In my girlhood, I lived amongst them, these sublimely stylish homes designed in the twenties, thirties, and forties by prominent local architect Wallace Neff.
Born in 1895 in nearby La Mirada, California, Neff, once established, came to live in my hometown of San Marino, on Orlando Road.
In his heyday, Wallace Neff famously designed Pickfair for Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, as well as homes for celebrities such as Charlie Chaplin, Judy Garland, Cary Grant, Claudette Colbert, and Darryl Zanuck. His homes are also found along many streets in my native San Marino and Pasadena. Neff died in 1982 at the age of eighty-seven.
Influenced by Spanish and Mediterranean architecture, Wallace Neff in turn greatly influenced and established what we think of today as Southern California’s regional hallmark style. For this he is still deservedly revered. Modern day celebrities who have spent their fortunes to own Neff-designed homes include Diane Keaton, Madonna, and Brad Pitt and Jennifer Anniston.
On my Twitter feed this week I noticed a tweet from Curbed.com/Los Angeles about Wallace Neff homes flooding the market and I got nostalgic. The home that Curb.com featured, near the Arroyo Seco and the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, is listed for sale for $2,225,000.
It has a signature Neff design detail, the curved staircase.
Apparently this home can also be rented for $875.00 per night. If you want to see what it’s like to live in historic quarters such as these.