First floated with flurry of fawning publicity as a not-so-secret, off-market whisper listing several weeks ago, Frank Lloyd Wright’s expensively and comprehensively restored Ennis House in Los Angeles’s Los Feliz neighborhood officially came for sale on the open market today with a sky-high $23 million price tag.
Originally constructed with more than 27,000 patterned and perforated decomposed granite blocks, the boldly idiosyncratic, temple-like residence was built by Wright’s architect son Lloyd Wright in 1924 for retailer Charles Ennis and his wife Mabel. Badly damaged in the 1994 Northridge earthquake, the exotic residence slipped into a pitiful state of neglect and disrepair until 2011 when it was sold for $4.5 million to architecture appreciating billionaire Ron Burkle. According to marketing materials, the supermarket magnate and investor spent “nearly $17 million” to scrupulously restore the “both powerful and remarkably livable” residence.
Positioned high on a .83-acre hillside parcel with cinematic views that sweep over the city, the main residence and guest quarters atop a detached garage — originally designed as a chauffeur’s apartment — together measure somewhat more than 6,000-square-feet with four bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms. The landmarked residence has been featured in dozens of films, television shows, fashion shoots and music videos including “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Twin Peaks” and, most famously, 1982’s “Blade Runner.”
An exceptionally, almost dizzying long interior loggia with a mausoleum-like marble floor links multi-level interior spaces that feature the same textured blocks as the exterior along with delicately geometric leaded glass windows and hardwood floors. The airy living room has a shimmering, mosaic-tiled fireplace and the cathedral-esque dining room offers a soaring, exposed-beam ceiling, another fireplace and a cleverly framed view of the downtown skyline through a frameless corner picture window. There’s also an intimate library, a black and white tiled vintage kitchen restored to functionality and, discretely tucked on a lower level, a games/screening room with open fireplace and curved bar. The main house is separated from the detached garage and guest apartment by a gated motor court; The lengthy southern side of the house opens to a series of sun-splashed courtyards, balconies and terraces that provide unobstructed city views; And the north façade opens to a broad terrace with a small koi pond and a large swimming pool that was added sometime after 1940 when the property was purchased by radio announcer and actor John Nesbitt, best known as the narrator of “The Passing Parade” program.
Burkle, who presides over the legendary Greenacres estate in one of the plumiest pockets of Beverly Hills that he’s owned since 1993 when he bought it for $20 million and earlier this year paid $15 million for the 5.2-acre Bob and Delores Hope estate in Toluca Lake, additionally owns one of Palm Spring’s most iconic and architecturally significant residences. In 2016 he shelled out $13 million for a behemoth, uniquely torus-shaped hilltop mansion designed by maverick architect John Lautner for, coincidentally enough, Bob and Delores Hope. Originally listed with a preposterous $50 million price tag, the futuristic steel, concrete and glass residence sits high on a ridge just up the street from Elrod House, another boldly flamboyant and world-famous Lautner-designed residence that Burkle bought, per property records, in 1993 for $390,000 and sold in 2003 for $5.5 million. Made famous in the 1971 James Bond film “Diamonds Are Forever,” the spaceship-resembling residence is now owned by provocative fashion designer Jeremy Scott who sewed up its purchase in 2016 for $8 million.