1920’s Mediterranean mansion

William Hearst’s Alleged 1920’s Mediterranean Mansion Hits Market for $11.250M

Think a timeless 1920’s Mediterranean mansion with a charming bungalow guesthouse, sculpture and painting studios, caretaker’s cottage, glass greenhouse and even a stone amphitheater, completely surrounded by specimen trees, walking paths, waterfalls and fountains. “It’s magical!” he adds.

Watch the Full DIGStv Episode on this Home

There is absolutely nothing like this truly rare, exceptional and massive property, rich with the lore and luster of Old Hollywood, classic celebrities, L.A. history, arts, and artists—all set amid New Hollywood’s best and biggest attractions,” says Bob Friday of Bulldog Estates, the exclusive listing agent for this one-of-a-kind compound.

1920’s Mediterranean-Revival mansion

“The residences themselves are classic 1920s and ’30s structures that have been lovingly restored,” says Friday. “While the spaces may not be quite as grand and majestic as today’s imposing modern concrete-and-glass trophy homes, they are warm, comforting and calming, with a strong connection to all of the surrounding natural wonder and beauty. Living here evokes an era when life was beautiful, fashionable, refined—and a little privileged!”

2025-2027 N. Highland in Hollywood

The compound is situated at 2025-2027 N. Highland in Hollywood—on a nearly 3-acre parcel of land just minutes from The Hollywood Bowl, Ford Amphitheater, Hollywood, and Highland Center, and Dolby Theatre. Legend has it that publishing tycoon William Randolph Hearst built the main residence in 1920, with Julia Morgan serving as architect, for actress Marion Davies. Sometime thereafter, this became the home of fabled L.A. artists Henry and Mona Lovins and their Hollywood Arts Center School, where the pair taught art history and artistic techniques for almost 50 years.

The current owner acquired the estate in the early 2000s and embarked upon a restoration project to return it to its earlier glory with its beautifully finished smooth stucco, expansive French doors and windows, stone fountains, flagstone walkways, Roman columns, lush gardens, and a concrete and stucco fountain that empties into a water lily pond at the parking drive area some 70 feet below the mansion’s entrance. One unexpected finish? “Spectacular blue/green Asian-style ceramic roof tiles that take the Mediterranean mansion look a couple of steps beyond,” Friday adds.

The three-bedroom main house offers more than 3,300 square feet of living space on two levels, replete with a dramatic entry from a secluded tree-lined walkway, arches and soaring columns, and a wrought-iron entry gate. Inside, the courtyard-like rotunda foyer boasts a centerpiece Batchelder-tiled fountain resting in a small reflecting pool (also fashioned from Batchelder tile); walls finished in traditional Italian art glaze; a massive glass-paned cupola sporting an artistic multicolored glass skylight. Among the home’s highlights: a light-filled formal living room with three walls of towering French doors and a Batchelder-tiled fireplace; a spacious den/family room that leads to a private patio via double French doors; a formal dining room; and a large, updated kitchen and prep area.

The home’s rear doors open to verdant gardens and a walled courtyard featuring an Italian wall fountain, overhead arbor with festival lighting and an alfresco dining/conversation area. A distressed vintage courtyard gate and rustic path traverse to a 2,200-square-foot, flat-roof bungalow offering a bright, multi-windowed living room, spacious eat-in kitchen, dining room with French doors to the patio, an open and airy bedroom, and a lower-level sculpture studio. A trio of additional structures on the property includes a small two-room caretaker’s cottage; a glass greenhouse high up on the hillside behind the mansion; and a curved stone-seat amphitheater with room for more than 60 people that is ideal for large-scale entertaining. An added bonus? A pretty cool view of the surrounding Hollywood Hills.

“This is a rare, truly unique environment, indeed,” says Friday.

