Film and television tycoon Ryan Murphy has hung a just shy of $18 million price tag on a pristine mansion along one of the more sought after streets south of Sunset Boulevard in the so-called Flats of Beverly Hills. The prolific super-producer, whose first series on Netflix, “The Politician,” premiered this week — a People magazine headline screamed it “Feels Like a ‘Glee’ Episode About Richard Nixon,” purchased the property nine years ago for exactly $10 million from architecture and design savvy showbiz legend Diane Keaton. Originally designed by slightly under-the-radar architect Ralph Flewelling and built in the mid-1920s around a broad, plaza-like courtyard with a fountain at its center, the more than 9,200 square foot Spanish Colonial Revival mansion and poolside guest cottage sit behind a low, white stucco wall and a prickly cactus hedge with a total of seven bedrooms and nine bathrooms.
Well-known for careful restorations and updates of a variety of architecturally significant residences across Los Angeles, Keaton acquired the nearly 100-year old home in early 2007 for $8.1 million and, with the assistance of longtime friend and decorative collaborator Stephen Shadley, transformed the then lackluster home into a photogenic showstopper that delicately balances original and vintage architectural details with the up-to-date creature comforts required of a modern-day multi-millionaire entertainment industry power player. Featured on the cover and fawned over in the glossy pages of Architectural Digest while Keaton owned it, current listing photographs show Murphy has given the house a sophisticated, mostly monochromatic black, white and grey decorative scheme and filled it with a trove of pedigreed furniture and contemporary artworks by the high-priced likes of Ed Mell and Keith Haring.
Wrapped in deep bookshelves under a cathedral ceiling, the voluminous foyer does double duty as a library, an arched brick fireplace set into a massive white stucco chimney serves as the ample formal living room’s focal point and a trio of antique, lantern-style light fixtures hang from a beamed and vaulted exposed wood ceiling in the dining room where three sets of French doors open to a an arched colonnade that encircles the pepper tree shaded central courtyard. Fitted with lightly veined white marble counter tops and an expensive array of designer appliances, the basically all-white is arranged around a huge island and open to a spacious informal dining area and lounge with an arched brick fireplace much like the one in the living room. A cozy den with tile-accented kiva-style fireplace looks out over the driveway and a separate family room at the rear of the house has another arched brick fireplace and rows of arched French doors on opposite walls that open one side to the courtyard and the other to the backyard.
A brightly tiled staircase leads to a wide, second floor loggia paved with original terra-cotta tiles. There’s an exposed wood ceiling overhead and half of a dozen arched French doors open to wrought iron railed Juliet balconies that look into the courtyard. Three guest and family bedrooms, plus an office with corner fireplace, are joined on the upper floor by a spacious and light-filled master suite with yet another arched brick fireplace, a clean-lined bathroom with not just one or two but three pedestal sinks and a custom-fitted walk-in closet/dressing room.
Completely hedged for privacy and strung with numerous strands of overhead lights, the backyard is a fetching, puzzle-like composition of brick and decomposed granite terraces, a meticulously manicured patch of lawn and a tile-accented swimming pool and spa. Beside the pool, the cute-as-a-button guest cottage sits amid a forest of cacti. The property is listed with Kurt Rappaport at Westside Estate Agency.
If he hasn’t already, the six-time Emmy winner and co-creator of the megahit series “American Horror Story” and “Pose,” will presumably decamp the conveniently central Flats of Beverly Hills for another, Spanish Colonial Revival hacienda on a quiet canyon lane in the Brentwood area that he picked up in 2013 for $9 million and has spent the last six years and no-doubt a small fortune on a comprehensive overhaul and expansion. For more than a dozen years, Murphy has also maintained a polished compound in Laguna Beach. The 1.25-acre hillside spread, with two snazzy residences, a swimming pool and panoramic sunset views over the ocean, came for sale in early 2018 at $18.75 million and remains available more than 1.5 years later at $17.75 million.