Archives for posts with tag: architecture
Groucho's house

Groucho’s house, Trousdale

My dad rented two houses in Trousdale, both of which my mother would have undoubtedly thought were déclassé. I remember her derisively calling Trousdale a “tract” since many of the houses did indeed resemble each other; of course they bore absolutely no resemblance to ugly cookie cutter suburban houses. The first was in 1967 or so after he and my mom got divorced. At first he stayed in a bungalow in the Beverly Hills hotel, then rented a large furnished house on Haynes in Trousdale with a huge bathtub in the master bathroom, an all-white formal living room that was almost never used and a manly den where we watched TV. After he remarried for the fourth time, he moved back to Trousdale to Arkell Drive, where he paid a small fortune in rent each month to a Korean doctor landlord. I feel somewhat happy to have stolen a large Moroccan hanging lamp from the landlord which I still have. The New York Times T Magazine looked at Trousdale this week.

Im looking forward to reading the upcoming book “OVER THE TOP: the Architectural History of Trousdale Estates, Beverly Hills” when it is published and seeing if either of my dad’s houses are in it.

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One of my biggest regrets is not realizing until it was too late that the UPA studios, which I spent my childhood roaming, were a pristine example of mid-century architecture and design. The studios were sold and torn down around the time I was away at college, and though I couldn’t have prevented the demolition, I certainly could have salvaged more of the furniture. At least I was lucky enough to inherit a Herman Miller credenza and a cel depicting John Lautner‘s clean-lined modern design.  My memory banks are full of pastel ’50s colors, pots of animation cel paint, men with skinny ties and white shirts bent over drawing boards and an editing room full of whirring projectors and Moviolas. I know my dad just bought the studio, didn’t build it himself, and was then responsible for its destruction. But it was another time and as I pointed out in another post, he never claimed to be an artist, just a businessman.