Fred Armisen has a thing for L.A.’s take on old-world architecture. Since 2016, his main residence has been a 1920s English Tudor in the hills of Los Feliz; that brick-clad home hit the market in October and is now in escrow to be sold, per online listings. And Armisen has wasted no time in upgrading. The “SNL” alum and “Portlandia” creator paid about $4.3 million for a larger Los Feliz house that dates to the same era and was built in the French Normandy architectural style, albeit with some English influences.
Armisen and his partner, actress and musician Riki Lindhome, will no doubt enjoy the tri-level structure’s fancifully atypical floorplan. The main floor offers soaring ceilings and contains all the public rooms — the living and dining rooms, kitchen and den — plus the spacious master bedroom suite, which is tucked away in its own wing and only accessible via the foyer. Upstairs are two guest bedrooms, each with their own private sitting room, and there’s also a basement level with a fourth bedroom, a movie theater and direct access to the property’s two-car garage.
As one might expect, the offbeat property has an interesting and somewhat convoluted history. The house was built over several years in the late 1920s for a woman, which was still somewhat unusual in those days. Original owner Leona P. Wood was the widow of a wealthy businessman and entrepreneur; she was also an artist, one of the area’s leading suffragettes and a founding director of the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. By the time she actually moved into her new Los Feliz digs, she was in her 70s.
Wood wanted a woodsy cabin in the hills, and her heavily timbered hunting lodge was completed circa 1930. The original architect remains a mystery but may have been Paul R. Williams, according to his granddaughter Karen Hudson. Unfortunately, some of Williams’ private records were destroyed during the 1992 L.A. riots, rendering verification impossible.
Eventually the house became home to a Dr. Paul DeGaston, an alleged abortionist who was arrested in the 1930s and tried for abortion-related murder, he also became a decades-long suspect in the Black Dahlia murder case. On a lighter note, the property was owned from 2007-2011 by “Grey’s Anatomy” actor T.R. Knight; he sold the place to producer Lauren Lexton, who in turn sold it to Armisen and Lindhome.
Sited on a third-of-an-acre corner lot, the Griffith Park-area estate features ancient trees that shade the terraced and charmingly overgrown backyard. Inside, other highlights include two enormous staircases, a brick fireplace, original hand-carved doors, leaded casement and diamond-paned windows, unmolested woodwork throughout and an updated kitchen flaunting top-of-the-line Wolf, Sub-Zero and Bertazzoni appliances.