spanish colonial

Spanish Colonial estate Laughlin Park kitchen

Spanish Colonial Estate Was Home to Numerous Celebrities

On the drive that bears the name of famed filmmaker Cecil B. DeMille in Los Feliz sits a historic Spanish Colonial estate originally built for real estate developer George Flebbe and his screenwriter wife Beulah Marie Dix, close friends of DeMille and his spouse Constance.

Spanish Colonial estate Laughlin Park kitchen

Matt Damon to Adam Levine Called This Place Home

In recent years, the house has served as a temporary roost to numerous celebrities including Matt Damon, Marion Cotillard, Adam Levine, Toni Collette and Vince Vaughn. In its latest reincarnation, a pair of high-profile TLC reality design stars has brought the dwelling fully—and elegantly—into the 21st century, all while maintaining its architectural integrity. Brent Watson of Coldwell Banker Global Luxury is listing the home for $6.995 million.

Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent have executed the transformation of the property at an unrivaled taste level.

The Most Advanced Home Automation System

“The color palette is monochromatic and calming. The surfaces are substantial without being ostentatious. Hardware on doors, windows, and fixtures is of the utmost quality. The residence features ‘restoration glass’ throughout, giving the windows and doors a true authenticity. The scale is perfection, with large principal rooms and appropriately sized bedrooms. Finally, the entire property is wired with the most advanced home automation system.”

Situated at 2075 De Mille Drive—in the private, gated enclave of Laughlin Park—the house was built by Meyer-Radon Architects in 1926.

Spanish Colonial estate outdoor

A 5,000 Square-Foot 21st Century Transformation 

Now that it’s been transformed for current owner, media maven Sheri Salata, expect 4,827 square feet of light-filled living space boasting a dramatic living room with soaring beamed ceilings, a hearth fireplace and a library overlooking the front garden; a dining room with casement windows opening to the rear garden and pool; a kitchen with a herringbone cove ceiling and an indoor/outdoor bar; and a climate-controlled wine room.

Spanish Colonial estate pool

Breathtaking Curb Appeal

Among the four bedrooms is a master suite highlighted by a balcony, large walk-in closet and spa-like bath sporting a soaking tub, while an attached one-bedroom guest house offers kitchen and living areas.

Outdoors, a massive saltwater pool features underwater speakers and a lounge area with a stunning view of the Griffith Observatory, as well as a “breathtaking curb appeal,” says Watson.

“From the drive around the motor court to the two fountains in the front courtyard and the architectural two-story stairwell turret, to the lush manicured landscaping, this house is something!”

Presented by:
Brent Watson of Coldwell Banker Global Luxury
List Price: $6.995 Million

Spanish Coastal Delight

A picturesque Manhattan Beach walk street home balances a California classic style with modern beachside living

Written by Constance Dunn | Photography Courtesy of Paul Jonason

There’s a reason Spanish style homes are such a mainstay in Southern California neighborhoods, particularly along the coast. For starters, there’s the practical elements: thick walls to keep interiors cool and overhanging eaves to shade inhabitants from the sun. Then, the aesthetic ones: romantic balconies to soak up seaside air, earthen clay rooftops and leisurely outdoor patios.

The style is a perennial match for the local land and climate—a place that, for early Spanish settlers familiar with the coast of their homeland, must have looked more than a bit familiar.

Transplanting their native architecture with them to “Alta California,” such homes are as natural to California today as they were when they first appeared during the era of Spanish colonization.

A few blocks from the sand, a Manhattan Beach home—around 4,300 square feet with five bedrooms—is a charmed version of this classic California style, but with a few modern updates.


