Owned by “Pretty Little Liars” star Ashley Benson, a freshly rehabbed 1925 Spanish villa in the historic and historically celeb-packed Laughlin Park enclave in L.A.’s Los Feliz area has come for sale at $2.45 million. Listed with Nikki Friedman and Robb Friedman at Compass, the three-story villa is surrounded by tall oak trees and verdant foliage on a sandbox-sized .08-acre hillside parcel with three bedrooms and 3.5 newly renovated, vintage-style bathrooms in close to 2,600 square feet. Marketing materials indicate over $700,000 was spent on recent renovations and, unfortunately for the “Spring Break” star, that means, unless the next owner plunks down a hefty bit over the asking price, she’s staring down a substantial loss on the property she bought just over 1.5 years ago for $1.8 million.
A secured, courtyard entry and split-level foyer gives way to a living room that features a black marble fireplace surround, refinished hardwood floors and a coved ceiling with unusual arched cutouts over a series of French doors that lead to a north-facing terrace with an over-the-treetops view of Griffith Park Observatory. The living room steps down through an arched doorway to a separate dining room and through a second, much wider opening into a snazzy new galley kitchen decked out with name-brand appliances and boldly veined stone countertops on Shaker-style cabinets painted a sophisticated shade of pale grey.
Downstairs, there’s a roomy guest bedroom with a fully up-to-date retro-style bathroom along with a master suite that comprises a cozily proportioned bedroom, a not-especially-big but smartly fitted walk-in closet and a roomy, black marble bathroom replete with soaking tub, over-sized steam shower and direct access to an arched loggia. The lowest level contains a potential third bedroom or office, a rehabbed bathroom and flexible space that spills out through French doors to a tiny, irregularly shaped backyard tightly bordered by towering privet hedges with a long, gently curved poured concrete bench and built-in fire pit.
Laughlin Park has a long, illustrious history of high-profile homeowners from the entertainment industry. Lily Tomlin once owned an estate built for an oil tycoon who rented it out to a slew of Hollywood movers and shakers, including Maurice Chevalier and WC Fields. And powerhouse producer Mary Parent’s former home, which she bought from prolific film, television and theater producer John Wells and sold last year for $8.5 million, is rumored to have been rented briefly by Charlie Chaplin before it was acquired in 1920 by Cecil B. DeMille. DeMille already owned the even more grandiose mansion next door, where he lived until his death in 1959 and that was acquired a few years ago for $24.5 million by Angelina Jolie. Some of the other homeowners in the gated enclave include Ellen Pompeo, Natalie Portman, Kristen Stewart and Emma Roberts.
Romantically entangled since last year with English model and social media dynamo Cara Delevingne — they got matching tattoos — and set to star opposite Frank Langella, Bobby Cannavale and Stockard Channing in the upcoming comedy feature “Lapham Rising,” Benson has previously owned at least two other multimillion dollar homes in Los Angeles, one of which was sold at a significant loss. Toward the end of 2012, she plunked down $2.2 million for a celeb-pedigreed French Normandy cottage just above the Sunset Strip — it was previously owned by musician Dave Stewart — that was sold in the spring of 2017 for $2.65 million. And in the fall of 2015, she shelled out $4.15 million for an ersatz European villa in Beverly Hills she quickly flipped back on the market and sold less than a year later for a bit more than $3.8 million, a stomach-churning loss of almost $350,000, not counting carrying costs, improvement expenses and real estate fees.