Open House Obsession: Historic Charm on Sunset Plaza


Where: 1277 Sunset Plaza Drive, Sunset Plaza
When: Sunday, June 18 from 2:00pm-5:00pm
Asking: $4,900,000
What: In Los Angeles, a home’s pedigree has a much to do with its architect as its previous occupants. In this case, this superb, beautifully-scaled home designed by Paul R. Williams, one of LA’s great architects, and once occupied by the great comedian Groucho Marx, a master of shade, side-eye, and the well-delivered innuendo. Marx began in vaudeville, became a film star, and went on to become a television pioneer, always ready with an anarchic stab at the status quo. Williams– overcoming deeply ingrained discrimination against African Americans– delivered architectural details with equal élan, imbuing his projects with gracious, timeless taste from a broad palette of styles.

Williams’ best houses synthesized, rather than copied, so we have a hybrid Mid-Atlantic Colonial style with elegant exterior details and a slate roof, a house that’s evocative rather than accurate, and well-suited to the indoor/outdoor way of life in Los Angeles. Indeed, his houses could be described as cinematic– emotion, great prduction values and impeccable art direction.

What We Love:
This is a compact, somewhat formal house, built at a time when domestic expectations were different– but one that’s eminently liveable today.

No doubt many hi-balls were launched from this bar off the living room.

The right-sized kitchen has everything, including a butler’s pantry and dining area.

The dual master suite has two baths, one of which is big enough to hold a meeting in, plus a private study and terrace.

Deeply hedged, the two-level pool and patio is accessible from most of the first floor.

More: Juliet Zacarias of Sotheby’s International Realty has the listing.