From the imposing Bel Air mansions with impossibly green lawns to the storybook bungalows of West Hollywood, Los Angeles architecture is anything but boring. Of course it’s not all wine and roses. Los Angeles has more than its fair share of schlocky stucco apartment buildings and tacky dream home mansions that look dated before the paint is dry.
Like every great American city, Los Angeles seems to ride a razor’s edge between tacky and timeless. If the city had a golden age, it would vary based on who you ask. Some might point to the swinging 20s, or hell, even the 1980s. Others can make very convincing arguments that we’re living in it. There’s no wrong answer here of course. Like Manhattan, LA is a blank canvas for the American dream.
But you’re not here for that. You’re here to see what someone who actually gets paid to stare at impossibly beautiful real estate listings thinks is the best, the coolest, the most interesting. So in an effort to keep you from flipping back to Instagram, here are three of the most beautiful, timeless Spanish Colonial Revival style homes that slipped over our transom this week.
3259 Deronda Drive, Los Angeles
First up is this stunning circa 1927 Spanish Colonial in the Hollywoodland area of the Hollywood Hills. Named Casa Canem—cave of the wolf—by architect Carl Lindbom in 1927, this four bedroom, four bath home ticks all our boxes for a historic Los Angeles Spanish Colonial dream house.
Starting outside, like many houses in the Hills, Casa Canem cuts a dramatic, if deceptive figure from the street. The angles here work perfectly, and give the impression that this house was always here. It blends into the hillside like Falling Water blends into its river—a parlor trick that’s seemingly been lost to the ages by today’s standards.
It even has a Hollywood pedigree that wouldn’t be out of place in a much larger home in a much snootier neighborhood. Former owners include actress Gale Sondergaard and writer/director/producer Paul Weitz.
It also has one of the coolest doors I think I’ve ever seen on any house ever. Have a look:
I’m not sure if that goldenrod yellow is period correct, but I don’t really care. I’m in love. Sorry Brooklyn, we can still be friends, but you just can’t give me what I need right now. 😪
Then we have this room, which is in another universe as far as cozy/elegant spots to read a book (ehhh maybe a script?). As you’ll see, the owners here have done an absolutely incredible job of making me very happy and very jealous at the same time … everything is just so … perfect:
I mean, check out that arched fireplace mantle and white beamed ceiling and wide plank floors in the living room:
It’s the type of place you might expect to find Rudy Valentino and Douglas Fairbanks discussing a comeback film sipping vodka gimlets while Gloria Swanson practiced the title theme for Sunset Boulevard.
I’m stealing that chevron tile and charcoal painted ceiling idea. Sorry not sorry.
Check out just how warm and inviting those painted terracotta tiles look with those arches and curved French doors. The backyard isn’t too shabby either. I’m going to take the listing agent’s word that this is not a postcard he swiped from like, the LA cool museum or something …
Not bad right? Next, we’ll hop in the Duesenberg and head north to Santa Barbara for something a little more secluded, and a lot more dramatic. Don’t worry, it’s worth the drive.
4225 Cresta Avenue, Hope Ranch, California
Address: 4225 Cresta Avenue, Hope Ranch, California
Details: 5 beds, 6.5 baths, 7,348 sf
Listing Agent: Jason Streatfeild, Douglas Elliman
What did I tell you? The fountain out front, the gravel driveway, the lush vegetation … it’s enough to make this place feel more like an opulent equestrian resort than a home. Built in 1942 with an extensive renovation in 2014, 4225 Cresta boasts jaw-dropping ocean and sunset views from every room, soaring ceilings, a gym, and a lush but manicured 5.23 acres of land to explore.
Let’s take a look around.
Yup. That’s the ocean behind the house.
Neighbors? What neighbors?
That whole dark mahogany floors with creamy plaster walls is what really gets me here. A trademark of Spanish Colonial style. Oh, and yes, that’s the ocean.
Maui or Santa Barbara?
1098 Golf Road, Santa Barbara, California
Address: 1098 Golf Road, Santa Barbara California
Details: 5 beds, 4 baths, 4,759 sf
Listing Agent: Jason Streatfeild, Douglas Elliman
If your vibe is a little more comfy, a little less resorty, oh, and you’re short $10 million or so, 1098 Golf Road could be your own little slice of Spanish Colonial heaven in Santa Barbara. Like the other two places we looked at today, it also ticks all the boxes and then some. If some kind soul gave me $5 million with the caveat that I had to spend it on a Spanish Colonial home in California, deciding between this place and 3259 Deronda might very well be the end of me. I can’t pick just one. Don’t make me.
Again, everything here is just … perfect. The warm glow from the house at golden hour, the way the landscaping suits the house, the creeper vines that look like west coast ivy… Actually, you know what? There’s a video for this one. No need for the flowery language here. Something tells me you just want to leer at another Spanish Colonial dream home. No argument here.
Over to You
Which one of these Spanish Colonials would you choose? Let us know in the comments.