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A look inside Wattles Mansion’s 2017 Design Showcase

The grand 1907 estate is open to the public until April 16

The Gilded Age Wattles Mansion has been owned by the city of Los Angeles since the late 1960s. But in recent decades, funds for its proper upkeep dried up significantly, and time was taking a toll. Rather than let the landmark property continue its slide into dilapidation, last year, the city’s Department of Recreation and Parks reached out to the local design community, who performed much needed restoration on the home in the process of making it a temporary design showcase.


Top left: Patrick Dragonette’s vivid dining room tableau. Top right: Iron accents add melodrama to the entry vestibule, designed by David Dalton. Bottom: The living room, by Woodson & Rummerfield’s House of Design, includes a portrait of silent film star Norma Talmadge found in the parks department’s storage warehouse.

Built in 1907 by Myron Hunt and Elmer Grey, architects of the Huntington Library, the Rose Bowl, and Mount Wilson’s Observatory, the Mission Revival-style mansion occupies a sprawling lot of nearly 50 acres below Runyon Canyon.

The only remaining example of an estate built in Hollywood prior to the film industry, the Wattles house has just unveiled its second design showcase, which now seems set to be an annual event.

Whereas last year’s showcase had an Old Hollywood theme, this year’s focus is on sensitively decorating a historic home while taking modern tastes into account. Donated improvements this year include new tile, sinks, plants, and landscaping.

Designer Mae Brunken’s French bulldog Lulu makes a perfect complement for the checkerboard marble floor in the conservatory.
Along with the conservatory, designers Mae Brunken and Melinda Ritz styled the gentleman’s lounge on behalf of the Set Decorators Society of America.
The ladies’ lounge was designed by Kelley Jackson, and sports a new pedestal sink and redone tile (not shown) courtesy of Snyder Diamond.
Fernando Diaz decorated the library. Original features include intricately carved walnut bookcases and a hand-painted ceiling.

Top: The kitchen and butler’s pantry were decorated by RJ DiCamillo, Heidi DiGiacomo, Jeanne Kelly, and John Saint-Denis for Williams-Sonoma. Bottom left: Jessica Brende designed the upstairs landing. Bottom room: Sitting room by Nicole Gordon.

Along with tiger-themed wallpaper, the upstairs bar—designed by Nicole Gordon—features a jungle-cat-shaped side table.
The game room was designed by Jonathan Winslow and Fariba Cohen
No, this isn’t Heaven’s waiting room—it’s an upstairs bedroom designed by Kathleen Beall.

Top left: Designer Ryan Saghian gave the upstairs guest room a deep-purple makeover. Top right: Featuring hand-painted wallpaper and a vista overlooking the estate’s acres of lawn, the master bedroom was designed by Kym Rodger. Bottom: Accented with cool greens, this dressing room was decorated by Victoria Reitz.

Designer Leslie Shapiro Joyal spruced up the mansion’s front loggia.

The showcase will be open to the public Thursdays through Sundays until April 16. Admission is $40 per person, with proceeds benefitting three charities: No-Kill Los Angeles; Save Iconic Architecture Projects; and Los Angeles Parks Foundation.

An aerial view of a yard with trees, grass, and paths. There is a white house in the distance.
The mansion’s expansive backyard received fresh landscaping courtesy of Anna Hoffman Designs.

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1824 N Curson Ave, Hollywood Hills, CA
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