California Villa Was Home to ‘Frankenstein’ Director James Whale in the 1930s


LISTING OF THE DAY

Location: Los Angeles California

Price: $5.775 million

Known as Villa Sophia, this Mediterranean palazzo in the hip enclave of
The happy ones
California, was home to legendary British director James Whale in the 1930s, when he made some of his best-known films, including “Frankenstein” (1931), “The Invisible Man” (1933) and “Bride of Frankenstein” (1935).

In 1998, Whale was the subject of the Oscar-winning film “Gods and Monsters” starring Sir Ian McKellen as the famed filmmaker. The 1926 home was designed by noted Los Angeles architect Henry Harwood Hewitt for the Olympic gold medal-winning golfer Clement E. Smoot.

“It has that Old Hollywood pedigree,” said listing agent Rick Yohon, of Sotheby’s International Realty – Los Feliz Brokerage. “It sits on top of a hill on almost half an acre with amazing views on both sides,” looking out across the nearby 4,200-acre Griffiths Park and its observatory on one side and the downtown Los Angeles skyline on the other.

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Since 2000, the Tuscan-style villa on Dundee Drive has been owned by former options trader Constantine Vlahos. He spent a few years excavating the site and adding a retaining wall, a pool with a flat lawn area, several terraces, a viewing gazebo and a 750-square-foot guesthouse, Mr. Yohon said.

The home still feels remarkably modern, Mr. Yohon said. “The house is from the 1920s, but it has sort of an open floor plan.”

The first floor features connected living and dining rooms and a kitchen with professional-grade appliances. The living room, dining room and kitchen all have French doors that open to a large terrace.

Original features include the living room fireplace, handmade floor tiles, hardwood floors, and the moldings, arches and built-ins.

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The primary bedroom suite, along with two more bedrooms down a long hallway, are on the second level. The primary bathroom features imported tiles, a steam shower and a soaking tub with downtown views.

The bathroom in the primary bedroom suite features imported tiles, a steam shower and a soaking tub with downtown Los Angeles views.

Jo David, Charmain David Photography for Sotheby’s International Realty

A few more steps take you up to a tower room now being used as an office.

Stats

The 4,525-square-foot house has four bedrooms, three full bathrooms and one partial bathroom. It sits on a 21,000-square-foot lot.

Amenities

Amenities include a pool and spa, a guesthouse, a viewing gazebo, multiple terraces, flat lawn areas and fountains.

The house sits on top of a hill with views across the nearby 4,200-acre Griffiths Park and its observatory on one side and the downtown Los Angeles skyline on the other.

Jo David, Charmain David Photography for Sotheby’s International Realty

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Celebrity Cachet

“The seller does a lot of shoots there,” Mr. Yohon said. “He’s done many, many still shoots there because the house has a European ambiance to it.”

The villa has been featured on HBO’s “Entourage” and in the 2012 Lindsay Lohan made-for-TV movie “Liz & Dick,” profiling the love affair between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, according to published reports. It has also been featured in photo shoots for Vogue, Elle, GQ and Victoria’s Secret and it has appeared on episodes of “The Bachelorette” and “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.”

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Neighborhood Notes 



“This is a really special area because it’s adjacent to Griffiths Park,” Mr. Yohon said. “It creates this ambiance that feels like you’re not in the city.”

“The village of Los Feliz is within walking distance,” he said. It has several good restaurants and shops.

Agents: Richard Yohon, Sotheby’s International Realty – Los Feliz Brokerage, and Konstantine Valissarakos, Gourmand and Associates

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