It isn’t easy to find a traditional-style home from the 1940s with many of its original features intact. But actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt has just the ticket: a home with a view on a large lot atop L.A.’s historic Franklin Hills neighborhood. Furthermore, he’s just listed the home for $3.85 million.
“It’s such a special property—there’s magic to this house,” says listing agent Courtney N. Smith of Compass. “The property is comprised of four and a half lots, with views of the Griffith Park Observatory to the ocean out the front, and in back you have views of the snow-capped San Gabriel Mountains.”
The spectacular views aren’t the only selling point. The main house was originally designed by Arthur Hawes in 1940, then added to and remodeled by Paul Williams in 1949. Williams designed the pool cabana with his-and-her dressing rooms, made a few additions, and remodeled the kitchen wing.
The 3,771-square-foot home has four bedrooms and four baths, most of them featuring original pastel-colored tile. Some of the bathrooms also have built-in dressing tables popular in the ’40s.
“It’s a time capsule house that lives in a modern way, a vintage home that feels contemporary,” says Smith.
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She notes that neighbors who grew up visiting the home tell her not much has changed, including the peg-and-groove floors, the original cabinetry with intricate woodwork, beamed ceilings, and an inglenook fireplace.
That inglenook—with a bar on one side and a built-in bench on the other—is definitely one of the home’s more intriguing features.
Another interesting feature is the kitchen-adjacent breakfast room, with wood-crafted built-ins.
And the wood-paneled office is unlike anything you’ll find these days in any home, be it old or new.
Smith says the home’s U-shaped floor plan means sunlight permeates almost all of the rooms and allows for a central courtyard for entertaining outside.
Most of the mechanical systems, however, will need upgrades, she admits. Even so, she continues, most of the prospective buyers who have looked at the place are interested in restoring it—rather than remodeling it or razing it and starting from scratch.
“It has all the things we Eastsiders love,” she says, referring to L.A. residents who prefer to live in the Los Feliz/Silverlake area. “Peace, provenance, and privacy.”
Smith says the actor’s family recognized the home’s value as soon as they saw it in 2015, and won a highly competitive bidding war. The property was on the market for less than two weeks before Gordon-Levitt paid $3,250,000 for it.
“They’re a lovely family, who truly appreciated this special property,” Smith says of Gordon-Levitt, his wife Tasha McCauley, and their two children.
Gordon-Levitt, 38, played Tommy Solomon in the TV series “3rd Rock From the Sun.” Since then, he has starred in multiple films, among them “(500) Days of Summer,” “The Dark Knight Rises,” and “Don Jon.”