Though frequently referred to as “The Architect to the Stars” thanks to the elegant mansions he produced for Cary Grant, Barbara Stanwyck, Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball, Tyrone Power and other Hollywood royalty, the gifted and versatile Paul R. Williams also invested a great deal of thought and effort toward designing housing for working and middle-class Americans.
With his first book, “The Small Home of Tomorrow,” published in 1945, Williams provided 40 sketches and floor plans for designs that could meet the needs of homebuilders and buyers of the post-war period. In the mid-1950s, he undertook an assignment to design a community of single-family residences for African Americans in heavily segregated Las Vegas. And in the late 1950s, Williams drew up the plans for SeaView, a housing tract in Rancho Palos Verdes targeted particularly toward military veterans.
For the development’s 190 homes, built by the Linde Construction Company in 1960, the architect delivered eight designs that could be flipped to create 16 possible floor plans. The homes ranged in size from a three-bedroom, two-bath to a four-bedroom, 2.5 bath, and in price from $34,000 to $43,700. All were set on generous lots and, as promised by the development’s name, all enjoyed outstanding ocean vistas.
Newly listed for sale is one of the largest homes in the SeaView tract, a “Monte Carlo” model. Measuring 2,509 square feet, it’s divided into two wings, one containing four bedrooms and two baths, the other holding the living room, a formal dining room, a kitchen with breakfast nook, one half-bath, and a service porch.
The 63-year-old residence has held on to a great many of its original features and finishes, including fluted-glass panels at its front entry, a floor-to-ceiling fireplace clad in Palos Verdes stone, concealed Japanese-inspired shoji screens that slide out from the wall to divide the living room from the dining room if desired. In the kitchen, newly refinished cabinetry and Formica countertops complement a 1959 O’Keefe & Merritt double wall oven and countertop range. Most of the newer elements, such as black slate and Marmoleum flooring and a latticework room divider in the foyer, are either faithful reproductions of original features or in keeping with their general style.
Additional features of note include built-in furniture, glass sliders, a detached two-car garage, and a sizable lot spanning nearly half an acre.
Last sold in 2005 for $800,000, the pedigreed time capsule is now on the market with an asking price of $2.2 million. Gloria Commiso of Compass represents the listing.