John Wells, the executive producer and/or creator behind a host of mega-hit television series (“ER,” “The West Wing,” “Shameless,” “Animal Kingdom”) and an avid real estate investor, is looking to flip out of an elegant Hancock Park mansion he bought just last January. Sited mid-block on a prime street and partially obscured behind manicured hedges, two massive Italian cypresses, and two fantastically gnarled olive trees, the 5,300-square-foot house is saddled with a nearly $7.9 million pricetag, a profit-assuring amount over the $7 million paid by the Hollywood veteran last year.
Built in 1927 and described in listings held by Brett Lawyer of Hilton & Hyland as “French Mediterranean” and “reminiscent of the French countryside,” the two-story villa would indeed not look out of place in the hills along the Côte d’Azur or in Alfred Hitchcock’s “To Catch a Thief.” The tile-roofed structure packs four bedrooms and five bathrooms into its classically elegant bones, which are amplified by gorgeous formal gardens. Inside, however, things are far more contemporary than old-world, thanks to renovations performed by the prior owners — architect William Hefner and his late wife, Tokyo-born interior designer Kazuko Hoshino.
A quick comparison of photos from then and now reveals Wells has changed little about the Hoshino-designed interiors, save for a few splashes of paint in many rooms and a swap-out of some light fixtures. The decorative result, while decidedly restrained, manages to walk the fine line between formal and casual, nicely blending clean lines and subtle flourishes.