A billionaire who has not incurred the wrath of Vickie Lester, someone known for architectural restoration, not devastation…

There is a man I know very little about, other than he has boat loads of money and has bought and restored two iconic Hollywood residences. One is Greenacres, the former home and beloved garden of the silent film star, Harold Lloyd, and the other is the Ennis House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. I have to say, I admire Mr. Burkle for his careful stewardship of our architectural heritage.

The Ennis house was built in 1924 and as early as 1933 started appearing in films. This is Ruth Chatterton playing a wealthy industrialist about to take a dip in the Ennis pool in the film Female.

Ruth-Chatterton-swimsuit-Female

Now, according to rumor and gossip I was privy to many years ago the Ennis House was owned by a bit of a curmudgeon in the seventies and eighties who pimped out the house for events and movie shoots and let the building fall into ruin. The Northridge earthquake delivered the coup de grâce in 1994 and the residence was red tagged. The walls were cracked, the hill beneath it was subsiding, the house was crumbling. Now, as you might have gleaned from previous posts Mr. Wright’s textile block houses are not among my favorites of his designs, however, they are historically and culturally important.

Interior:

59700986An imposing house with a grand view of Los Angeles:

ENNIS_1-1024x709

So, a deep bow to Ron Burkle, and heritage-wise, a tip for other billionaires: that’s the way to do it—restore and preserve.

The house and pool today:

Ennis-House-Los-Angeles-

 

7 comments

  1. Steve Sikora

    I have to agree with you on lauding Mr Burkle. I know a little about what went into that particular restoration and without Ron Burkle and in resource in the wings it would not have been possible.

    • It’s a really controlled living space, and not for tall people! Well, they do fine in the actual spaces, but getting to the rooms via low corridors and cramped stairs is a chore. I’ve seen many a six footer crack their head or crouch…not pleasant.

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