“Dead to Me” sure gives good real estate! Though set seaside in Orange County’s Laguna Beach, the sophomore series is shot entirely in Los Angeles and showcases the city beautifully. From the picturesque Cape Cod Jen Harding (Christina Applegate) calls home to the modern pad occupied by Steve Wood (James Marsden), each locale featured is prettier than the last. The real star of the latest season, which hit Netflix in May, is the palatial estate belonging to Eileen Wood (Frances Conroy), the mother of Steve and (spoiler if you haven’t yet watched!) his twin brother, Ben (also played by Marsden).
I, of course, got to Googling in the hopes of tracking the place down and quickly came across an article about the set design of Season 2 on the industry website Below the Line. In it, “Dead to Me” set decorator Brandi Kalish states that Eileen’s mansion is “maybe the second oldest house ever to be built in Beverly Hills.” A quick internet search for the city’s most historic homes led me to some online excerpts from powerhouse real estate agent Jeffrey Hyland’s seminal 2008 coffee table tome, “The Legendary Estates of Beverly Hills,” and, sure enough, the Wood residence was listed! Known as Grayhall in real life, thanks to its gray stone exterior, the massive property sits atop a small bluff north of Sunset on Carolyn Way.
There seems to be quite a bit of confusion floating around online regarding the estate’s provenance, but according to a Cultural Heritage Commission Report put together by the City of Beverly Hills Planning Division, as well as Michael Gross’ fastidiously-researched “Unreal Estate: Money, Ambition, and the Lust for Land in Los Angeles,” the manor was built for Harry D. Lombard. The Boston-bred banker purchased the site where Grayhall was erected in 1913, razing a 1909 hunting lodge that stood on the premises in order to make way for the palatial property. Initially dubbed “Shadow Hill,” the sprawling manse, completed in 1916, was designed by architects Sumner P. Hunt and Silas R. Burns in the Tudor Revival/French Provençal style.
Click on the gallery above for more Dirt on the “Dead to Me” mansion.