Tesla’s Chief Designer Pays $51 Million for Adam Levine’s Palisades Estate

If you’re among the 1.27 million people who pre-ordered the upcoming Cybertruck and have a hankering to see one in the flesh, you may want to scoot on over to Pacific Palisades. There’s a decent chance one of the first examples off the assembly line will be tooling around the posh Riviera section of town, where Cybertruck lead designer Franz von Holzhausen and his wife have just bought a sumptuous compound, in a $51 million deal initially reported by the L.A. Times.

Of course, von Holzhausen isn’t “just” the Cybertruck guy. Elon Musk’s stalwart sidekick has been Tesla’s chief of design since 2008 — since before Tesla was even a thing, practically — and designed all of the brand’s most successful models, including the Model S, Model X, Model 3 and Model Y. Before joining Tesla, the Connecticut native worked for General Motors, where he met fellow automotive designer Vicki (née Vlachakis), a Pasadena, Calif. native who is now founder and owner of the sleek Von Holzhausen fashion line.

The couple’s new home was sold by Adam Levine and Behati Prinsloo, who first put the place up for grabs less than two months ago, asking $57.5 million. While the final sales price represents an 11% discount, it’s still a whopping $19 million more than the Prinsloo-Levines paid for the place just over three years ago. It’s also believed to be the fifth-priciest L.A. home sale this year, behind only the $126 million that Fashion Nova’s owner paid for Bel Air’s The One megamansion, Drake’s $75 million splurge, the $70 million a Hong Kong billionaire paid in Beverly Park, and Adele’s $58 million deal to buy Sly Stallone’s estate.

Set on a verdant three-acre lot in what is arguably the poshest pocket of the Palisades Riviera, von Holzhausen’s new estate has a unique, only-in-L.A. sort of history. The nearly 9,000-square-foot main house was originally built in the late 1930s and designed by beloved California architect Cliff May, and was reportedly once owned by Gregory Peck.

In the 2000s, the property came to be owned by powerful Hollywood producer Brian Grazer, who installed what is perhaps the property’s most fascinating feature — a four-bedroom guesthouse that actually lies mostly underground, sitting bunker-style below the back lawn. (Yes, it would make the ultimate studio for top-secret car design meetings, or perhaps a state-of-the-art Bond villain lair.)

Grazer sold the estate in ’09 for $17.6 million to Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, who lived there during the entirety of their marriage and for some years afterward, with Garner occupying the main house and Affleck shacking up in the guesthouse. They sold the property in 2019 for $32 million to Levine and Prinsloo, who subsequently hired celebrity interior designers Tommy and Kathy Clements to redo the place. The resulting decor, minimalist and demure in a pared-down sort of way, is seen in photos below and was also featured in Architectural Digest, in the form of a video tour hosted by the owners themselves.

Although von Holzhausen’s net worth does not seem to be a matter of public knowledge, and the elusive designer rarely gives interviews, he’s been with Tesla since before the company went public in 2010. In the 12 years since, the trillion-dollar company has become the world’s most valuable automaker, and someone who invested $1,000 back in 2010 would now be sitting on as much as $120,000. So it’s probably a fair guess that von Holzhausen and his family are already set for life — and probably several more lifetimes beyond, too.

post image

That hypothesis is supported by a quick look at von Holzhausen’s incredible real estate portfolio, which puts some billionaires’ holdings to shame. In addition to his new $51 million showpiece in the Palisades, he’s also got a $12 million Richard Neutra-designed estate in Montecito, which he and Vicki acquired back in 2020. And less than a year ago, the couple paid $23 million for a blufftop home in Malibu. But wait, there’s more: the pair also owns three more Malibu houses, plus a million-dollar apartment in Santa Monica. Altogether, the portfolio value stands at nearly $100 million — and that’s a conservative estimate.

Kurt Rappaport of Westside Estate Agency held the Palisades listing; Aaron Kirman and Dalton Gomez of Compass repped the buyers.

Nestled on a hidden flag lot, the only parts of the compound visible from the street are the big driveway gate and the towering hedge walls.

Behind a vast motorcourt watched over by mature sycamores, the renovated main house features airy rooms with white oak floors, vaulted ceilings and walls of glass throughout.

There’s a cozy family room with a fireplace and wet bar, plus a state-of-the-art Dolby Digital movie theater.

The formal dining room offers another fireplace and built-in bookshelves; Steelcase doors open to a grassy back lawn.

The very beige kitchen features a La Cornue range and connects to a casual dining/breakfast room area.

In addition to the main house and detached guesthouse, there’s also a third building on the property that contains a gym, yoga studio and private office.

Outdoor amenities are numerous and include a lighted sports court, meandering pathways, firepits, formal gardens and even a chicken coop.

The three-acre estate sits atop a promontory with incredible views of the L.A. skyline.

The backyard pool is ringed by wizened olive trees and ample patio space for sunbathing.

A “hidden” staircase ferries folks down to the semi-subterranean guesthouse, which includes a full kitchen and living/dining areas, in addition to its four bedrooms.

For now, Levine and Prinsloo have moved to their new $52 million Montecito estate, though the couple has bounced in and out of many luxury homes over the past few years. In addition to their just-sold Palisades pad, they also owned another Montecito mansion that sold last summer for $28.5 million, and they recently unloaded their glam 1930s Beverly Hills estate to Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi for $42.5 million. (For what it’s worth, DeGeneres quickly flipped that house for $45 million to a San Francisco venture capitalist.)


Other Features