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Book Online or call HomeAway Booking Assistance +44 (0) 800 917 5992

THE MOUNTAIN MERMAID - Grand scale, bohemian elegance, rural bliss.

Bedrooms 3
Property type villa


About the property

Renovated 1930s villa with gardens, 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, and mountain view

Spell-binding beauty, warm ambience, and nature, are the prime amenities of this bucolic retreat. With a rich history, lush gardens and sweeping mountain views.

Note: Weddings and events with long lead times of a month or more are not booked through VRBO, but are booked directly with the owner.

Visitors often remark about the Mermaid’s beauty, ambiance, warmth, and soothing vibe. The location is studded with irreplaceable antique furniture and fixtures inside and out.

VARIOUS USES include overnight stays, photo and film shoots, retreats, workshops, memorials, and other events with shorter lead times of a month or less. The stated $2,500. day rate is for a group of 9 or less staying overnight (Check-in 3pm, check-out 11am). Everything else is individually priced depending on use, numbers of days, guests, hours, etc. Please, no surprises about how you intend to use the Mermaid…we want to know what to expect. Thanks!

NUMBERS OF GUESTS: Be sure to include the maximum number of people you expect for any use when you first inquire. Guests agree not to assign or sublet any portion of the property to another person or party. Additional guests beyond 6 for overnight stays can be arranged. We have number of antique beds we can set up with privacy screens in the Great Room.

NO PETS. Sorry.

GUEST QUARTERS: Guests have the exclusive use of the main floor with all of the grand rooms from the country club days -- the spectacular 1,500 square foot Great Room, the spacious dining room and kitchen, 3 bedrooms with 3 en-suite bathrooms, patios, roof deck, balconies, pool, backyard, front yard, and side-yards, (herein collectively called the “location”). The OWNER’S QUARTERS are on the lower basement level. He travels frequently, and may or may not be on site during your stay. Guest quarters do not overlap the owner’s quarters. Your peaceful enjoyment of the location is of utmost importance, and your privacy will be respected. Owner or manager will be available if you need anything.

OVERNIGHT STAYS: The Mermaid has three bedrooms that can sleep six comfortably. Two rooms have queen-sized beds and one has a king that can be divided into two extra-long twins. 3 other guests can sleep on antique brass beds in The Great Room The day rate is $2,500. for the location with a maximum of 9 guests. Check in is at 3pm, check-out is 11am. Kids and babies are ok. There is a crib if you need one.

LIMITED KITCHEN USE: For overnight stays of 6 persons or less, guests have full kitchen privileges. The indoor kitchen is not available for cooking for larger numbers of guests or events. Pre-prepared food can be ordered from a restaurant or caterer, picked up or dropped off. A list of local restaurants that deliver is provided. We can recommend a private chef allowed to use the kitchen. OUTDOOR KITCHEN: There is a large (500 square-foot) patio next to the dining room and kitchen that is frequently used as the food preparation area by caterers and guests for larger groups and events.

PHOTOSHOOTS AND FILMING: The Mermaid has been a favorite location with photographers and filmmakers the world over for 25 years. Usually, film and photo shoots occur during the daylight hours, with no one staying over. Hours vary, but 8am to 5pm is a rather typical period for a photo shoot. Inquire about rates if you would be interested in members of the cast or crew staying over. Rates are quoted on a per-job basis.

SMOKING, CANDLES, AND FIREPLACE: Smoking is ok outside only on the front and side patios, the back balcony, roof and pool deck. All butts in ashtrays please. Absolutely no candles, or open flames outside (it’s the law) or in the bedrooms. Candles ok only in the great room and dining room in small votive or larger hurricane glass containers. The fireplace in the Great Room is available with owner’s ok and guidance and only on those days approved by the local air quality agency. We are in a high wildfire area and any breach of these guidelines will result in loss of the security deposit.

WILDLIFE and BUGS: The Mermaid is a certified wildlife site and way-station for migrating Monarch butterflies. Birds, squirrels, bunnies, lizards, bats, insects, and other animals live on site. Raccoons, possums, coyotes, deer, ducks and blue heron come to visit. We have an active and healthy ecosystem, and no harsh synthetic pesticides and herbicides are used. Plus, we have no screens on the windows to impede the view. Hence, there are more butterflies, bees and bugs here than in town. If you are squeamish about wildlife and insects, perhaps this location is not for you. The owner and residents in Topanga cherish and want to preserve the wild natural beauty of our rural community. Please help us protect and preserve our beautiful natural wilderness by observing NO PESTICIDES, AEROSOLES, POISINS, TOXIC MATERIALS that could get into our fountains, pool, plants, or creeks.

PARKING: Park on the property in front of the Mermaid and on the lower parking lot level. There is lots of room, so NO PARKING ON NEIGHBORING STREETS.


SENSITIVE SEPTIC SYSTEM: All properties in rural Topanga Canyon are on septic systems and toilets are sensitive to overload and misuse. Therefore, BOATING RULES APPLY; please NEVER put anything non-organic in our toilets, deposit urine paper in waste baskets. Guys, you are encouraged to water the bushes rather than use the toilet.

• LOCATION - In Topanga Canyon, the celebrated vortex of art and eccentricity. Minutes to urban Los Angeles, yet seems a zillion miles away.

• NATURE - Surrounded by thousands of acres of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, the largest urban park in America

• GRAND SCALE - 7,000-square-foot architectural gem on several acres of rural bliss.

• DROP-DEAD GORGEOUS - Candy for the eyes. Beauty is perhaps its prime amenity.

• AMBIENCE - Great vibe, intimacy and warmth.

