3123 Berkeley Avenue: Spanish Colonial Living in Moreno Highlands
Paul Wiliams, AIA, and Robert Farquhar, AIA, are just a couple of the illustrious architects who brought revival design to Los Angeles—and this stunning Spanish Colonial Bungalow at 3123 Berkeley Avenue in the Moreno Highlands fits in quite nicely with the good company, we think.
Built in 1925, this 3 bedroom/1 bathroom, 1019 sq. ft. home shared a birth year with some of the most iconic film releases of our time: The Wizard of Oz, Ben Hur, and Phantom of the Opera were all released that same year. The Spanish Colonial Revival design of 3123 Berkeley Avenue was typical of the time, evoking the aesthetic that became largely en vogue in Southern California after the Mexican-American war.
Ramona, an extremely popular movie that told the story of a mixed heritage (Scottish-Native American) girl who moves to California shortly after the Mexican-American war, likely influenced the interest in Spanish/Mexican-inspired design. The movie, based on a book by Helen Hunter Jackson, was a smashing success after its publication in 1884. It sold over 15,000 copies and coincided with the development of the Southern Pacific Railroad station, making it easier for those with wanderlust to visit the locations in the book.
Interestingly, many believed that the love story in the movie was based on the real life of Hugo Reid, the adventurous Scotsman who gave certain sections of present-day Silver Lake Scottish-inspired names. It is rumored that when he initially arrived in El Pueblo de Los Angeles, he named the Silver Lake area Ivanhoe after the well-known Scottish classic by Sir Walter Scott. The name carried over to present-day Ivanhoe Reservoir, Ivanhoe Elementary, and evidence of other Scottish-inspired names remain in street names like Rowena, Scott, and Angus Street, which also appears as the name of a character in Ramona.
The Scotsman eventually fell in love with a Tongva woman named Dona Victoria and the union blessed him with large parcels of land in Rancho Santa Anita. Reid’s home, known as the Hugo Reid Adobe, is a California Historical Landmark located on the current grounds of the Los Angeles Arboretum and Botanical Gardens.
As the area continued to develop over time, celebrities began moving to the area to avoid the higher real estate prices of places like Beverly Hills.
3123 Berkeley Avenue sits just a smidge over a mile away from the old Keystone Studios located at 1712 Glendale Blvd. Originally the site of a horse ranch in an area known as Edendale, the property on which the studios sat was purchased by the “King of Comedy” Mack Sennett. Sennett went on to produce such iconic slapstick flicks like the Keystone Cops and the Sennett Bathing Beauties. Sennet worked with names like Mabel Normand, Charlie Chaplin, and “Fatty” Arbuckle, helping to build their careers and to make the transition from vaudeville to silent films. The Edendale area was frequently used for filming, and it was common to see Sennett’s film crews using Glendale Boulevard for chase scenes.
This Moreno Highlands property exudes remnants of that Old Hollywood glamour, but is conveniently removed from the excitement of Sunset in its own tree-lined oasis. Gorgeous, tiered landscaping provides endless opportunities for relaxation. Abundant fruit trees pepper the grounds, allowing for natural, dappled sunlight to stream into this cozy and comfortable home.
The residence has its own small history of Hollywood glamour: British actress Anastasia Griffith (Damages, Trauma), lived in the home around 2010.
The interior is equally as inviting. An open floor plan and large, plentiful windows provide a breezy, airy feel replete with natural light.
An entertainer’s kitchen with plenty of surfaces for dips and beverages. Updated appliances, and abundant cabinetry provide the necessities for the home chef at any level.
And for those moments when you’ve run out of organic butter or need an extra scoop of chia seeds for your morning smoothie—a brand new Whole Foods will be opening up sometime in 2016 less than two miles away on Glendale Boulevard. (Maybe avoid the asparagus water, mmkay?)
For those special nights when you want to dine out, the romantic Cliff’s Edge restaurant is less than a mile away.
Cliff’s Edge owner, Dana Hollister lives in the neighborhood at her Paramour Estate. an internationally renowned interior designer and visionary urban developer with clientele, including Tom Petty, Courtney Love, Robert Downey Jr., Patricia Arquette and Tatjana Patitz, has been a key player in the revitalization of both Silver Lake , and Downtown Los Angeles’ ‘Artist District.
In 1998, she acquired the historic Canfield-Moreno Estate in Silver Lake. Completed in 1923,and it was originally named Crestmount, the estate was built by renowned architect Robert Farquhar as the principle residence for oil heiress Daisy Canfield and her matinee idol husband Antonio Moreno.
Hollister renamed it The Paramour and has since restored to its original beauty. It is listed as Historic Cultural Monument # 391, by the City of Los Angeles. A popular film location, The Paramour has hosted a series of concerts to benefit the Sunset Free Clinic, which included performances from Elton John, Sting, Beck, John Mayer, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
3123 Berkeley is also just a stone’s throw away from another Moreno Highlands gem—the Paul Williams-designed palatial Mediterranean at 2081 Redcliff. Designed in 1935, the home was purportedly for the restaurateur Rene Faron and his wife Jean, who owned a popular French restaurant in Downtown LA called Rene & Jean: French Table d’hote.
The restaurant somehow managed to thrive throughout the Great Depression, and the purchase of the Moreno Highlands land was the Farons’ way of celebrating. C’est magnifique, n’est-ce pas?