The exterior of the home is bright and welcoming. The creamy stucco exterior is broken up by a strong aqua contrast along its poetic Mission windows and doors that open each floor to the fresh air and sunshine. Particularly striking from the curb are the rounded balconies on each upper floor that are trimmed with ornate balustrades—thickly curved and classically Spanish, it’s a touch that adds to the romantic look of the home. That and the landscaping. A colorful mélange of pink, greens, and reds discreetly hems in the home from its location on a charmed residential walk street. It’s one of the nicest in Manhattan Beach, set with palm trees and broad walkways and just a short stroll from the beach or the shops and eateries along North Manhattan’s Highland Avenue. Standing outside the home is a pleasant place to be; its elevated hillside lot treats one to an uplifting scene of blue sea and sky.

Inside is where the Old World style breaks with tradition. Renovated in 2017, the home’s floor plan has been configured for the pragmatics of modern, upscale beach living. “The great thing about this home is that it really has a beach feel—it has traditional elements but feels very fresh and open,” notes Michele O’Malley of Kaminsky Real Estate Group. 


The ground floor is a place easily given over to recreation. Double doors lead from the spacious outdoor lounge into a relaxing leisure room with a bar. Also on this floor is an office and full bath, a configuration that could double nicely as a guest suite.

The middle floor is reserved for the bedrooms. At the front of the home, overlooking the walk street, is a sunny master bedroom complete with a quiet sitting area and fresh-air balcony. Oversized windows open the room to blue sky and pleasant scenes of the garden and walk street below. In an interesting twist on family friendly floor plans, three of the bedrooms can be connected via a series of doors.

Stroll through the walk-in closet off the master bedroom, and instantly access a pair of bedrooms that share a Jack and Jill bathroom—an ideal setup for parents with young children. At the rear of this floor is yet another bedroom with a private balcony. Freshened for current tastes, the color palettes in each room are an agreeable mix of light-toned wood floors, pure whites and soft hues.

Meanwhile, tech upgrades also are part of the classic home’s renovation. These include including central air and heating with HEPA filters to banish dust and allergens, and a spacious four-car garage wired for a Tesla charger.


Like many modern beachside dwellings, the floor plan in this home has the most commonly used spaces on the top floor in  order to make the most of views. A grand staircase with ornate railings is a nice introduction to this level, a place of bright and airy elegance.

The floor neatly encompasses two distinct living areas—both with ocean views and balconies—merged with a tidy central kitchen decked in soft grey Calcutta Quartz counters and oak cabinetry, painted pure white.

Though beach-minded in its color palette (whites and cream against pale wood floors), there are sophisticated touches throughout this floor, adding to a more formal atmosphere than usually found in current-day Beach Cities homes. Crown molding runs along the ceiling in one of the fireplaced living areas, for instance, and the formal dining room is set apart from the rest of the floor by a border of columns and arched entrance ways.

The spacious gathering room that overlooks the gardens and walk street below is a place of many spaces: from an intimate sitting area with a charmed picture window, to an open-air terrace to take in sunsets, and lastly, a formal sitting area to serve as a parlor for guests.

Amid the modern feel of the interior, subtle traces of the home’s traditional roots remain. Whether its the exposed beam ceiling in a central gathering area, an earthy tiled fireplace or a built-in display hutch in a dining nook, these updated reminders of a classic California style lend overall harmony to this picturesque Spanish-style coastal abode— the likes of which will always be a natural fit in a South Bay beach town.




Material Culture

The artistic traditions of neighboring cultures collide in a new exhibition at LACMA

Written by Jenn Thornton

This September, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art presents its forthcoming exhibit, Found in Translation: Design in California and Mexico, 1915-1985 as part of the Getty’s Pacific Time Standard Time: LA/LA. The vibrant showcase of objects and ephemera from its focal provenances is, with broader consideration, a cultural exchange between domains with richly interlinked frontiers.

California and Mexico are irrevocably joined by geography, culture, and economics—ties that precede and transcend modern political borders,” say Found in Translation co-curators, Wendy Kaplan, department head and curator, and Staci Steinberger, assistant curator, both of the Decorative Arts and Design department at LACMA. “For centuries, people have moved back and forth between the two places, bringing objects, styles, and images whose meanings were shared as well as altered. [This] is the first exhibition to explore the full range of design and architecture dialogues between California and Mexico in this period.”

