In early 2016 veteran entertainment executive Patrick Moran — the former ABC Studios president signed an overall deal with Amazon Studios last year to develop TV series — shelled out $5.75 million for an undeniably palatial though pitifully neglected neoclassical villa in the high-fallutin’ heart of L.A.’s tony Hancock Park neighborhood that now, after a dazzling and no-doubt extraordinarily costly restoration and update, is back on the market with a princely price of $13.65 million.
Designed by illustrious architect Wallace Neff and built in 1960 for Ralph J. Chandler, shipbuilding magnate nephew of late Los Angeles Times publisher Harry Chandler, the by-any-standard grande dame of a house was inspired by the Claude-Nicolas Ledoux-designed Pavillon de Musique, an 18th-century structure built for Madame du Barry, the pampered last maîtresse-en-titre (official mistress) of Louis VX, on what was then the extravagantly landscaped grounds of the Louis XIV-commissioned Château de Louveciennes, about ten miles outside Paris.
Both sober and lavish, the sumptuously sophisticated, art-filled Hancock Park manse measures in at almost 8,200 square feet with three and potentially four bedrooms serviced by four full and two half bathrooms. Listings held by Amy Davis and Ernie Carswell of Douglas Elliman aptly describe the “meticulously preserved” home as possessing an “innate grandeur” that includes original hand-carved crown moldings, a marble portico and lustrous herringbone pattern wood floors.
Beyond the four sugar-white fluted Doric columns that front the magnificent mansion, newly installed flannel-grey and white checkerboard marble floors extend from the oval-shaped foyer, with its 30-foot ceiling and flamboyantly embellished doorways, in to a long gallery that passes an elegantly curved staircase before it opens to a grand terrace that looks over the swimming pool and across the 9th fairway of the prestigious Wilshire Country Club.
To one side of the foyer, a formal dining room is wrapped in probably hand-painted and fearsomely rechereché wallpaper, and, on the other side, an office with creamy yellow moiré wallpaper includes a private powder room and a wet bar. Sensuously curvaceous, modern and spare furnishings act as a visual counterweight to an intricately carved antique fireplace and elaborate moldings that festoon the ceiling in the ballroom-scaled main salon. Unusually and fantastically tall floor-to-ceiling French doors allow the showy room to spill out to the backyard. Walls in the chef-accommodating kitchen gleam with white tiles that extend all the way to the high ceiling, while the adjoining breakfast room is plenty big enough to comfortably accommodate a comfy lounge area.
Upstairs, two en suite guest bedrooms are joined by a library wrapped in mossy-green wood paneling. A fireplace warms the room, a wet bar means no need to scoot downstairs to refresh cocktails and a wall of glass leads out to a balcony with a verdant view over the golf course. Painted the palest of grey, the main bedroom is a luxuriously sedate, monochromatic space with floor-to-ceiling windows and a floridly carved fireplace that looks like it could have been ripped right out of Versailles. The walk-in closet/dressing room is spacious and lined with lighted wardrobes, and the bathroom is awash in a mausoleum’s worth of thickly veined white marble.
Somewhat surprisingly, the house sits atop a subterranean garage that holds seven cars, while a discreet interior staircase ascends to a vast and as-yet developed roof terrace. At the back of the house, a regally voluminous double-height portico held aloft by eight more fluted Doric columns steps down to a hexagonal swimming pool that is closely bordered by a geometric configuration of tightly planted sculpted boxwoods.
Should the Hancock Park house not be — ahem — authentic enough for architecture snobs and well-to-do Francophiles, the original Pavillon de Musique (and the 14-and-some-acres over which it presides) is also available for purchase, but through Sotheby’s Int’l Realty and with an undisclosed but to-be-sure gag-worthy asking price.
Who knows where Moran may next set his real estate sights, but another dignified mansion in Hancock Park doesn’t seem such a far-fetched guess as he previously owned a stately faux-timbered English Tudor in neighborhood that he scooped up in early 2014 for almost $3.6 million from horror film maestro Rob Zombie and extensively renovated, updated and had photographed for Architectural Digest before it was sold in late 2016 for $7.88 million.