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La Jolla’s Monkey House

“The site of many family weddings, 4th of July parades, holiday parties, and La Jolla Secret Garden Tours.”

The spacious patio offers plenty of room for monkeying around.
The spacious patio offers plenty of room for monkeying around.

Renowned local architect Edgar Ullrich was lured from his Colorado home a century ago by a prized commission — chief design responsibilities for Casa de Mañana, a luxury resort hotel in La Jolla that eventually became an upscale retirement community. He ended up loving San Diego so much that he never left. He continued to design homes for wealthy locals until his death in 1958.

Ullrich’s first project, however, was the home he built in 1924 to reside in during the Casa de Mañana project at 7231 Monte Vista Avenue. According to listing materials retrieved from Realtor.com, locals refer to the residence as Monkey House “for the sculpture that adorns the front gable with two monkeys holding the Ulrich family crest.” Sadly, the listing’s photos don’t include any up-close monkey shots.

Comprising approximately 5250 square feet of interior living area, the main house includes seven bedrooms (not including a dedicated office) and six-and-a-half baths. It’s been added onto several times, including a second story addition designed by Ullrich in 1928 “with a winding staircase from the living room that leads to two en-suite bedrooms with balconies overlooking the ocean” to expand the home for its next owner, Philip Barber. Barber would go on to develop the surrounding area south of La Jolla Village and west to Windansea Beach, lending his name to the neighborhood now known as the Barber Tract.

Keeping with the English Tudor “storybook aesthetic,” the current owners added a third ocean-view story with a “sprawling family room with three-story ceilings, a wall of French doors that open to the patio, and a gigantic fireplace inspired by the Ahwahnee Lodge in Yosemite.”

Continuing on, the residence also boasts a formal dining with fresco-adorned coved ceilings, an eat-in kitchen that appears to have a brick barbecue that shares space with the cooktop under a massive vent hood, a formal living room “with vaulted cathedral ceilings,” a “sun-drenched family room with soaring ceilings, and tons of original charm” that includes “leaded windows with clear and stained glass throughout that open to feel the ocean breeze or listen to the waves as you fall asleep.”

An excellent touch far too often forgotten in more modern designs is the presence of window seating alcoves in what appears to be most of the bedrooms.

Across the “spacious and beautifully landscaped backyard, with ample living and dining spaces” that the listing boasts have been “the site of many family weddings, 4th of July parades, holiday parties, and La Jolla Secret Garden Tours.” There’s an additional studio apartment above the detached garage and an “idylic playhouse replica of the original home that Ullrich designed for his children’s use.”

Public records show the current owners as the estate of Charles and Julie Fitch. The Fitches came to La Jolla in 1959 where Charles took up a fellowship at Scripps Clinic. He passed in 2018; Julie followed last January.

Following the Fitches’ long stewardship of Monkey House, it was offered for sale in April for the first time in 60 years (and only the third time ever) in mid-April. The asking price of $8,850,000 remains unchanged to date.

  • 7231 Monte Vista | La Jolla, 92037
  • Beds: 7 | Baths: 8 | Current Owners: Fitch Family | List Price: $8,850,000
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The spacious patio offers plenty of room for monkeying around.
The spacious patio offers plenty of room for monkeying around.

Renowned local architect Edgar Ullrich was lured from his Colorado home a century ago by a prized commission — chief design responsibilities for Casa de Mañana, a luxury resort hotel in La Jolla that eventually became an upscale retirement community. He ended up loving San Diego so much that he never left. He continued to design homes for wealthy locals until his death in 1958.

Ullrich’s first project, however, was the home he built in 1924 to reside in during the Casa de Mañana project at 7231 Monte Vista Avenue. According to listing materials retrieved from Realtor.com, locals refer to the residence as Monkey House “for the sculpture that adorns the front gable with two monkeys holding the Ulrich family crest.” Sadly, the listing’s photos don’t include any up-close monkey shots.

Comprising approximately 5250 square feet of interior living area, the main house includes seven bedrooms (not including a dedicated office) and six-and-a-half baths. It’s been added onto several times, including a second story addition designed by Ullrich in 1928 “with a winding staircase from the living room that leads to two en-suite bedrooms with balconies overlooking the ocean” to expand the home for its next owner, Philip Barber. Barber would go on to develop the surrounding area south of La Jolla Village and west to Windansea Beach, lending his name to the neighborhood now known as the Barber Tract.

Keeping with the English Tudor “storybook aesthetic,” the current owners added a third ocean-view story with a “sprawling family room with three-story ceilings, a wall of French doors that open to the patio, and a gigantic fireplace inspired by the Ahwahnee Lodge in Yosemite.”

Continuing on, the residence also boasts a formal dining with fresco-adorned coved ceilings, an eat-in kitchen that appears to have a brick barbecue that shares space with the cooktop under a massive vent hood, a formal living room “with vaulted cathedral ceilings,” a “sun-drenched family room with soaring ceilings, and tons of original charm” that includes “leaded windows with clear and stained glass throughout that open to feel the ocean breeze or listen to the waves as you fall asleep.”

An excellent touch far too often forgotten in more modern designs is the presence of window seating alcoves in what appears to be most of the bedrooms.

Across the “spacious and beautifully landscaped backyard, with ample living and dining spaces” that the listing boasts have been “the site of many family weddings, 4th of July parades, holiday parties, and La Jolla Secret Garden Tours.” There’s an additional studio apartment above the detached garage and an “idylic playhouse replica of the original home that Ullrich designed for his children’s use.”

Public records show the current owners as the estate of Charles and Julie Fitch. The Fitches came to La Jolla in 1959 where Charles took up a fellowship at Scripps Clinic. He passed in 2018; Julie followed last January.

Following the Fitches’ long stewardship of Monkey House, it was offered for sale in April for the first time in 60 years (and only the third time ever) in mid-April. The asking price of $8,850,000 remains unchanged to date.

  • 7231 Monte Vista | La Jolla, 92037
  • Beds: 7 | Baths: 8 | Current Owners: Fitch Family | List Price: $8,850,000
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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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