The ZORTHIAN RANCH is a unique and vibrant historical landmark.

The Zorthian Ranch | Our Legacy

For over 70 years the Zorthian Ranch has existed as a haven for artists & intellectuals, a community + arts center, and a natural respite from the city. It has also been used as a Movie Location for over 20 years, with many popular TV shows, movies, and music videos filmed here. Looking for a unique and versatile location for your next project? Let us know your project and location needs – we will get back to you right away!

Conveniently located 15 miles from Downtown Los Angeles in beautiful Altadena California, Zorthian Ranch rests on 45 acres of mountains, valleys, forests, structures, and sculptures. It’s distinctive architecture was hand built by the great Jirayr Zorthian (wikipedia), once a popular and eccentric artist in the area. Vintage vehicles, a variety animals (including a Llama), agriculture, and a diverse landscape provides unequaled potential for film & photo, community happenings, art, music and permaculture.

A message from Alan Zorthian:
2006, was a crossroads for my sister Alice and myself. Our parents had passed away.
Not satisfied with the two dimensions to which a visual artist was normally expected to adhere, our father, Jirayr Zorthian got three by spending the past 57 years willing into existence through hard work and persistence ambitious architecture constructed for the most part, with material that had been discarded by the large urban area immediately to the south of us. Broken concrete, telephone poles, insulators, steel, whatever he could find. Jirayr an immigrant from the old Ottoman empire, saw value in that which was being discarded. He couldn’t believe what people threw away.
“This is the Center for Research and Development of Industrial Discards with the emphasis on aesthetics” Jirayr would dramatically proclaim in an attempt to explain to his amazed and puzzled visitors what he was doing.
When he wasn’t building on the ranch, Jirayr was in his studio producing a formidable body of work as a fine artist. When he wasn’t doing that, he was out having fun and socializing with Dabney, our mother.
Jirayr started his work on the ranch with his first wife Betty Williams in 1946 and ended it with our mother Dabney on January 6th, 2004 when he passed. Dabney passed on 2 years later in 2006.
Jirayr’s recognition of the inert potential of discarded objects and material, was both a strength and also had it’s downside. Huge piles of stuff were all over the ranch in 2006. My brother Toby Zorthian facilitated the removal of 50 large containers of debris and still the ranch was full of material.
I grew up on the ranch but left in about 1981. I came back upon the passing of my mother in 2006. My daughters Caroline and Julia, who spent time here with their grandparents as children, have come with me and have taken it upon themselves to contribute in their own ways. Their cousin Tara is also working to bring us into the new millennium. Brian Carlson who has been here for 40 years, off and on has remained as the rock solid foreman. Beyond that we have attracted a diverse group of hardworking skilled and talented individuals who are working with us to develop our goals.
The infrastructure left by Jirayr is full of potential. It is an example of what can be achieved through dreaming big and working hard. We have developed AirBnbs and filming by production companies is a frequent activity. This only scratches the surface. Among our goals are to develop as a center for retreats, weddings, education and teaching creative endeavors and permaculture, and in general serve as a place to share ideas and just enjoy life. We also feel the Zorthian Ranch has international significance and as people come to the Los Angeles area from all over the world we want to develop a way for them to visit the ranch.
Jirayr was an early proponent of independent living, in having one’s own animals, growing one’s own food. He never quite achieved these goals as he was busy with more creative endeavors but we have found synergy with the concept of permaculture, a world view that manifests a goal of living in harmony with nature.
We are developing agriculture on our upper and lower properties property and are developing infrastructure towards the teaching of permaculture, art, drawing, ceramics and other useful creative endeavors.
All of these activities must synergize with the control mechanisms put in place by our local County and state government and we are working with the County of Los Angeles and indeed with the State of California on the Zoning issues necessary to facilitate our goals. We will need to obtain recognition as a Cultural Landmark from the State of California which will enable us to use the Historic Building Code to legitimize some of the structures. Activities that are not strictly residential must be undertaken under the proper Zoning Classification and it is necessary to enter into processes with Los Angeles County such that such Zoning classifications may be enacted. This takes money and resources and we are working to raise that money.
As Dabney passed away in 2006 it has now been 18 years we have been working beyond Jirayr and Dabney’s legacy. Progress has been made in many ways but there is a long way to go.
Alan Zorthian - Estate Administrator

Alan Zorthian

Son of Jirayr and Dabney Zorthian, Alan grew up on Zorthian Ranch before leaving to study Architecture. Alan stays busy running operations at Zorthian Ranch as well as maintaining a private architecture practice (commercial and residential). 