To have your very own nature preserve-style, nearly-3-acre private area in which to hike up and watch the sunset’s last rays hit the Hollywood sign on the hills to the east, or gather with friends in the stone amphitheater half-way up the back slope, or wander down the specimen tree-lined path past the little new vineyard and waterfall, or just relax in the sun-drenched trellised courtyard—it’s all part of this unique space. There is absolutely no place like this one!

Presented by:
Bob Friday of Bulldog Estates
310.720.9979 |
List Price: $11.250M

An Elevated Stage

Intimacy and sophistication entwine in an architectural Palos Verdes hilltop home

Written by Constance Dunn | Photography Courtesy of Paul Jonason

Represented by Raju & Neil Chhabria of Chhabria Real Estate Company

Offered for $5,950,000

It’s a perpetual challenge of architecture— to create a bona fide sculpture in space that’s brilliant in its everyday ease of use, with no compromises, and no errant side notes to disrupt the congruency that makes for truly successful design. Along these lines, architect Luis de Moraes has succeeded beautifully on one of the highest elevations of the Palos Verdes Peninsula.

One Voice

The home’s style makes it a rare bird for the area. A glass and steel Modernist poised on a pedestal of natural stone—a style that de Moraes terms “Zen Modern”— the home stands out amid many clay-roofed Mediterraneans. De Moraes’s firm,

EnviroTechno Architecture, is responsible for projects that include big commercial clients like British Airways to notable local residences, like Spanish-style villas on Trump Estates and elegant homes in Santa Monica and Marina del Rey.

This project, which spans 6,838 square feet and 5 bedrooms, borrows more from the architect’s commercial docket, and that’s not a bad thing. The home is a tight interplay of simple structural features, from rooftop to foundation. There is no frilly ornamentation, and none is needed. The shapes, clad in pale natural stone, have the beau of sculpture. The synchronicity of the home—inside and out—is the result and testament of letting a master artist execute his vision in an unbridled way. “It’s the house I would have designed for myself,” says de Moraes. It’s a rare confession and perhaps the highest praise an architect can bestow on his work.

Dramatic Sunsets

“The home is modern, and in a very appealing way,” points out real estate agent Neil Chhabria. “Also, the quality level is second to none. It’s rare to find that. We were able to build it as specified by the architect, with no compromises.”

De Moraes is not just an architect, but an interior designer, and on this project he functioned as both. It was a victorious collaboration, because, despite there being many well-defined spaces, every corner of the home is unwaveringly harmonious.

“The floorplan is very conducive to entertaining,” says Chhabria. “But it’s also a great everyday lifestyle plan if you have a family.” Tying each part together, from the sensual wine lounge on the ground floor to a getaway master suite on the top floor, are the unified threads of intimacy and sophistication.Typifying a space in the home is the Glass Box: suspended on a dedicated landing, three of the room’s four walls are made of glass. Just as one could sit from this lofty, elegant position with a glass of wine and watch the sun sink into the ocean, one might also switch the shades over the walls and curl up to watch a movie on the hidden, wall-sized projection screen.

Rooms in the home are clad in exotic woods and stone—the right touch in every instance—and filled with natural light and ample views of the peninsula’s beauty. “Every space in the house is usable space,” says de Moraes. And what he’s carved out is a living experience within the home—one where you feel merged with the uplifting blue and green panorama, versus being just a passive spectator.

Tactics to achieve this include walls that open the front living spaces to the sea. (Fleetwood pocket doors were used, and the limestone floors in the living room’s interior continue onto the patios.) Also, there’s an outdoor leisure zone that borders an entire side of the home, which includes a lengthy infinity pool, a fireplaced dining area and a grassy green. From inside the home, access to this area is plentiful, whether from the breakfast room, the airy living room (there are three), or via a fresh-air patio that borders a row of three bedroom suites on the top floor.

The siting of the home has been engineered to take advantage of the rich landscape from every room, with views that include Catalina Island and epic evening sunsets. Even the kitchen, the place where the architect declares he’d “probably spend most of my time,” has a bird’s-eye view through the living room to the outdoors. “They’re the most dramatic sunsets you’ve ever seen,” says Chhabria of the panoramas.

