Hills home north of the Cahuenga Pass was built in 1924, the same year that
finished the Ennis House in Los Feliz. Whereas Wright's concrete-block wonder pointed to the future, this home remained faithful to the city's Spanish Mediterranean style, a paradise-centric design that would come to define
The single-level house sits midway up the hills in a leafy canyon. There have been changes to its footprint over the years, although it's hard to tell what was added when. The current owner built a large en suite bedroom now used as an office on the west side, and the previous owner added a bathroom onto one of the rooms on the east side. Still, the house retains an old Los Angeles feel inside and out.
From the front door, a small room (entryway sounds too inconsequential for the size) leads to an ornate wrought-iron gate that seems to grandly announce the main living space. Inside, thick wooden beams frame the vaulted ceiling over the living room and adjoining dining area. An original fireplace and low-hanging metal chandelier are among the Spanish details.
On the other end of the room is a large arched window flanked by twin custom-made cabinets. The circular motif in its leaded glass repeats throughout the house, most notably in small inset windows and outside gates.
From one room to the next, the outside is never far away. Floor-to-ceiling doors from the kitchen lead to a front patio with an outdoor barbecue grill; double doors in the living room access the walkway to the front door; and doorways in bedrooms swing out to a tiled courtyard with a seating area.
The master bedroom breaks with the prevailing design and feels more formal than the rest of the house. The room has walls trimmed with contrasting molding, recessed lighting and a walk-in closet that was added by the current owner. Three more rooms — a music room and two bedrooms currently outfitted for children — complete the original floor plan.
Outside, a terraced area with native grasses and plants makes good use of a steep hillside on the back of the property. A centuries-old sycamore tree in the front yard has a somewhat infamous past. According to one local history book, "Hollywood Haunted" by Laurie Jacobson and Marc Wanamaker, the tree was a meeting place and then a "hanging tree" for banditos and outlaws in L.A.'s early days.
Now the native tree's massive split trunk and branches straddle two properties. Owner Barbara Maynard loves the tree, but it's not what sold her on the house 11 years ago.
"I felt like great things had happened here, and there was lots of love in this house," said Maynard, who runs a consulting firm specializing in labor unions and community groups.
That feeling turned out to be prophetic: Maynard is selling because she's getting married and needs more space for her new blended family of five.