Caroline is a lover of life. She has been known as a “Trash Queen” for her obsession with trash however these days she’s more interested in permaculture. She enjoys the ranch as a microcosm of the larger world and believes in the beauty of human potential. She grew up in between Highland Park and Pasadena and has a deep appreciation for the city of Los Angeles. After a study abroad in Florence, Italy, she  moved to the ranch when she was 21 to help restructure. She runs the social media for the ranch and helps conceptualize how the ranch defines itself and many community events. She is welcome to questions/concerns/commentary at

JULIA ZORTHIAN- Management + Artist

Julia is a versatile creator and resident of the Zorthian Ranch. She manages the ranch’s Airbnb’s as well as runs many of the daily operations.


Tara was born and raised in New Mexico. She’s a multimedia artist who loves to sing, paint and puppeteer. She is also the granddaughter of Jirayr Zorthian and Dabney and has lived and worked at the Zorthian Ranch on and off since moving to Los Angeles 6 years ago. You can hear some of her music here: or on Spotify. 

Brian Carlson

Ranch foreman and long time assistant of Jirayr Zorthian, Brian Carlson has personally made a lot of the architecture and sculptures around the ranch.

Phillip De-Avila Molina

Power house of the ranch and resident blacksmith, Phil has been an essential and incomparable part of the ranch since his arrival. 



Chris rakes, quilts, crafts, sews, sweeps, and gives tours at the ranch. She creates special projects for people that celebrate important life moments, and is a working hypnotherapist and healing facilitator

JEFF G. RACK-Archivist

Jeff is a theatre director, designer and writer. He is one of the archivists on the Ranch and recently curated an exhibit of Jiryar’s murals. He has plans to do cool immersive theatre here and more exhibits.



Billie is a top notch virgo self starter. He started his business in car registration and often juggles various entrenpreneurial ventures. He believes in self sufficiency in all aspects and runs the community garden on the lower property. He loves to drive the tractor and make the best use of materials available. 



Rohan is a designer, builder, teacher of regenerative practices. He’s a Professor of sustainable architectural design at Cal-Poly Pomona and manages a business called Regenerative Systems. With a keen eye for the inherent synergies found in nature, he uses biomimicry to shape the built environment in an efficient, eco-friendly way. He has managed a wide range of projects relating to self-sufficiency and resilience, either for individuals, companies or non-profits around the world. Rohan also believes in giving back to communities in need. By sharing his knowledge, he tries to promote a regenerative lifestyle whenever he can. You can see more of him and his work at his website:




Remac is a fabricator, seamstress, painter, sculptor, carpenter, karaoke hype beast, animal lover with a deep commitment to any bit presented. Into repurposing and revitalizing forgotten relics and quality refuse. Trying her best. Frequently injured.


Gunner Sixx is an artist & musician from Los Angeles. He has created event spaces, performed and created music for multiple musical projects as well as composing for contemporary dance companies throughout the US and Canada. Currently he has shifted focus to developing a deeper connection to visual art and has found creative refuge and inspiration at the Zorthian Ranch with his dog chicken. 


ANDRES - Shdy Sheprd

Andres frequently visited the ranch as a child with his rancher father, who kept animals with Jirayr, and his sweet mother. He grew up around many Ranchero’s and continues to hold down the tradition of ranching, raising cattle, and cooking meats. 

For more info you can find Andres on instagram at 

David Apodaca

Expert in all things plant, Apo has been a friend and component of the ranch for years. He tends to hundreds of plants around Zorthian Ranch.


Chris Martinez started studying permaculture when he was 15 and has traveled all over the world to study under renowned teachers. He uses his container classroom on the lower property to share knowledge and model what a permaculture space can look like. He also put together the Arroyo Convergence in 2022, a 3 day event which hosted over 100 people and hosted a number of workshops and classes. You can follow him here


Kayla contributes her energy towards love and healing to help create healthier, brighter spirits and spaces. Focusing on realigning energetic fields to balance with the Univere’s frequency encompasses all living creatures, plants and ether. 

You’ll often find Kayla amongst a small herd of horses on Zorthian’s Upper Ranch, shadowed by a small white dog with two creative and very intelligent homeschooled children roaming close by. 

Kayla owns and operates a wellness centre in Arcadia called Santa Anita Holistic Health.

She often creates fun events at Z Ranch for communities to enjoy over on the Ranches Charles Carter Patio. Events include plant based foods, Yoga and drum circles and or sound baths. 

Besides providing holistic natural healing services Kayla is studying to become a veterinarian now too! For the love of combining medicine of the East and West she aims to provide growth of education, space and services for human and animal. 

IAN ROSENSUS-Farmer/Fabricator/Human