A Deft Hand

There is an absence of bulk in the silhouette of the home, which means less of a physical border between the indoors and outdoors. This lean profile has much to do with the home’s roof, which doubles as the interior ceiling. “The ceiling is the roof,” notes de Moraes, “which is not very common these days, especially in residential.”

De Moraes’s design is opulent but tastefully well-tempered. Rich natural materials, lava rock among them, are enhanced by the sunlight and blue sky and ocean views that pour in from endless windows. It was a deft and meticulous hand that orchestrated a play of materials that is delightfully just right. Ceiling patterns and details vary from room to room, as do tilework, which lends a note of playfulness and unexpected surprise to the home. Just as the master bedroom suite contains a textured combination of different types of wood and tiles, so might the bathroom in a spare bedroom be touched with a counter of swirled dense marble or a wall of shimmering metal.

Perhaps the space that defines the home’s mix of luxury and accessibility best is the glass-front foyer—a place that firmly establishes the home’s distinctive atmosphere from one’s first step indoors. Here, de Moraes’s aim was to create “a unique, dramatic space, without feeling like you are walking into the lobby of a hotel.”

Since great architecture is sensory, felt before it’s consciously deconstructed, you don’t immediately point to the soaring ceilings and creamy stone floors, softened by sunlight and a burnt-orange ceiling of glossy planked wood, as the origin of the feeling. (Follow the beams as they jut past the walls to form the exposed rafters on the underside of the roof’s overhanging eaves.)

Nor do you notice the hanging swirl of a pendant light (it’s the AMEBA, an award-winning piece designed by Spanish designer Pete Sans), or the floating stone staircase with its sculptural steel railing system that beckons you into the rest of the home. It’s not any of these things; it’s all of these things, and how de Moraes has composed them. Everything here has been defined but is interconnected—and though there are different melodies playing throughout the home, they clearly belong to the same leitmotif.

French Country Dream

The pinnacle of Casaba Drive elevates luxury living with a shining example of estate life at its very finest

Written by JocLene Davey | Photography Courtesy of Paul Jonason

The stars aligned in near perfect order for the gorgeous home at 12 Casaba Drive in Rolling Hills Estates—a stunner with a massive yard and trees galore on a quiet cul-de-sac. Situated on a 36,000-square-foot lot with five bedrooms and four and a half baths, the French Country Mediterranean custom home occupies 4,600 square feet of its own—and is chock-full character.

One clearly recognizes this home as the pinnacle of the neighborhood. Nestled at the tip of Casaba Drive, the home shines above all others with its stucco and stone exterior, beautiful glazed stone driveway and custom garage doors featuring a thick lacquer finish. “The approach to the home was to create a fully custom space blending traditional French Country details with clean lines, modern amenities and state-of-the-art technology,” shares representative Brok Butcher of Butcher Real while discussing the residence’s eight surveillance cameras, doorbell integrated camera and speaker, and home sound system with capability to play and control music volume throughout most rooms.

Step inside the abode via a hear, eight-and-a-half-foot mahogany front door and one feels right at home. Warm, neutral walls and wide plank French oak floors introduce a unique floor plan featuring an open flow, yet with clearly defined living spaces. Meanwhile, dramatic archways and lofty ceilings allow light to stream through the home while large windows boast views of the striking grounds surrounding the proper.

From the entrance, one can either enter the main living area or the kitchen and dining spaces located in the opposite direction. At the end of the hallway are the open, light-filled living room and study. The study area is surrounded with grand windows and is fused with an office section separated by custom bookshelves, an ideal space for relaxing and reading. Meanwhile, the living room and family room are opposite each other and share a dual-sided fireplace. The fireplace, a lovely focal point, is finished with a so neutral tile from floor to ceiling.

