SELLERS: Debbie Matenopoulos and Jay Faires
LOCATION: Durand Drive, Los Angeles, CA
SIZE: 5,485 square feet, 8 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: Wolf’s Lair–One of Los Angeles’ architectural icons. 3 acre walled & gated castle compound. This is a truly incredible one of a kind property with views of Downtown, Griffith Park Observatory, Catalina Island and the Hollywood Sign. 3.3 acres. 8 bedrooms & 6 bathrooms. Main house built by L. Milton Wolf–Hollywoodland developer. Guest house by architect John Lautner. Heart shaped pool, pool house, cabana & a 1920s speakeasy.
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: The other day Your Mama was perusing through the digital pages of Curbed LA and noticed a wee post about an historic and storied Norman style “castle” located high above Los Angeles’ Beachwood Canyon that has come up for sale with an asking price of $7,500,000. What the posting, surprisingly, did not mention is that the 1920s era compound, called Wolf’s Lair, is currently owned by major music executive Jay Faires and his wife, television talking head Debbie Matenopoulos. The children will recall, of course, that back in 1999 a young Miss Matenopoulos was unceremoniously axed from her seat on that gawd awful gabfest The View. She currently co-hosts E!’s dishy Daily Ten program. It may be a step down, but at least she doesn’t have to deal with big bad Barbara Walters.
The castle compound was originally built in the late 1920s by a man named L. Milton Wolf–hence the name Wolf’s Lair, natch–who was one of the three developers of Hollywoodland, a 1920s upscale housing tract located in the hills at the northern end of Beachwood Canyon. The mammoth metal letters of the famed Hollywood sign were first erected as a rather lurid but very successful advertisement for Mister Wolf’s development. In fact, the sign originally read “Hollywoodland” and was covered with 4,000 flashing electric light bulbs that could be seen all the way from the shores of faraway Long Beach. In 1949, the “land” part was removed from the signature sign and, voilá, a Los Angeles landmark was born.
All reports and discussions about Wolf’s Lair that Your Mama found indicate that Mister Wolf’s fantastical folly includes an exquisitely detailed main house as well as a “secret” apartment located under the 2-bedroom gatehouse/guest house where Mister Wolf famously entertained ladee friends amid a South Seas day-core that is rumored to have included a couch that turned into a bed at the touch of a button…all while wifey slept in the main house just a stone’s throw away. It’s also rumored that one of the turrets was designed to house Mister Wolf’s pet gibbon. A damn gibbon? Pleeze. Only in Hollywood, children.
Listing information (and other reports) for the Durand Drive property reveals that although the exterior of the gatehouse retains it’s castle like qualities, the the interiors were re-worked and designed by fancy and famous modernist architect John Lautner and feature staggering views over the canyons. Listing information also state that the guest house includes a 1920s era “speakeasy,” believed to have been used during Prohibition when all those bizzy body ladees of temperance thought banning booze was a good idea. How wrong and silly they were and please pass Your Mama another gin and tonic. It’s unclear to Your Mama whether this “speakeasy” and Mister’s Wolf’s den of carnal cuckolding are one in the same or if they are two separate spaces. If anyone would like to clear that up for Your Mama we’d be happy to amend our discussion here.
Listing information does reveal that the heart shaped and black bottom pool–there’s a delicious irony there, isn’t there children?–is complimented by a pool house and cabana and altogether there are 6 bedrooms and 8 bathrooms on the property. Other rooms and amenities include 2 fireplaces (one in the living room another in the guest house), a camera enhanced security system, living and dining rooms, den, family room, library/study, office and, of course, a media room.
The property, which sits high above Durand Road is comprised up of multiple lots that total about 3.32 acres with 360 degree views of local Los Angeles landmarks. Property records show that Miz Matenopoulos and Mister Faires purchased their castle-ette in December of 2002. Although we’re not 100% certain, it appears the couple paid $2,900,000 for the kooky, kitchy and kompletely kool hill top compound which sits just a hop, skip and a windy canyon road from Madonna’s former home, Castillo del Lago.
Other famous residents of the house are thought to include Debbie Reynolds, big ol‘ Marlon Brando (back before he was big), Doris Day and Efrem Zimbelist.
YOUR MAMAS UPDATE: Thanks to research queen B.S. Beaverman, the children can view quite a few photos of Wolf’s Lair…although we have no idea if these photos are current or not, so we can’t really blame Miz Matenopoulos for that silly and swoopy sofa in the guest house living room.