• MOUNTAIN VIEWS and fresh air.

• LUSH GARDENS with meandering pathways, fountains everywhere and lots of vintage outdoor furniture.

• WILDLIFE - A Certified Wildlife and Butterfly Habitat. Peacocks roam, bunnies hop about, bees buzz, and hummingbird drink from the fountains helicopter-style.

• SPECTACULAR GREAT ROOM with 16-foot high truss-beamed ceiling, grand staircase, and original hardwood maple floors.

• THREE BEDROOMS - The Siren Room, Mountain Room, and Tower Room.

• 3 ENSUITE BATHROOMS, beautifully appointed.

• BIG FIREPLACE in the Great Room to warm the soul.

• EXTERIORS - Patios, Verandas, Balconies, and Decks.

• BIG CLASSIC SWIMMING POOL - 20’ X 40’, three to eight feet deep with deep azure bottom.

• OFF-STREET PARKING - If you visit, please park inside the front gate, not on the neighborhood streets.

• PHOTOGENIC - A favorite location with photographers and filmmakers for decades.

• NOTORIOUS HISTORY - The property was originally developed in the early 30s as the Sylvia Park Country Club. In the 40’s it was reinvented as a gambling house run by the infamous gangster, Mickey Cohen. In the 50’s it was reborn again as The Canyon Club, a gay nightclub owned and operated by a former vice cop. Other assorted identities include American Legion hall, boarding house, theatre, and a celebrated artist’s haunt called The Mermaid Tavern that featured world-class chamber music and more.

By the late 1980s, the place was an exercise in deferred maintenance, a shipwreck in slow motion listing precariously, with a crumbling foundation, a checkered past, and an uncertain future. In 1989, a local artist with a passion for old houses and history bought the property, moved in with the rats, bats, and one feral cat, shoveled the horse manure from the floor, and began a 25-year journey of rebirth and rehabilitation.

The Mountain Mermaid is now a horticultural retreat for the rejuvenation of mind, body and spirit, and for the preservation of our natural, architectural and historical heritage

The rest is history.


More Details

Bill Buerge
Member since: 2014
Speaks English
Response time:
Within 12 hours
Response rate:
Calendar last updated:
17 June, 2017

About Bill Buerge

Long-story-short, I was born in LA, love art, houses and history, grew weary of working for others as a commercial illustrator, so became my own boss reclaiming old buildings, and fell in love with a remarkable property now called the Mountain Mermaid. It was initially conceived in the late 20s as the clubhouse and centerpiece for the then brand new Topanga-based Sylvia Park Country Club. It was intended as a calling card to encourage Los Angelenos to drive into the mountains and buy a membership. But, the Depression set in, sales lagged, and it was downscaled to a boarding house, and then became one of Mickey Choen's clandestine gambling and cat houses during the war. In the mid-50s it changed hands to a former vice cop who reinvented it as a gay bar called The Canyon Club. It was resold again in the 70’s to become the celebrated Mermaid Tavern, an artist’s haunt famous for its world-class chamber music, ox-tail soup, and erotic art shows (the history’s all true, the Mermaid is now a California declared historic site.) In the late 80s it went up for sale again and I couldn’t help but fall in love with It's great bones, bohemian grandeur, and boundless potential the moment I walked through the front door. Unable to sleep, or think of anything else, I made an offer, quick-sold a bunch of stuff, closed escrow, got a 40% loan (true), swept the horse manure from the floor (true), and moved in with the rats, bats, and one feral cat (only partially true…there was also a goat). I embarked on a quarter-century journey of rebirth and rehabilitation that has been a renovator's nightmare and the dream of a lifetime. Now, the place is candy for the eyes, food for the soul, and sings a siren’s song that draws the world to it's doorstep. Not unlike it's seductive sisters of the sea, this land-locked mermaid called to me. I recently listed it on it may call to you, as well.

Bill Buerge purchased this villa in 1990

Why Bill Buerge chose Topanga

The moment I walked through the front door I had to have her. I fell in love with her not unlike one of those hapless sailors of lore that succumb to the siren's spell. I have relationships with houses. Sorry, I know it's weird. She's big and she's beautiful. I love her grand scale, balanced proportions and great bones.

What makes this villa unique

1.) Fresh air, wild critters, peacocks, bats, and butterflies.


3.) I love DOGS, and Topanga is "dog patch".

4.) LOCATION in friendly small creative town.

5.) I love the COFFEE SHOPS, especially Mimosa.

6.) The Mermaid is now the repository of the results of 25 years, and untold thousands of hours rummaging through antique shops, curb-side cruising, and dumpster-diving to seek out treasures and tidbits that titillate me.

- Lots of interesting history, a notorious "purpled" past.


Accommodation and facilities for this holiday villa in Sylvia Park in Topanga

Property Type:
  • villa
House Rules:
  • Check-in: 3:00 PM / Check-out: 11:00 AM
  • Max. occupancy: 6
  • children welcome
  • pets not allowed
  • smoking allowed
  • 3 Bathrooms
  • Bathroom 1 -
    Bathroom 2 -
    Bathroom 3 -
  • 3 Bedrooms, Sleeps 6
  • limited accessibility




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Prices & Availability

Prices for this holiday villa in Sylvia Park, Los Angeles area

Rental Basis:
per property
Owner accepts payment in:
Convert Currency
Rental Period Minimum Price Additional Nights Weekend Night Weekly Monthly Event Price
My Standard Rate
1 night minimum stay
for 1 night

Additional pricing information

Refundable Damage Deposit £1,156.95

Owner's Cancellation Policy

  • 100% refund for cancellations more than 60 days before check-in date.
Enquire Now

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