SELLERS: Richard Grossm and Lisa Lyons
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
SIZE: (approx.) 11,000 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms
YOUR MAMA’S NOTES: The former mansion of legendary filmmaker Cecil B. DeMille, in the gated and celeb-stocked Laughlin Park enclave in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles, has popped up for sale with an eye-catching asking price of $24.95 million. The current owners, novelist Richard Grossman and art consultant Lisa Lyons, acquired the multi-structure compound sometime in the late 1990s and, as veteran watchers of the L.A. real estate may recall, this is not the first time they’ve attempted to sell the Hollywood pedigreed spread. In March 2008 the 2.1-acre estate came to market with an aggressive $26.25 million price tag that plummeted to $18.95 million before it was taken off the market the following year.
The main residence, described in current listing descriptions as a “spectacular Beaux Arts Style mansion” but is more accurately an imposing Italianate Revival villa, was built in 1913 and acquired in 1916 for just under $28,000 by the Oscar-winning auteur who lived there until his death in 1959. At one point Mister DeMille acquired a neighboring house, once occupied by silent film star Charlie Chaplin, linked them with a long breezeway and used it as production offices and a screening room. The old Chaplin residence, acquired by the Grossman-Lyons at the same time they bought the DeMille mansion, was later sold to Emmy winning television producer John Wells who, in turn, sold it in 2007 for $5.98 million to former studio executive and film producer Mary Parent.
Listing details show the property has a total of six bedrooms and 10 bathrooms in about 11,000-square-feet divided between the approximately 7,500-square-foot main house, a pool house that houses a fitness room, a tiny tea house set above the swimming pool and an extensive studio building at the bottom of a forbiddingly lengthy and downright cinematic set of steps. The main house, extensively refreshed and updated in the early 2000s by the accomplished architects at Tichenor and Thorp, retains many original details mixed with up-to-date amenities. A center hall entry with curved staircase leads to comfortably scaled yet still gracious formal living and dining rooms, both with fireplaces and the latter wrapped in mahogany paneling. A spacious library has custom-built bookshelves that extend all the way to the generously high ceiling and the up-to-date kitchen includes slab marble countertops on classic white cabinets, a perfectly restored vintage range, and an adjoining breakfast area set against a towering row of arched casement windows. The walled and gated estate’s carefully groomed grounds offer a gated motor court and detached garage and vast swathes of rolling lawns sprinkled with and ringed by mature specimen trees. The swimming pool has arching water sprays and because of its elevated perch the estate has broad views that extend from the Griffith Observatory to the Pacific Ocean.
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The Grossman-Lyons have an interesting real estate history. They once owned Castillo del Lago, an idiosyncratic castle-like residence on a ridge high above Lake Hollywood they sold to Madonna, as well as a Roland Coates-designed Spanish Revival residence just inside the gates of Laughlin Park they sold in 1996 for $3 million to film director David Fincher.
Some of the other homes in the historic Laughlin Park enclave, many of which date to the 1920s and ‘30s, are currently owned by a plethora of Tinseltowners including Natalie Portman, Kristen Stewart, Ellen Pompeo, Lauren Graham, and recent Oscar winner Casey Affleck
Listing photos: Hilton & Hyland