Anita Loos, looking scholarly, famous for writing the bestselling, “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”, notoriously lied about her age, stating she started writing for motion pictures at the age of twelve in 1912…
Pictured below: Charlie Chaplin, Anita Loos, Paulette Goddard, and John Emerson. Loos and Emerson were married for seventeen years and had a beach house in an area referred to as the Gold Coast (Pacific Palisades/Santa Monica) designed by Richard Neutra.
I believe this is the house, although I’m not sure…
Which leads me to one hell of an incredible architect: Richard Neutra, seen here with his wife viewing an exhibit of Frank Lloyd Wright designs in 1954.
This is the Lovell house designed by Neutra and built between 1927-1929. Here he is with the steel framed, cantilevered, concrete structure at its completion…
Superlatives fail me. However, the internet reveals a treasure trove of his designs. One particularly rich site: http://www.trianglemodernisthouses.com/neutra.htm
I like particularly the first photo, Anita Loos and her scholarly look, it’s really charming.
Oh this is so wonderful. It makes me sad that all those wonderful houses down on the beach in Santa Monica around Marion Davies place are all gone. I can remember some of them from when I was a very little kid.
Frankly my dear, a wonderful post.
I love her disheveled writer look, and quite the talent beyond Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
She was a rare wit! Hey Jill, you of the artistic leanings — take a look here at the originator of the “flapper” concept, Gordon Conway: http://foxpudding.wordpress.com/
Thanks for sending her over, Ms Lester. Check’s in the mail.
Hi Vickie, thanks for the shout out. The house shown for Loos/Emerson still stands in Santa Monica. We have no record of it being designed by Neutra, or that Neutra designed them a house. Have you got any additional clues? Thanks! George Smart, TriangleModernistHouses.com
Hello George, I found mention of the Neutra house for Loos and Emerson in a autobiography written by Loos’ niece… I’ll check my notes and see if I can dig it up for you —
I found the answer. The 1936 John Emerson and Anita Loos Beach House is at
506 Palisades Beach Road. The architect and builder was Harry E. Werner.
Ah, I found the reference! No telling if it’s accurate — “Aldous Huxley Recollected: an Oral History” by David King Dunaway as told to the author by Mary Anita Loos (pages 47 and 48). I’m heading over to your site now to see if I can send the excerpt to you…
This is great–as you probably know, Vickie, Neutra was connected to Beachwood Canyon, first through the Theosophical Society and then through Aldous Huxley. And Aldous and Maria Huxley’s best friend in Hollywood was Anita Loos, who provided the entree for Aldous’s screenwriting career (“Jane Eyre,” Pride and Prejudice”). At some point I’ll get into the architecture-religion connection in my own blog, but this has been fun to read.
And I thought I had bookshelves.
The houses are not all gone. The beach house is not a Neutra. It’s a Harry Werner. I lived in it when I was a school girl. Neutra designed Mae Wests house next door.
Thank you! Now I’ll have to research Harry Werner, looks like a great house, and thank you clarifying who designed it.
Harry E Werner is/was my grandfather. designed many fine homes in the Beverly Hills area. We have a loose leaf edition of a 1947? Architectural Digest which has a 7 page feature on one of his homes. I believed he passed away in 1960 while at his 400 acre almond orchard (Indian Springs Ranch) in Paso Robles, which is where he is buried
Oh, and I forgot to add there’s a very interesting architectural blog on Los Angeles you might want to check out:
There is a current real estate news on a house grandpa designed, look up 1046 Tower, listed for 38 million.
I found our old Architectural Digest, is is not loose leaf like I thought. Grandpa’s house for Mr and Mrs Warner Baxter is given 12 pages. oddly the issue does not have a date. It lists grandpa as not only the architect but also the builder along with “Price”.
Grandpa also designed several of the Tipps restaurants, but i bet they are all gone now.
Mel, that is so cool! Is the estate on Tower a big, rambling, gorgeous Spanish? I have a box of magazines called the Architectural Record from 1924. I am on a mission now, if I see any grandfather’s work I will post it. Thank you so much for saying hello, and Happy New Year!
Yes the big rambling Spanish house is the one recently sold.
I am trying to find a bio on grandpa or at least when he was born. I am quite sure he passed away in 1960. His drafting table was massive, as in 9′ long. I used it while in high school for my art projects. My grandma passed away about 1980, so maybe 20 years after Paddy died. I am guessing that our Architectural Digest issue is about 1935, in perfect condition. I looked up that client, Warner Baxter, quite the actor, Clarke Gable era. received the 2nd Oscar for best male actor. I wonder if that house still stands.
to find more information on Harry Werner, I suggest you contact Nancy Hadley, archivist at the AIA in Washington DC. she knows everything about everybody.
Good morning architecture fans! We just added tons more photos of Neutra and Schindler houses to our main archive….
I think the Loos/Emerson house at 506 Palisades Beach Road was a Neutra built by Werner. Anita told me that they had a Neutra house (although I’m not 100% certain whether she had been referring to their home in Laguna Nigel or Santa Monica Beach. But it was definitely built by Werner — I don’t know his work well enough to know if he was a contractor before he became an architect as was true of many of the 1930s architects. The Neutra home next door to Anita Loos that Mae West lived in was designed for the Goldwyn’s.
Mel – A classic that your grandfather designed was the Carl’s restaurants in Los Angeles and Anaheim. These two were very well known….
Tish, thank you so much! I wish I were home so I could attend the 10th anniversary of
but in the meantime I will definitely write a post on the treasures of California History at La Senora Research Institute.
All my best, V
You have the wrong architect. Neutra designed the house next door to this for Mae West. This house- 596 PCH. Was designed by Harry Werner and built in 1926
Hi Mel Archer,
Nice to find a grandchild of architect Harry Werner! I am currently doing research on a home that your grandfather Werner built in 1926-1927 for George H. Prince in the town of Lankershim (Now North Hollywood) at 11175 Huston. I would love to find a photo of the house (now demolished). I’ve been in contact with a person who lived in the home from the 1940’s thru the 60’s when it was torn down, but sadly have had no luck in finding a photo. I’m told it was even more grand than the beautiful Beverly Hills Werner home that was just recently sold for 38 million. The California-Spanish home had 19 rooms, several balconies, courts and patios, a tennis court, a maid’s and butler’s quarters. Please let me know if you have any additional information on your grandfather that you would like to share!
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