A singular Streamline Moderne-style residence in Fairfax—and four apartments next door—may not be long for this world.
On Thursday, Beverly Hills-based developer Ilan Gorodezki filed plans with the city to build 17 condominiums at 941-947 North Martel Avenue. The project appears to require demolition of a small rent-controlled complex and a single-family home built for early Hollywood star Wallace Beery.
Constructed in 1936, the three-bedroom home was designed by influential modern architect William Kesling and is one of just 15 Kesling-designed residences still standing in Los Angeles.
The residence appeared on the market earlier this year and promptly sold for $1.6 million.
A master of the Streamline style, Kesling built many of LA’s most distinctive homes and apartment complexes during the 1930s. Like other works by the architect, Beery’s former residence has swooping lines and angular construction, with nautical-influenced Art Deco flair.
Patrick Pascal, who wrote a book on Kesling’s work with architectural historian David Gebhard, tells Curbed the house is “one of the most original” of the architect’s remaining works.
“It would be a real shame for Kesling’s legacy and for the city of LA if that house disappeared,” says Pascal.
When it listed earlier this year, the home featured hardwood floors, casement windows, and cleverly designed built-in seating. One of its two bathrooms was also equipped with vintage green and black tile.
Its Academy Award-winning original owner commissioned the home at the height of his stardom, when he was under contract as one of MGM’s highest paid stars.
Passionate about aircraft, Beery may have been attracted to Kesling’s style, which incorporated “wing-like gateways” and other features “evocative of transportation,” says Pascal.
The home was restored and updated in the 1980s, according to the Los Angeles Times, and the landscaping was redone several years ago by Star Trek: Voyager writer Michael Taylor.
Curbed reached out to the developer of the condo project for comment but has not yet heard back.