked terra cotta waffle blocks.  The Main House now displays valuable artifacts collected by the Robinsons from all corners of the world. It is so fortunate that the structure is over-built as it provides protection for the artifacts.

These following projects will also assist in the preservation of the estate and its collection:

  1.   Remove the existing roofs, an accumulation of four roofs over 104 years, and install a new roof on the Main House. The new roof will be the same in appearance as the pebble-style roof first installed in 1911. It was found after the first three roofs were removed. Additionally, modern insulation will be added under the new roof, stabilizing the interior temperature of the house to better conserve the collections.
  2.   Repair root-clogged sewer lines to assure no interruptions during special events.
  3.   Upgrade electrical service to the estate to increase capacity for future installation of museum quality heating and cooling systems in both the Main House and the Pool Pavilion. This will allow precise control of temperature and humidity in all interior spaces, further conserving the collections.
  4.   Add electrical service to Cove Way garage, automate the driveway gate, and add security cameras. This will allow employees to park in this area daily. It will also allow for future construction of an Educational Pavilion.
  5.   Repair and replace various concrete poured-in-place retaining walls throughout the Gardens. These repairs will stabilize the walls and allow them to continue to function to retain garden terraces and the driveway.
  6.   Restore the plumbing and tile of the swimming pool in front of the Pool Pavilion. While the pool does not leak, the return lines from the pool to the pump do leak underground and waste water. These lines will be abandoned and new lines installed. The pool will be drained and cleaned; grout and tiles will be replaced as needed.
  7.   Replace the driveway and parking lot. The current black top portion of the driveway is crumbling and is severely affected by tree roots; it must be removed and new black top installed. This will keep the driveway and parking lot safe to drive and to walk on and re-establish proper water drainage of  the parking lot.

These deferred maintenance projects will be implemented over the next 1.5 years.  Due to the construction,  please call or email [email protected] before you come to the Gardens to confirm parking instructions.

Tim Lindsay

Superintendent VRG

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