If the walls of this recently sold 1920s Spanish-style villa in Beverly Hills’ sought-after “flats” neighborhood could talk, they would have quite a story to tell—from extravagant evenings spent dancing and partying the night away with the likes of renowned screen legends like Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra to the private dance rehearsals of an Emmy Award-winning leading lady.
Occupying a spacious parcel at 610 N. Arden Drive, the former longtime home of famed South Pacific star Mitzi Gaynor can be found tucked away behind gates along a secluded street just minutes away from Rodeo Drive. A reminder of the Golden Age of Hollywood, the elegant two-story, five bedroom, six and a half bathroom estate (listed for $10.95 million by Lauri Lappin of Lappin Realty Group) just netted a buyer thanks to an extensive mid-century authentic Spanish Colonial restoration and update by O.C.-based real estate development and redevelopment firm American Coastal Properties LLC and Santa Monica-based designer/builder Pacific Cove Development that ensured all of the historical integrity and charm of original William Staunton design remained intact.
“I was attracted to the home by its connection to Old Hollywood,” says ACP Founder Nick Sinatra. “Our goal was to try to bring the house back to how it used to look. We kept it as period as possible, while still having all the amenities of a modern home. It’s our intention to just accentuate the outside areas, but leave the house a historically significant ode to the architect, period and people who lived in it.”
At about 6,173 square feet, the two-story stucco and tile-roofed home is graced with many of Staunton’s signature touches—including gable roofs and soaring wood-beamed ceilings. Adding to the original charm are numerous updates—including a luxurious new detached guest wing, complete with kitchen and laundry and a resort-style pool house with gym, bar, steam shower and sauna, along with a Crestron home automation system.
There’s still much of Gaynor’s distinct flair to be unearthed in the residence. When her husband, Jack Bean, and designer Bud Holden began searching for the couple’s new home in August 1960 (while she was in Greece filming the comedy Surprise Package with Yul Brynner and Noël Coward), Gaynor knew she didn’t want a house that had been “moderned-up” and filled with sliding glass doors and carpeting. “I wanted something more original,” she says. “The house really took my breath away; it was just beautiful, and seemed huge. The walls were a foot-and-a-half thick, and there were so many wonderful original details—arched entryways, Spanish tile. I was in love.”
WRITTEN BY WENDY BOWMAN. PHOTOS COURTESY OF LUKE GIBSON PHOTOGRAPHY.