Checking Out West Hollywood's Historic Apartments

We have a bad habit of wandering into unlocked buildings in our neighborhood that have "For Rent" signs out and look remotely historic. Walking the dog through West Hollywood, it's easy to stumble upon some hidden treasures, concealed behind high hedges or imposing gates. In just a few blocks near Crescent Heights, there is a wealth of historic properties for rent, with diverse architectural influences ranging from Spanish to Moroccan to Art Deco and Streamline Moderne. Many of these are landmarked, all of these are pricey. Let's take a look.

Villa D'este

Everytime we walk by this building, we're struck with a major case of home envy. The 1928 courtyard building was designed by Pierpont and Walter Davis and is vaguely modeled after its namesake on Italy's Lake Maggiore. We snuck in a few years ago and were blown away by the meticulous attention to detail, including intricate brick inlays in the fireplaces, arched nooks, wood beam ceilings, fountains spouting from the mouths of sculpted lions, and the tiled courtyard. While there aren't currently any vacancies, the apartments range from about $3,450 per month to $4,500 for a two bedroom.

1338-1342 N. Laurel Ave.

Just across the street from Villa D'Este, this Spanish courtyard building features mahogany floors and high ceilings. According to the listing, Myrna Loy lived on this property back in the Hollywood's Golden Era. A one-bedroom is currently available for $2,600.

Villa Sevilla

Designed by Elwood Houseman in 1931, the "Architectural Guidebook to Los Angeles" by David Gebhard and Robert Winter describes Villa Sevilla as "an Andalusian village scene set on the hillside." According to the listing, details include decorative fireplaces, original hand painted tiles and moldings. There's a two bedroom currently available for $3,100.

El Mirador

Possibly one of the most beautiful, the classic 1929 El Mirador is currently caught up in a contentious dispute between the city and owner. With the owner threatening to demolish the lovely Churrigueresque Spanish Colonial Revival building, tenants have been evicted from their apartments under CA's Ellis Act starting last September. Before the fight, one bedrooms were listed for $2,400 a month.

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