william randolph hearst

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 | 2025Highlandave.com
List Price: $11.250M

Art & History: Splendor by the Sea

 

Reflections on the Annenberg Community Beach House

WRITTEN BY JENN THORNTON

The pool deck at the Annenberg Community Beach House is the very epitome of history repeating itself, with its dark green Vermont marble, diamonds embedded in concrete and a marbled Greek key design mimicking an identical motif at William Randolph Hearst’s namesake spread in San Simeon. This vestige of a once rambling Georgian Revival estate that the media titan bankrolled for his mistress, Marion Davies, recalls the heady era of old Hollywood, when the couple’s elaborate feats of entertaining beckoned boldfaced names of the day.

But while Hearst Castle is an icon frozen in time, the Annenberg Community Beach House is a study in progress. This is a place of many incarnations, shares Santa Monica Conservancy Program Chair Ruthann Lehrer of the lavish manse turned boutique hotel. As the Oceanhouse, it operated from 1949 to 1956, but proved too costly an extravagance in the age of roadside motels and downtown hotels, and was acquired by the State of California. Obtained for beach purposes, down came the mansion in a 1957 demolition, with its beach cabanas, initially built in 1949 as an accessory to the hotel, morphing into the Sand & Sea Club—and by bunking at the Guest House, the Club’s manager ensured its survival.(Today this original estate holdover is a protected Santa Monica landmark.)

For three decades prominent families flocked to the Sand & Sea Club, with a member of one such clan, philanthropist Wallis Annenberg, playing an integral role in resuscitating the 5-acre site, its structures having sustained massive damage during the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Annenberg loved [this] particular stretch of Santa Monica Beach, explains Lehrer, who also chairs the Docent Program at the Beach House. She saw it as a very special place, but her wish was for it to be open and accessible to everyone, not restricted in membership as the beach clubs were.

Five years and a $27.5 million grant from the Annenberg Foundation later, and the Beach House—now in the clutches of the City of Santa Monica—re-opened in April 2009. The original pool and Guest House are the site’s only historic anchors, but the project architects included other markers to recall that historical era, shares Lehrer of what includes the boardwalk located at the mean high tide line from the Davies’ years; a section of the original beach wall bulkhead reconstructed outside the Guest House; and 16 geometric columns outside the Pool House evoking the architectural columns of the mansion’s façade.

With its roots in the past, the Beach House is now bounding toward the future. Today, the community jewel offers a full spectrum of outdoor recreation, cultural offerings and up-to-the-minute amenities. It’s a very civilized way to visit Santa Monica Beach! says Lehrer.

Some things never change.