The show studies these interdependencies through the themes Spanish Colonial Inspiration, Pre-Hispanic Revivals, Folk Art and Craft Traditions, and Modernism. “All explore how in California and Mexico, design and architecture are strongly rooted in a sense of place, with local materials and traditions used to form a culture of specificity rather than an ‘international style,’” notes Kaplan. “And each found a more distinct voice through ‘translations’ of the other.”

Comprising the exhibit—a strong underscoring of LACMA’s dedication to Latin American art—are 250 pieces ranging from furniture, metalwork and ceramics to textiles, paintings, posters and more by 200-plus artists, architects, designers, and craftspeople. So rich in design and architectural discourse is this trove, Kaplan and

Steinberger find it difficult to play favorites. “In a show like this, it’s so difficult to choose!” say the curators, who nonetheless note a loan never before shown in the United States—a Bench from Casa Zuno, Guadalajara, c. 1925—as a piece of particular interest. Hailing from a house designed for José Guadalupe Zuno, once governor of the state of Jalisco, the bench was built right after the Mexican Revolution, when intellectuals championed neocolonial style as distinctly Mexican.

Though its design recalls furnishings from the Colonial period, it replaces religious iconography with socialist imagery. Found in Translation also surveys the ways that California artists, designers, and craftspeople embraced facets of Mexican folk art in their work; most surprisingly Japanese-American sculptor Ruth Asawa, known for her biomorphic hanging sculptures made from an intricate handmade mesh of wire loops, a basket making technique she learned in Toluca. “Asawa’s use of the loop is transformative,” explain the curators. “She took a utilitarian structure and made a wholly original, purely abstract body of work. The example we’re borrowing for the show comes from the collection of visionary architect Buckminster Fuller, who was one of Asawa’s teachers.”

Also of interest is material from the Summer Olympics in Mexico City (1968) and Los Angeles (1984). As sprawling metropolises, both cities employed a similar design strategy and used environmental graphics to visually unify the many Olympic sites. Look for posters, a map, a fabulous hostess dress from Mexico City and posters and sonotubes (supersized painted cardboard tubes) from L.A. In other words—or en otras palabras—the best of both worlds.

Found in Translation: Design in California and Mexico, 1915-1985 will run from September 17 through April 18, 2018.

Mistress of Her Domain

In her historic, high-desert home in New Mexico, artist Georgia O’Keeffe created a masterpiece

Written by Jenn Thornton | Photography Courtesy of The Georgia O’Keeffee Museum

For eminent artist Georgia O’Keeffe, widely celebrated for her bold, imaginative abstractions, life itself was a work of art. One she could, and did, construct. So much of what we imagine O’Keeffe to be—the high priestess of American Modernism silhouetted against the stark desert sky—is a result of her own meticulous engineering. Her fitness for self-invention reveals itself from the art she produced to what she wore to how she lived: entirely on her own terms.

Before O’Keeffe settled permanently in New Mexico, she had already established one home there, the isolated Ghost Ranch, a modest summer place amid the rocky, fragmented mesas north of Santa Fe. For all the grandeur of its location, the home was insufficient for year-round living. It lacked heat and water rights for a garden; stores were far away, and O’Keeffe wanted to garden and grow her own food. Not far from Ghost Ranch, however, was a crumbling, 5,000-square-foot Spanish Colonial hacienda in the prehistoric village of Abiquiu that, despite its dilapidated state, promised a pleasing orientation and fertile ground.

