Vintage SoCal: A custom kitchen is the heart of this 1936 home

Hollywood has shaped L.A. and the world in countless ways over the years, influencing trends, fashions and hairstyles. Not to be overlooked, however, is the active role some big names played in local home design.

This spacious 1936 house in Brentwood was commissioned by silver screen actress ZaSu Pitts to be her dream home. She hired early architect to the stars Paul R. Williams to design a predominately Georgian-style residence with a touch of Hollywood Regency flair thrown in the mix.

High on her wish list was a large kitchen with built-in niches, according to “Paul R. Williams: Classic Hollywood Style” by Karen E. Hudson. Most kitchens of the well-to-do were small spaces, with a butler’s pantry and manned by household staff. But the avid chef and candy recipe collector wanted room to keep her extensive cookbook collection close at hand. Pitts would be right in step today.

Set back from the street on nearly three-quarters of an acre, the stately house has a column-flanked entry that opens to arched doorways and a curved staircase, a signature detail of the architect. Original wood paneling, beamed ceilings and bay and dormer windows retain the home’s classic look.

The master suite contains a sitting area, a fireplace and a hidden staircase that connects to the downstairs library. The nearly 10,000 square feet of living space has a total of seven bedrooms, three with fireplaces, and eight bathrooms. The basement is set up for entertaining with a bar and game area.


A swimming pool and a pool house are set in the terraced backyard. Views take in the city, canyon and mountains.

The Pitts Residence at 241 N. Rockingham Ave., Los Angeles, is for sale at $13.995 million or available for lease, furnished, at $80,000 a month. Matthew Schwartz and Bjorn Farrugia of Hilton & Hyland are the listing agents.

This occasional feature celebrates Southern California’s architectural heritage through residences built before 1950. Submit candidates for Vintage SoCal to