It’s no easy feat to steal focus from the Griffith Observatory, but two homes in the Los Feliz hills manage to do it. One is Frank Lloyd Wright’s Mayan Revival masterpiece, the Ennis House. The other is a melodramatic mansion located about a concrete block’s throw from the Ennis House. Designed by Adolph Frederick Leicht and oft referred to as “The Castle,” the eye-catching residence has just become available, but undoubtedly won’t be for long.
Born to Prussian immigrants in Connecticut in 1863, Leicht began his architectural practice in New York — where his surviving projects include Brooklyn’s historic Gothic Revival Greenwood Baptist Church — but migrated to California following World War I. The classically trained architect’s boldly theatrical design sensibility was in high demand during the heady days of Old Hollywood—between 1922 and 1929, Leicht whipped up more than two dozen grand mansions in Los Feliz, Hancock Park, and the Hollywood Hills.
Completed in 1924, the Castle might be the most over-the-top of Leicht’s houses, replete with rounded and octagonal rooms, Egyptian-inspired geometric pillars, groin-vaulted ceilings, repeating arched passageways, and massive Art Nouveau-style picture windows. The fanciful residence also has a fittingly colorful history. During the 1960s, it was owned by Tom Law and his brother, John Philip Law, an actor best known for his roles in “Barbarella” and “The Golden Voyage of Sinbad.” To assist with expenses, the Laws rented out rooms to fellow artists; among the more notable tenants were Bob Dylan, Andy Warhol, and the Velvet Underground.
Subsequent owners of the 5,582-square-foot home include Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea and oil heir John Gilbert Getty. In 2014, it was purchased by Muna El Futuri for $8.3 million, setting a record for the neighborhood. A Libyan-born artist, translator and photographer, El Futuri is now asking just under $9.9 million for the five-bedroom, seven-bath residence. Included in the purchase is a second parcel of land, bringing the total amount of property to 1.74 acres. Other amenities include a detached garage, music studio, basketball half-court, meandering gardens, and a guest apartment.
Ernie Carswell at Douglas Elliman and Daria Greenbaum and Steve Sawaii of Compass share the listing.