Getty House adds wedding bells

Times Staff Writer

The last big family splash at Getty House, the mayor’s official residence, was not exactly royal wedding material. It was a slumber party for Jackson Hahn’s 10th birthday.

Today, the three-story Tudor-style mansion in Windsor Square gets a booking that befits it: the wedding of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s 27-year-old daughter, Prisila Villar.

The wedding is a prelude to another big family moment for the Villaraigosas: the mayor announced last week that he has had a change of heart about staying in his Mount Washington home. He plans to move with his wife, Corina, and two youngest children, Antonio Jr., 16, and Natalia, 12, into the official residence on a full-time basis.

Prisila Villar, who manages a restaurant in Brooklyn, is the mayor’s second child. She was born when her father’s last name was Villar, before he married Corina Raigosa and combined their names. (Some may recall the postelection moment reported by the mayor-elect in May, when he said that Prisila had called him in tears after she’d spotted his picture on the cover of Newsweek while walking down a Manhattan street. He hadn’t told her in advance about the cover story because he wanted to surprise her.)


Villar grew up in Los Angeles and has worked as general manager of the 12th Street Bar and Grill in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood. She also has attended the New School and the Fashion Institute of Technology, said her boss, restaurateur Paul Vicino, who flew to Los Angeles earlier this week with his wife, Alicia, two young children and his sous-chef, Elia Tapia, to prepare this evening’s wedding feast for about 125 guests. (He’s been shopping ever since, and added that Getty House’s kitchen is “state of the art, even better than my restaurants ... and doesn’t seem like it’s been used.”)

Villar’s fiance, 29-year-old Frank Contreras, is an artist who works at Lincoln Center, said Vicino, who considers himself a friend of the couple as well as Villar’s boss.

“It will be a very laid-back event,” Vicino said Friday, who was spending part of his day shopping for cooking utensils. “Prisila is not pretentious at all. They didn’t want a big deal. She wanted heavy hors d’oeuvres and tapas, and my style is very eclectic and all over the map. My sous-chef is Mexican, so we’ll do a few things with a Mexican influence -- cold cucumber gazpacho in little shot glasses -- some Italian, some Cuban, some French.”

The menu will also include crostini and gorditos (with braised hanger steak) and jumbo lump crab cakes, “ ‘cause everyone always likes something fried.”


If the weather cooperates, Getty House will be a sublime setting for a garden wedding. The original garden, which has been restored, was designed in 1921 by A.E. Hansen, a noted West Coast landscape architect who also designed the gardens at Green Acres, the old Harold Lloyd estate in Beverly Hills. There is a sunken garden, a wisteria-covered pergola and a reflecting pool with cobalt blue tiles and a fountain with a trio of bronze cranes. The large lawn leads to a tennis court, but there is, alas, no swimming pool.

On Friday, gardeners were pruning the roses in the front yard of the elegant cream-colored house, which is trimmed in forest green. The home’s leaded glass gleamed and a city crew was repairing holes in the backyard. The grounds are large -- the lot extends the full length of a block along West 5th Street, from Irving Boulevard to Lorraine Boulevard.

Neither James Hahn nor Richard Riordan ever moved into the Getty House, which was donated to the city by Getty Oil Co. in 1975. Hahn preferred to stay in San Pedro; Riordan continued to live in his book-filled Brentwood mansion. But Riordan and his wife, Nancy Daly Riordan, were instrumental in creating the Getty House Foundation, which maintains the residence. It underwent a refurbishment after the Northridge earthquake in 1994. The last mayor to live in the 6,000-square-foot home was Tom Bradley.

“We’re very thrilled that the family is going to be using the home for this event,” said Susan Caputo, director of the nonprofit Getty House Foundation. She said the civics tours the foundation gives to the city’s fourth-graders will continue unabated after the Villaraigosas move in.