1610 N. Ogden Drive – Stately Presence in Sunset Square

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Just near the heart of Spaulding Square in Sunset Square (2 squares make a common!), this 2,974 sq. ft. 5 bedroom/3 ¼ bathroom home adds an elegant, stately presence to a peaceful neighborhood where Old Hollywood still lingers.1610 North Ogden is situated on an 8,101 sq. ft. lot located just north of Sunset and south of Hollywood, in what is being coined the Sunset Commons. Offered at: $3,850,000

It was designed in 1921—the year of Chaplin’s The Kid and Valentino’s The Sheik-. 1610 North Ogden’s Colonial Revival style, and simple, old-fashioned charm is an elder statesman on North Ogden Drive, a street that is home to a diversity of architectural styles.

1610 North Ogden Corner Selma

The corner of Selma, at Ogden Drive with a view of the hills. Is that another Colonial Revival in the middle of the street? Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library.

Ah, Ogden Drive. Is there anything more idyllic—Hollywood idyllic, that is—than this beautiful, palm-and-other-tree-lined street? Home to Hollywood icons, producers, artists, doctors, lawyers, and (like any street in Hollywood) a bit of intrigue (read: a famous 1950s gangster murder we’ll tell you about later), Ogden Drive is now a quiet, breezy respite from the chaos of the Sunset Strip and Hollywood Blvd areas that surround it. It’s easy to imagine folks driving through on their way to the studios or to Beverly Hills or Downtown during the Golden Age of Hollywood.

1610 North Ogden House Full Front

1610 North Ogden was designed in a Colonial Revival style that was popular in the early 1900s, during the development boom that characterized the period between the two World Wars.

In concert with typical Colonial Revival features, the home’s exterior features simple fenestration, columns, clean symmetry, and characteristic hipped roofing.

1610 North Ogden Front Door

A closer look at the entrance you see the original lantern, and the characteristic Colonial eagle knocker that adorns the front door. The American Eagle, as a stylistic trait, came into vogue around 1775. According to Colonial Homes and Their Furnishings, it was a symbol of American identity that replaced the lion ring knocker used largely by the British.

1610 North Ogden Original Lamp

It’s all in the details, folks!

1610 North Ogden Colonial Knockers

Typical Eagle colonial knockers, courtesy of the Smithsonian Colonial Homes and Their Furnishings (1912) by Mary Harrod Northend.02-8x10_img_9653

A true generational home. The inviting floor plan is immediately apparent upon entrance into the foyer. Large doorways and minimal walls create a welcoming ambiance. Peter and Ruby Winkelman bought 1610 North Odgen as their children were getting older. They added the large French doors to flood the living room and dining room with light, while making the front of the home the perfect indoor/outdoor space for entertaining and to celebrate their family.04-8x10_img_9630

The large fireplace and wainscoting continue the home’s American Colonial theme. Gorgeous hardwood flooring, found throughout the home. Original crown moldings add extra complexity to the room’s simple yet supremely elegant feel.

Former owner Ruby Winkelman had been a painter. Their son, Bruce, reminisced about his mother’s talents as an artist and how her English background lent itself, in some ways, to the home’s aura. 1610 has been home to other talented creative types.

Lincoln Star Clipping

Clipping from the Lincoln Star

Alene Smith, a Vaudeville actress and her husband Hugh David Smith occupied the home in 1963. Alene, a native of Lincoln, Nebraska, was the daughter of Arthur Babich, a well-known composer who traveled with the stage show of “Birth of a Nation.” She and her sister Frances performed as “The Babich Girls” under the direction of their father. Her family relocated to Los Angeles, where Alene attended USC. She continued to perform, most notably in productions at the Demotions of the West Hollywood Notary.

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Alene was also a lyricist, and the spirit of music still pervades the home over fifty years later. A Chickering 1923 Centennial Edition piano once satunobtrusive, but not unappreciated, in the corner of the room. Peter Winkelman and daughter Ann were pianists; Peter received his lessons nearby, in fact. It was common to hear the echo of octaves and crescendos from multiple households that had pianos along Ogden Drive—a testament to how quiet the street is. T

Lucille Ball

Of course, perhaps the spirit of performance traveled throughout Ogden Drive—the most famous of its residents was none other than Lucille Ball, who lived just a few blocks away from 1610.1344 North Ogden Home Front

She lived at this 1344 N. Ogden home for a few years in the 1930s, just a few blocks away from 1610. It was in this home that Lucille’s grandfather held Communist meetings and Lucille was later called before the House Un-American Committee in 1953 to testify. She stated that she had never intended to register as a Communist but did so upon her grandfather’s urging. When asked by HUAC investigator William Wheeler “Have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?” her reply was, “No; not to my knowledge.”

Lucille Ball Voter Registration Card

A copy of Ball’s 1936 voter registration card courtesy of UCLA Digital Libraries

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Bruce shared with us fond memories of his parents’ love for entertaining. “The dining room was used often,” he said. “There were a lot of family events; it’s not one of these places where there’s one giant room connected to the kitchen. It’s got a good floor plan for family gatherings and parties. That’s one of things my folks really enjoyed having—these big get-togethers. My parents threw our wedding shower here…there were probably a couple hundred people here. It really has the size and structure for entertaining, which is kind of nice too.”

French windows bathe the area in natural lighting—it’s no wonder this was a popular site for congregating. And…that chandelier! Swoon.

Buttonlath Building Advertisement

Advertisement for Buttonlath building materials using A.J. Woodhouse’s branding.

