MIDCENTURY PORN: Trousdale Estates in Beverly Hills

It’s hard to imagine, but Beverly Hills was once ranch and farmland. One such parcel was the 410 acre Doheny Ranch—owned by an oil tycoon named Edward Doheny. At the center of the ranch was a manor house built for his son, which they named Greystone--now owned by the City and still the largest home in Beverly Hills.

In 1954, a man named Paul Trousdale purchased the property and convinced the Beverly Hills City Council to call the neighborhood Trousdale Estates.

Trousdale then proceed to subdivide the ranch into 532 and renowned architects such as Wallace Neff, Paul R. Williams, A. Quincy Jones, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Harold Levitt began designing homes that fit to what we now call midcentury design. They were modern, technologically advanced, and relied on simplicity, rather than ornamentation—an unrestrained extravagance. Other homes were designed in the French Regency-style which was also popular in Beverly Hills during the 50s and 60s. Celebrity residents have included the likes of Elvis Presley, Groucho Marks, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Tony Curtis, and Richard Nixon (prior to becoming President).

During the 1970s, 80s and even into the 90s, midcentury design (and French Regency-style) became quite out of fashion, and many of the homes of Trousdale Estates were “mcMansion-ised”—destroying the early classic designs. Others withered in disrepair as home values plummeted and owners under appreciated the classic designs. In 1987 the Trousdale Estates Homeowners Association, a non-profit organization, and the City of Beverly Hills implemented the Trousdale Ordinance to preserve the neighborhood.

The neighborhood has been going through a renaissaince over the last decade, with the mostly single-story homes becoming de riguier once again. With Jennifer Aniston, Ellen DeGeneres, Courteney Cox, Simon Cowell, and many other celebrities buying and selling in the neighborhood and prices climbing from $5 million to $30 million+ for properties once considered “teardowns.”

 

A. Quincy Jones designed Model Home for Trousdale Estates

Groucho Marx' house


Elvis at his Trousdale Estates House

Elvis' house today

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