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The Legendary El Cabrillo Courtyard Complex in Hollywood – 1838 Grace Ave

A rare unit has opened up in the famed and historic El Cabrillo courtyard complex in Hollywood. Set just below Franklin Blvd., the 10 unit El Cabrillo was originally commissioned by Cecile B. DeMille. DeMille originally built it to house Broadway stage actors moving to Los Angeles to work in sound films. The location was chosen so that it was at the foot of Whitley Heights and DeMille’s studio, which was then Hollywood’s premier address, where Chaplin and Valentino had houses.

1838 Grace Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90028
Asking Price: $795,000
Bedrooms: 1
Bathrooms: 1
Square Feet: 770
Year Built: 1927
HOA: $424/mo.

The complex was built in 1927 by architects Arthur and Nina Zwebell, a husband and wife who specialized in Spanish or Hollywood mission courtyard architecture. The courtyard complex with its Moorish central fountain and swashbuckling wrought iron hardware became one of the most fashionable addresses in Hollywood in the late 1920s and 1930s. Actress Ann Harding rented a unit in 1928 for a then-unheard of amount of $500 a month. The building’s Spanish revival courtyard is alleged to have been used as a set in a Rudolph Valentino movie. In the 1960s, actor and inspiration of John Waters, Divine, lived in a unit. More recently, the complex was used as the home of the main character in the television series Chuck.

The building was meticulously restored in 2009 by designer Xorin Balbes. Balbes is the Los Angeles-based founder of TempleHome, a design and architecture firm, who’s been described as a “master flipper” for his work fixing up and selling some rather high-end California homes. (He recently sold a Los Feliz home he was living in for $9.7 million, or four times what he paid for it just two years ago.) Also, in Los Feliz, Mr. Balbes restored Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1927 Snowden House and the 17th century mansion that once belonged to early 20th century screen legend Norma Talmadge.

The complex has been described as a “gothic wonderland,” but there’s nothing dark or gloomy about this enchanting, extraordinary building. Many have claimed walking into the courtyard is like walking into a movie. Allegedly, previous owners of the complex, Bob Grumbles and Donna Morris, had inadvertently thrown out James Dean’s boots from Rebel Without a Cause and Marlon Brando’s leather jacket from the The Wild Ones when they emptied the basement of previous owner Kent Warner (no relation), who was a costumer who knew a legendary Hollywood item when he saw one. Warner was a notorious prop and costume collector who paid cash (and later auctioned at Christies) several of the ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz.

Homes with Hollywood histories are par for the course in this town, but this special unit in this building is truly unlike anything else in the zip code. Inside, you will find a main living area that boasts beautiful beamed ceilings, hardwood floors, accent tiles, detailed moldings, authentic ironwork, and casement windows.

And an impressive and stately fireplace.

The main living area also boasts a dining space with a built-in bookcase and charming vintage lighting.

The kitchen has been tastefully updated and has Bosch appliances. Plus, there’s a stackable washer and dryer close by.

The lovely bedroom is a calming and peaceful retreat from Hollywood.

The bathroom has vintage tile, a soaking tub, and plenty of storage.

The unit also comes with deeded on-site garage parking. The El Cabrillo is a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument and according to the Mills Act allows significant tax benefits to its next owner. The only question left is who that will be next? Could it be you?

If you would like to view the historic El Cabrillo or find other stylish Hollywood homes and condos for sale, call me at (323) 697-3040 or email me at jacqueline.tager@sothebyshomes.com.

Jacqueline Tager | CalBre#: 1476997
jacqueline.tager@sothebyshomes | (323) 697-3040
Sotheby’s International Realty – Los Feliz Brokerage
1801 N Hillhurst Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90027

Listing provided courtesy of Ladd Jackson, Hilton & Hyland.

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