The architect of 1610 N. Ogden was a British expatriate named A.J. Woodhouse. Woodhouse not only originally contracted and designed the home, he was 1610 N. Ogden’s first resident, living there with his wife Josie May until they sold the house in 1922. It is interesting to note that the majority of his designs were either Italianate or Spanish Colonial Revivals throughout Los Angeles (many can be found in the  Los Feliz area on Edgemont, Rowena, Ambrose, and Nella Vista Avenues). 1610 N. Ogden was a fairly unique design from what can be gathered of his repertoire. One can’t help but think about how pleased the architect would be if he were to see the home’s impeccably furnished and designed home now.

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A fully updated gourmet kitchen. Open and airy for the entire family to enjoy cooking together.

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Great flow to entertain indoors and out.

07-8x10_img_9761 06-8x10_img_981008-8x10_img_9829_hdr 10-8x10_img_9898_hdrLarge french doors open up to a private deck and outdoor livingroom uited for SoCal living. Open up a bottle of Pinot Grigio and watch the sunset—it really doesn’t get any better than this.

When the property was first built, you wouldn’t have been able to enjoy that glass of Pinot Grigio, or any libations—it was Prohibition. In fact, prolific developer, A.Z Taft, who developed the housing tract that brought us 1610 North Ogden, was a proud teetotaler and a leading figure in Hollywood’s Prohibition movement!

Taft Realty New Tract Advertisement

Holly Leaves, July 29, 1919

1610 N. Ogden was part of a 30-acre tract developed by A.Z. Taft’s company, Taft Realty Company in the early 1900s, along with about seventy other lots that were put on the market at the time. The Taft Building on Hollywood and Vine was named after his son, A.Z. Taft, Jr.

Hm. Wonder what would Prohibitionist Taft think about Hollywood now?

Here’s another clipping announcing the development:

Taft Opens New Tract Advertisement

Original announcement about the development in the area from Holly Leaves magazine. July 19, 1919

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The backyard has always been the perfect space for entertaining, especially now with this elegant pool and jacuzzi. According to Gil Winkelman, another son, there were about 75 rosebushes on the property when the family first moved in. The home also had about nine fruit trees in the back that included loquat, guava, (yes, guava!) peach, plum, and what they thought were lemon trees.

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The family received quite a horticulture lesson once when they noticed that their neighbor’s lemons were considerably larger. When they asked the gardener why this was so, the reply, according to Gil was, “Well, because your lemons are limes, and her lemons are grapefruits.” The moral of the story: When life gives you lemons, don’t worry about it, because in actuality you probably have some other type of citrus.

Gil also shared a nice story about his neighbor leaving large avocados on the ledge, and in exchange, they’d give her guava and limes. All good relationships start with the exchange of fresh fruit, natch.

Los Angeles Times Headline 1951

Los Angeles Times Headline, 1951 — the accompanying photo was too graphic to show!

If only Mobster Jimmy “The Weasel” Fratianno could have learned this same neighborly lesson of benevolence in 1951 when he was living on Ogden Drive, just a few doors down from 1610 at 1648. As though it were straight out of a Mario Puzo novel, the entire block was a crime scene after the “Two Tonys” Anthony Brancato and Anthony Trombino were shot inside a 1949 Oldsmobile parked in front of Jimmy the Weasel’s house! According to the book Gangster Squad: Covert Cops, The Mob, and the Battle For Los Angeles by Paul Lieberman, a phone book inside the car had “Jesus is coming, so are you ready to meet him?” scrawled all over it. Fratianno later confessed to the killings.

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No sense of the darker sides of Hollywood now; Ogden Drive exudes nothing but tranquility. A detached garage toward the back of the home allows for multiple cars in the driveway. Greenery and hedges provide plenty of privacy.

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Coming back into the interior, the staircase takes us up The Winkleman family was active in the artistic and cultural community, and as a gifted painter, Ruby could often be found painting Rembrandt and Monet replicas.20-8x10_img_943721-8x10_img_9467

The master suite and sitting room has been re-imagined for modern sensibilities. Designer closets and storage

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Luxuriant master bath.

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Private terrace awaits.

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More French windows with streaming natural light in the adjoining bedroom.

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Private balcony and exquisite wardrobe closets are featured in this bedroom suite.

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Bathroom tastefully appointed.

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450 North Ogden Ed Woods Apartment

Charismatic screenwriter, director, producer, and actor Ed Wood’s first apartment was located at 450 N. Ogden

The neighborhood is frequently visited by location scouts. Ed Wood lived on Ogden Drive. The Winkelmans were approached several times by film studios that wanted to rent the home—for example, The Cohen Brothers asked to use their kitchen for their upcoming movie Hail,Caesar. They politely declined. The Hangover, Friday the 13th (right across the street) and Partners are just a few movies filmed on Ogden Drive.

Former owner, Ruby Winkelman used to marvel that the stunning views made her feel as though she were gazing upon an Italian landscape.

Panorama Los Angeles Landscape

Of course, that’s no surprise… Ruby’s artistic eye appreciated all that 1610 North Ogden had to offer.

One thought on “1610 N. Ogden Drive – Stately Presence in Sunset Square

  1. Great story and beautiful home proves that a focus on the Renovation of a historically significant home is the way to go. Renovation, not destruction, delivers neighborhood balance, consistent facades, spatial symmetry, architectural respect, & happy neighbors. Designing the house right may cost more to do, take longer to perfect, and deliver less financial profits to developers, but the overall win-win, speaks for itself. Pride. Product. Principles.

    This house delivers modern conveniences and size but with a generous nod to the traditional Colonialism architecture we Angelenos have come to love and cherish. No dollar went unspent mastering the renovation & transformation of this property into a grand old Colonial revival. 1610 N. Ogden Drive will sit majestically for yet another generation.

    Go experience the difference of an LA Urban Manor where Traditionally edgy, Appropriately massive, and Historically respectful.

    Respectfully yours,
    Johnny Kanounji
    Architect Designer of 1610 N. Ogden Dr.

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