There’s nothing like a butterfly roof to set my midcentury-loving heart aflutter! So, naturally, I have long been obsessed with the Hollywood Riviera, a striking MCM building that cuts a distinct silhouette across West Hollywood’s Center City neighborhood. I first discovered the oft-filmed structure back in 2013 while on the hunt for then-unidentified locations from Steve Martin’s 1991 love letter to Los Angeles, “L.A. Story.” At the top of my to-find list was the apartment complex where Sara McDowel (Victoria Tennant), the romantic interest of Martin’s wacky Harris K. Telemacher character, lived. With an inkling that the building was likely located close to the WeHo pad used as Telemacher’s in the beloved film, I did a Google search for “butterfly roof” and “West Hollywood” which kicked back a link to an article about the Hollywood Riviera at 1400 North Hayworth Avenue with photos that showed Sara’s building in all of its MidMod glory.
In real life, the Hollywood Riviera houses condominiums, one of which, Unit 39, is currently for sale! Listed by Michael Collins and Allie Riley, agents affiliated with the Beverly Hills Coldwell Banker Realty office, the 2-bedroom, 2-bath looker is being offered for $849,000. The roomy domicile is one of only two spaces in the building to boast two levels. The other? Unit 38, aka Sara’s “L.A. Story” home!
As the listing states, “This stunning 1954 midcentury masterpiece offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own the apex of the Hollywood Riviera, one of West Hollywood’s most iconic and architecturally significant condo properties.” Not to mention one of the city’s most popular filming locales!
The Hollywood Riviera was designed by celebrated architect and onetime architectural advisor to President Dwight D. Eisenhower Edward H. Fickett. During his White House tenure, the prolific Fickett, who “Better Homes & Gardens” dubbed the “Frank Lloyd Wright of the ‘50s,” wrote the Minimum Property Requirements of the Federal Housing Administration, which is still in use today! With over 60,000 properties to his name (not to mention several historic-cultural monuments), it is no wonder the Los Angeles Conservancy noted, “Many homeowners don’t even know they live in a Fickett house.”
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