The Laurel Canyon area of Los Angeles is famously steeped like strong tea in music and entertainment industry history. A semi-remote outpost of quiet retreats and hunting cabins in the early 1900s, the area became a woodsy haven for artists, actors and musicians in the mid-to-late 1960s. Counterculture icons like Frank Zappa, Jim Morrison, David Crosby, Jackson Browne, and Linda Ronstadt all took up residence in the hills and dales that rise precipitously on either side of the deep ravine.
Joni Mitchell still owns the secluded cottage where she lived when she wrote and released her seminal 1970 album “Ladies of the Canyon,” and Natalie Wood owned a home that was built in the 1950s by her parents, purchased in the 1960s by Mama Cass Elliot, and rented to Ringo Starr in the late 1970s. Dan Aykroyd owned the house for many years and leased it to a slew of celebs, including Robbie Williams, who claims he had chilling encounter with the ghost of Elliot while staying there. The house is now owned by Beverly D’Angelo.
New to Los Angeles in 2011, musician Josh Tillman, who’d spent a handful of years as the drummer for the Seattle folk rock band Fleet Foxes before he went solo and adopted the much more memorable pseudonym Father John Misty, met photographer Emma Garr at the Laurel Canyon Country Store, the very same bohemian bodega where Elliot once bought her favorite chocolate bars and that Jim Morrison sang about in the Doors’ song “Love Street.”
Garr and Tillman quickly coupled and married in 2013. (The story of their meeting is recounted in the song “I Went to the Store One Day” from his acclaimed 2015 concept album “I Love You, Honeybear,” which showcased his deft skills as a songwriter.) The artsy couple moved to New Orleans before they returned to Los Angeles and, in 2018, shelled out $1.6 million for a rustic bungalow squirreled down a semi-private gated drive at the end of a winding cul-de-sac high above Laurel Canyon. Four years later, on the heels of the release of Misty’s fifth album (“Chloë and the Next 20th Century“), the couple’s charmingly unassuming and idiosyncratically stylish retreat has come up for sale at $2.3 million.
Built in 1952 for muralist Douglas Riseborough, according to listings held by Bryony Atkinson and Lauren Ward at Maisonre, the 1,600-square foot, two-bedroom and two-bath abode is privately nestled into a high ridge-line promontory with head-swimming city and mountain views.
Cleverly placed skylights in the exposed wood ceilings bathe the living room’s custom plastered walls and simple raised-hearth fireplace with natural light, while the simple kitchen’s cozily compact dining area sits beneath a glass ceiling. Originally Riseborough’s art studio, the treehouse-like main bedroom features a curved wall of glass, along with a projector system for watching movies in bed. Other highlights include an irregularly shaped library/study, a pint-sized guest bedroom, and a laundry room updated with high-end designer zellige tiles.
Immensely private, the one-third acre mountaintop idyll offers meandering paths, several tree-shaded areas for al fresco dining and lounging, and a small patch of grass with an old-fashioned line for drying clothes in the breeze. A fenced area with raised bed gardens also includes a vintage claw-footed tub and shower for soaking and bathing surrounded by nothing but nature.
With a growing provenance of notable artistic owners, the property is primed and ready for its next creative occupant who will appreciate the feeling of being a world away while actually being a short if dizzily windy drive from the thumping heart of West Hollywood.