(This story first appeared in an April 2020 issue of Variety.)
Academy Award-winning fantasy filmmaker Guillermo del Toro (“The Shape of Water,” “The Devil’s Backbone,” “Pan’s Labyrinth”) is expanding his notorious Bleak House residence into a collection of several properties, it would appear. The Mexico native has long owned two perfectly ordinary — if pricey — suburban houses in Westlake Village, but his latest buys have been much closer to L.A.’s heart. Since the beginning of 2019, the horror film auteur has acquired three additional SoCal homes, one in the seaside city of Santa Monica and two closer to mid-city Los Angeles, not far from downtown Hollywood.
The most expensive property, and del Toro’s most recent purchase, is a $4.5 million home in Santa Monica. Tucked in mid-block on a particularly charming, tree-lined street, the neoclassical Gothic Tudor was actually built only in 1984, though its architectural flair harks back to the pre-war era. Soaring, castle-like turrets and rich hardwood defines the interiors, which are filled with chunky exposed beams and glossy floors.
Within the 5,600-square-foot home’s hand-carved front door is a modern kitchen with a center island and stainless appliances, a fireplace-equipped living room, and formal dining room. Upstairs is a center skylight with intricate wrought iron detailing and leaded glass. The master suite offers a vaulted ceiling, a spa-style bath with a built-in soaking tub, and spacious walk-in closet, plus lovely views over the property’s gardens. The .2-acre lot also features a very private backyard completely enveloped on all sides by towering hedges, and tucked into the property’s rear is a newer built, dark-bottomed saltwater swimming pool.