Just across from the living room are the aforementioned family room and kitchen. These spaces result in a harmonious balance and are where much time is spent. Here, the family can gather while meals are being prepared to catch up and share stories of the day. The bright, open family room offers access to the backyard through glass French doors. Simultaneously, the dreamy kitchen couples textbook French countryside gourmet style with superior craftsmanship. The hand-carved maple pedestal island, for example, is topped with quartz countertops and features complementary ivory Maplewood cabinets, along with fine finishes and handcrafted details in the drawer pulls and light fixtures. Top-notch Thermador appliances fill the kitchen, while the large walk-in pantry is outfitted for a separate Kosher kitchen should the home’s buyer desire to convert the space. 

Central to all of the aforementioned spaces is the wet bar. With a distinct look, its wall of mirrors adds a touch of glamour, splashing rainbows of light about surrounding rooms. The mahogany bar and cabinets feel cozy yet contemporary, while the pedestal bar keeps with the design theme, sporting room for stools on either side for enjoying wine or conversation over a glass of well-aged Scotch. In addition, all common areas boast clear views to the backyard, which features a beautifully manicured lawn and plenty of room for a generous pool. Uniquely, this proper also features views of hills, woods and, when free of drought, a small creek that runs through it. Lining the entire of the equestrian-zoned property are bountiful pepper trees and Pittosporum Silver-Sheen bushes.

Back inside the home, pass through the kitchen to come upon the dining room with large glass French doors. Across from here is the generous guest room with private bath. Just down the hall awaits a mudroom to capture a family’s paraphernalia when entering from the three-car garage.

Upstairs contains the home’s bedrooms and massive media room—the perfect place to spend time with family or for teenagers to visit with friends in a relaxed environment. The area is an open loft-style that overlooks the family room, and has a Juliet balcony that opens to the outdoors for enjoying a nice breeze. Custom built-in cabinets run the length of the space for ample storage.

The crescendo of this proper is the master retreat. A private door leads one along an arched hallway to the master bath with his and hers vanities and a jetted tub with digital thermostat. (The home also features a full house water filtration system.)

Then, it’s on to the master bedroom, which hosts a large sitting area wrapped in huge windows and a small balcony overlooking the backyard and, in the distance, Rolling Hills Country Club. Adjacent is the more intimate sleeping area for a peaceful night’s rest. Finishing the master suite is a large his and hers closet.

Opposite the master suite, an interior balcony near the stairs adds a touch of reverie to the space where one can view the home’s main entrance to quickly connect with visitors. Just down the hall from here are three bedrooms, one with a private bath, the others with a shared bath. All the rooms are large and well-lit, and include sizable closets with built-in cabinets.

The property itself is steeped in family history. Until recently, shares Butcher, his family owned Casaba acreage, which they decided to develop. Butcher is, after all, the fourth-generation of Palos Verdes landowners, builders and architects. Real estate legacy and expertise coupled with the beauty and functionality of this estate ensures one a unique homebuying experience. Simply put, as Butcher likes to quote,

“There truly is no place like home.” Especially when it’s 12 Casaba Drive.

Represented by Brok Butcher of Butcher Realty

Offered for $2,999,000


South Bay Mediterranean

Communal spaces, peaceful surroundings and super-sized dimensions create a perfect habitat for today’s family.

Offered by Brett Zebrowski of Palm Realty Boutique  |  List price: $2,950,000

“We’ve had many gatherings here,” says the homeowner, ushering me into the soaring foyer and voluminous hallway of her five-bedroom Mediterranean home on a quiet street in Redondo Beach.

“It’s a very family friendly home.”

While bringing her son to a nearby Tai Kwon Do class over a decade ago, she discovered this tucked-away yet centrally situated neighborhood, and took an instant shine to it. “I would walk around and I liked the location, being so secluded on a corner,” she recalls. “We found the lot first, before the houses were built.” The family purchased the property and proposed home, and have lived here ever since. Occupying a peaceful corner of a wide street filled with graceful single-family residences, this home manages to reconcile the paradox of hiding in plain sight.

