It’s hard to think of another building as steeped in Hollywood glamour, legend, and lore as the Chateau Marmont. But directly across the street from the fabled hotel, and set to hit the market on February 7, is a residence that’s got a few good tales of its own to tell.
According to Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety permits, the home was constructed in 1926, three years before the Chateau opened for business. Its architect was Harry A. Lincoln, who designed a number of apartment buildings and hotels in Los Angeles during the 1920s, mostly in the Spanish Colonial Revival vernacular.
This house was also done in Lincoln’s signature Spanish Colonial style, and still retains many features from when it was first built, such as an octagonal solarium, a living room with an exposed-wood truss ceiling enhanced by carved corbels, a wood-burning fireplace, quarter-sawn oak and brick flooring, casement windows, wrought iron hardware and accents, and colorful ceramic tile. Mixed in with the original details are later-era elements added by its eccentric longtime owners, Cleo Baldon and Ib Melchior.
A native of Copenhagen, Mr. Melchior served in the U.S. Army’s Counterintelligence Corps. during World War II, and participated in the liberation of Flossenbürg concentration camp and the capture of a Nazi Werwolf unit, for which he was awarded a Bronze Star. Melchior was also a novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter, producer, and director of science fiction films.
As for Ms. Baldon, in addition to being a furniture designer, interior decorator, and landscape architect, she is credited with inventing and popularizing a modern version of the lap pools of ancient Greece and Rome. In 1997, Baldon and Melchior collaborated on a coffee table book for Rizzoli, “Reflections on the Pool: California Designs For Swimming.” Unsurprisingly, Baldon designed a lap pool for her and her husband’s residence, along with built-in benches, a fountain, a pond, pergola, a courtyard, stone pathways, and a conservatory above the garage.
The couple resided in the West Hollywood residence for over half a century, with Baldon passing away in 2014 and her husband following five months later, aged 97. The home was put up for sale in 2020, by which time it had become, as its listing description put it, “a significant fixer.“
Enter New York-based artists Rob Pruitt and Jonathan Horowitz. In addition to producing paintings, sculptures, and conceptual art pieces that have been exhibited nationally and internationally, the longtime couple has purchased and refurbished numerous houses in the Catskills, Montauk, Oyster Bay, Palm Springs, and elsewhere. The duo’s respectful revamp of the Marmont Lane residence included selective reconfiguration — previously a five-bedroom, it’s now a three-bedroom, three-bath with an enclosed sleeping porch and “tropical hot tub room” — and extended to updates of the kitchen, electrical, plumbing, HVAC systems, and roof.
Repped by The Agency’s Billy Rose, the spruced-up property, which has a two-car garage and off-street parking for two additional cars, is being offered with a list price of $3.25 million. Along with a front-row seat to the comings, goings, and intrigues at the eternally hip hotel, this additional enticement is dangled by the listing: “Homes proximate to the Chateau have been known to benefit by room service from, and access to, the pool, restaurant, and bar at the Chateau – the best club in town you can’t otherwise join.”