Orson Welles’s Hollywood Home
Los Angeles, CA
Originally constructed in 1921, this Southern Neoclassical style residence is one of the few structures of its kind in Hollywood, as well as the final home of Golden Age radio, screen and stage luminary Orson Welles. Through Welles’s and subsequent dwellers’ occupancies, the structure was deteriorating, subdivided by many small rooms and a large spiral staircase. However, its new owners, a growing family, were passionate about honoring its iconic past. In renovating and restoring the home, we aspired to gain functionality for the owners’ lifestyle without entirely losing the connection to Welles.
The asymmetric main façade, familiar to curious passersby, was retained and restored in homage to Welles’s equally unconventional career; and a new guest gate at the street was located at precisely the right angle to conceal this misalignment. The private western façade was expanded and renovated to include first- and second-story covered porches inspired by the era, while ensuring entertaining possibilities for the modern events frequently hosted by the family.
Significant square footage was added to the second and attic floors, which were rearranged to create a new master suite, bedrooms, studies, a new attic stair, attic rec room, storage and baths that pay homage to the vividly tiled rooms of Welles’s early career. The rear guesthouse, which gained its own fame as the studio where Welles edited his final film, was also rebuilt. A two-car garage now faces the street, complete with a second-story guest suite and an external stair, along with a first-floor pool house with a changing room, lounge and kitchenette.