A convenient half-mile from the beach, and just five minutes by car from the leisurely shops and dining spots of Riviera Village, the property is also a quick minute from two thoroughfares, Torrance Boulevard and Pacific Coast Highway. Four schools—Alta Vista Elementary School, Parras Middle School and two high schools, Redondo Union and Bishop Montgomery—are within a five-minute drive. “You have schools, parks and the beach,” says the homeowner. “Everything. Yet in this house you feel isolated, and have all this space. Like a little island.”

She continues: “I liked the privacy—and definitely the size.” Walking the ground floor of the 5,400-square foot home, it’s easy to see why. One big gathering space leads to another, finally reaching the secluded backyard, a mix of smooth flooring and healthy grass that’s lined with exotic foliage and willowy old-growth trees. Plus there’s the neighbors, or their lack. The front of the house is nicely set back from the street by a tidy, gently sloping lawn. Next door, there’s a grassy double lot, unoccupied save a small historic building owned by the city. In short, you have to take a little walk to reach other human beings, despite being in the midst of the South Bay.

Standing in the kitchen, a jumbo-sized room with high ceilings and an oversized travertine island that adjoins a large, fireplaced den, it’s easy to envision the countless gatherings that have taken place during the family’s tenure. “This place is always filled with food and music,” says the homeowner. “Our kids were in middle school and high school, and we had all the team parties here, all the birthday parties and get-togethers after school. They would all be here.”

We head along the grand staircase to the top floor, a plushy carpeted sprawl of four bedrooms joined by a wide, ambling hallway. At its head is a sunny office with a wall of custom bookcases and a fresh-air balcony. It’s pointed out that the room, big enough to accommodate at least a trio of desks, has functioned as a study for the children and, when needed, as a spare sleep-over space during large gatherings. A window-sized swatch of the interior wall is conveniently cut-away, exposing stairs and foyer and making it easy for work-at-home parents to keep eyes and ears on the activities of children and teenagers below.

At the other end of the hall is the master suite, complete with a fireplace and balcony, plus a walk-in closet with rows of rack hangers that rivals a retailer’s stockroom in its sheer size. Likewise, the master bathroom is a grand space equipped with a raised tub and endless counter space. “I light my candles and put my music on, and it feels like I’m in a spa,” she remarks. Windows allow for lots of sunlight while an exterior curtain of green trees peeks in, enhancing the calm, private feel of the room.

The scale of the house—big rooms and raised ceilings—is consistent throughout. The bulk of the ground floor, for instance, is an unfenced playroom of sorts, spanning a living room, another gathering space outfitted with a pool table and finally, a formal dining area. A caterer’s dream that could easily hold a hundred people, with no nooks and crannies to cramp the user-friendliness of the place. There are wide windows that peer out onto greenery and sleek granite floors throughout. “We built the home to be enjoyed,” she points out. “Not to worry about anything being stepped on or stained. Anything that drops on the floor can be cleaned.”

While space is synonymous with “family home,” so is storage. There’s a large mudroom near the entrance of the home where kids can tuck away their daily mass of shoes, backpacks and other accoutrements. At the rear of the property there sits an unattached four-car garage with rich possibilities for use as a storage unit or additional living space. “In this area you don’t have homes with a four-car garage,” she says. “For us it’s been a huge plus.” She points out an adjacent parking space, large enough to tuck an RV, and the plethora of street parking, which makes for easy logistics during parties and family gatherings.

Standing on the tranquil street, with its fragrant trees and uncluttered sidewalks, it’s hard to believe we’re just a stone’s throw from the buzz of beach city life. I imagine the home ideal for those who yearn for an uncomplicated, family friendly oasis within the thick of things, while being able to quickly dash out for groceries, dining and school runs. Or, stay home and host the party of the year.

“I just love being here,” says her teenage daughter. “It’s going to be hard moving away.”

“The most beautiful memories we’ve had here,” adds the homeowner.

Isn’t that, more than anything, what makes a home?

Photography by Paul Jonason