The elegant wrought-iron staircase is unmistakable. Back in 1997, a sultry, silk-clad Kim Basinger sashayed down these very steps in the film-noir classic L.A. Confidential, channeling Veronica Lake, all heaving breaths and cascading blonde locks.
Basinger won an Oscar for her role as actress-turned-high-class-call-girl Lynn Bracken. Much of the movie was shot at this 1920s Spanish Colonial compound in Los Angeles’s tony Hancock Park, making it a must-see drive-by for every Hollywood movie location bus tour.
Even without the L.A. Confidential connection, this stunning estate, known as Casa Cubana, is a Hollywood legend. Designed in 1923 by silent movie-actor-turned-architect Jack Donovan—his screen credits include Kazan the Wonder Dog—the home was featured that year in the august pages of Architectural Digest.
When it came on the market in late 2018—for the first time in 67 years—it was snapped up by the design-developer duo of Frances Hoge and Allison Meyerson for $3.5 million. They’ve spent the past two years bringing the historical landmark back to life.
Now listed for $7.495 million, the nearly half-acre spread, nestled alongside the fairways of the century-old Wilshire Country Club, combines Old Hollywood glamour with modern-day style and convenience.
The original, hand-carved wooden front door opens straight into the home’s spectacular two-story great room, the setting for so many of those seductive L.A. Confidential scenes. Seems director Curtis Hanson insisted on using real locations rather than studio sets, so that gorgeous staircase and elegant fireplace make regular appearances.
This light-flooded room still features Jack Donovan’s original towering arched windows, iron lanterns, rounded coved ceilings and hand-textured stucco, all lovingly restored.
The ornate, black-finished staircase leads up to a mezzanine floor and a doorway to three bedrooms, including the spacious master. Underneath is an arched opening leading to the elegant, more formal dining room.
The home is truly an entertainer’s dream, with endless arched, metal-frame French doors leading out on to a multitude of terraces, patios and manicured lawns. In a setting straight out of Napa Valley or the South of France, a long, rustic wooden table with seating for 16 sits beneath gnarled, ancient trees for that perfect al fresco lunch or candle-lit dinner.
Much of the home’s update focused on the open-plan kitchen, with its new, professional-grade appliances and huge marble-topped island. Steps away, there’s a well-equipped service kitchen and bar for when caterers come to the rescue.
Upstairs, the expansive master bedroom features more arched glass doors leading out on to small balconies with expansive views of the golf course. Major updates here include an expanded bathroom and a walk-in closet with modern storage.
While there are three bedrooms and four bathrooms in the main house, when guests visit there’s a detached two-bedroom, two-story cottage next to the pool and spa. With its own, fully-modernized kitchen and bathroom and secluded rooftop sun deck, it makes the perfect Hollywood-style hideaway.
And to keep guests amused, in addition to the pool, the grounds feature their own bocce court and two-hole putting green shaded by towering trees. For more serious putters, the 18-hole Norman Macbeth-designed Wilshire Country Club course is right there on the other side of the hedge.
“This really is a Hollywood legend reborn, a landmark property lovingly re-imagined,” says Diana Knox, who shares the listing with Jake Valente and Aaron Kirman, of Aaron Kirman Group at Compass.
Just make sure L.A. Confidential is cued up on Netflix when guests want to see that famous staircase on the silver screen.