With some maneuvering, O’Keeffe convinced the property’s owner, the archdiocese of the Catholic Church in Santa Fe, to sell her the compound in 1946 for the astounding sum of $10. The Abiquiu adobe, in complete ruins at the time O’Keeffe purchased it in the 1940s, was a laboratory for her creativity. She spent years reconstructing it, maintaining the property’s footprint, as she promised, but rebuilding the entire structure nearly from scratch. The stable, for instance, an outbuilding for cattle, became her studio to which she added a generous window with views of the Chama River Valley; she then joined the structure with a walkway to the main house. She also acquired water rights and cultivated a beautiful garden and orchard.

“She was an artist redoing the house too,” says Wanda M. Corn, art historian and guest curator of Georgia O’Keeffe:

Living Modern at the Brooklyn Museum. “She was just always fussing, as people do with their homes, to make it better. She was a hardworker and spent many hours a day making art, but also making her homes.” This includes Ghost Ranch, which she also renovated and 

modernized. Her Abiquiu home is beautiful in its bareness; simple and austere, fashioned with a confident, no-nonsense economy. Fluidity is the feel, a blending of indoor, outdoor, and domestic environments, all thoughtfully composed, with deeply felt intention by O’Keeffe, both artist and curator. “Her art, her life, her food, her clothes, it’s all one aesthetic,” says Corn, “and we have very few artists who spread their aesthetic so pervasively in every aspect of their life.” Through the years, O’Keeffe instituted changes and installed advances in the home. Furnishings became more modern.

Art was sparse, and mostly O’Keeffe’s, but the windows deliberately large, which made exterior views of the spectacular New Mexico landscape, its rock formations and rivers, all the more operatic. Not only did O’Keeffe paint these scenes to great acclaim, but also the architectural attributes of her home, such as its famous black door, uniting her life’s great labors.

O’Keeffe was still in possession of both her New Mexico homes, Ghost Ranch and the Abiquiu compound, at her death in 1986. She was 98 years old, and though macular degeneration had robbed her of most her eyesight, she never lost her inimitable vision of life.


Commanding Compound

Old-World charm meets modern amenities at this Montecito-style compound in Encino

Written by Wendy Bowman | Photography Courtesy of Brian Thomas Jones

A La La Land-inspired video tagged “Oak View Land” touts the virtues of this Spanish Colonial Revival compound, complete with performers sashaying inside and outside of the estate to show off its charming virtues. When all is said and done, the property does not disappoint when it comes to star appeal, with a trio of adjacent abodes, an alluring pool casita and much more. Plus, it’s been said that a portion of the compound is situated on the former estate of legendary actor Clark Gable, adding to the Hollywood aura.

“This home infuses modern luxuries with the romance and architectural detail of the Golden Age of Hollywood,” says Mark Rutstein, who is co-listing the property with Horacio LeDon, both of Iconic Homes, Partners Trust, for $8.5 million. “The grand, gated entrance makes you feel [like] you are entering a resort in the fabled Santa Barbara/ Montecito area, and once inside, high vaulted ceilings with exposed beams, coupled with modern luxuries, make the experience a paradoxical ‘old meets new’ pleasure.”

Situated at 16780 Oak View—on a 1.5-acre knoll overlooking Ventura Boulevard, with striking city and mountain views—the seven-bedroom compound was designed by architect John Andrews. Completed in 2014, it features more than 10,100 square feet of separate but cohesive living spaces in the main, guest and staff  houses, as well as the pool casita. Expect high-quality details, including Moroccan influences in the intricate tile work, metallic light fixtures, graceful arches and porticos, along with French encaustic cement tiles from Nicaragua and groin-vaulted ceilings.

Additional highlights include 60-plus fully operational solar panels, and bi-folding doors in the living and family rooms, bar area and master bath that open to create a seamless indoor/ outdoor feel. Outdoors, the massive lot features brick pathways and a multitude of courtyards and patios ideal for a serene retreat.

“The sheer size of the home and property as it relates to the surrounding areas [is] remarkable,” says Rutstein. “The home is supposed to be a respite from stressful external influences.” Truly an escape from hustle and bustle of L.A.