The MLS got a return visit from a familiar face yesterday: Lloyd Wright's Samuel-Novarro House. The terra cotta-accented Mayanesque residence in Los Feliz's Oaks neighborhood was originally built in 1928 for actor Ramon Novarro's personal secretary/companion, Louis Samuel, but was later taken over and expanded by Novarro after the Ben-Hur star discovered his employee had been embezzling from him. According to the Andre Soares biography Beyond Paradise: The Life of Ramon Novarro, the actor hired legendary art director Cedric Gibbons to design the interiors, including a music room where Novarro was given to playing the piano in the nude.
Other noteworthy occupants have included Leonard Bernstein, Jerome Robbins, Betty Comden, and Adolph Green, who rented the property while writing the Broadway musical On the Town, Diane Keaton, who hired architect Josh Schweitzer to restore it (it was the now-avid preservationist's first introduction to restoration), and Christina Ricci.
Big Orange Landmarks notes that Ricci purchased the three bedroom, three bath house in 2005 for $2.979 million, but wound up selling it only a year later for "about $2.8 million." Today's asking price for the "meticulously restored" 2,690 square foot residence is $4.195 million.
· 2255 VERDE OAK Dr [Redfin]
· No. 130 - Samuel-Novarro House [Big Orange Landmarks]