A unique opportunity to explore and present the rare grandeur of a restored Tudor Revival
House in Hancock Park, and its story which began over a century ago.
SHOWN HERE: Current photos of the exterior | BELOW: Find archival photos, pre-restoration site & floor plans, and video presentations of the house interior as it is today.
The inaugural Historic Havens post presented a very important house in Hancock Park 365 South Hudson Avenue
. What wasn’t (initially) mentioned in that post was that it has a “sister” house — figuratively AND literally speaking — at 101 North Hudson Avenue, pictured above. While it had been on my radar for some time, as the subject for a future post, I likely would have waited a bit longer had it not been for the fortuitous “For Sale” listing of 101 North Hudson Avenue that popped up, just a few weeks ago (listed, January 3, 2023).
Origin Story: 101 N Hudson Ave
QUOTING FROM THE POST for 365 South Hudson Ave: “…Socialite Marion Kerckhoff Holmes hired architect Jonathan Ring to design her house in the “English Style”, and he certainly delivered. The design is beautiful…the facade is a great lesson in Tudor design: several front facing gables, mixed materials…Simply a tour du force.”
While Marion was planning her home, her sister, Gertrude — along with Gertude’s husband, Gerald Young — hired Roland E. Coate to design their house located just a few blocks to the north. Coate is a better-known architect today than is Ring, designer of 365 South. Coate was given a budget of $100,000 — in 1928. This was a big number at the time, but I suspect that much more money was ultimately spent.
The Kerckhoff sisters, Marion and Gertrude, were Los Angeles “aristocrats” of the early 20th Century, having grown up in a Tudor Mansion in the West Adams district, owned by their wealthy father who was a business tycoon and philanthropist. This shared childhood experience likely explains the similar style choice for their new homes, in part, anyway.
LEFT: The Tudor Mansion in the West Adams District where the Kerckhoff sisters grew up RIGHT: A caricature of William G. Kerckhoff from 1905 by Los Angeles Times illustrator — and noted painter— Arthur Burnside Dodge which suggests that he was a lumberman. In reality, Kerckhoff’s businesses spanned oil, utilities, real estate, and railroads, among others. He was also a generous philanthropist.
By the time Mrs. Gertrude Kerckhoff Young hired Mr. Coate, he was already well known for having built numerous homes in Pasadena, Beverly Hills, and Hancock Park. Roland Eli Coate was born in Richmond, Indiana in 1890. He graduated from the prestigious Cornell School of Architecture in 1914. Coate then worked in NYC for the firm Trowbridge and Ackerman, but after he U.S. entered WWI, he took a leave to join the troops and fight. After the war, Coate married and made his journey to California (around 1920) with a job waiting for him at another high-end firm — the Pasadena office of Reginald D. Johnson
. Coate quickly established his reputation for designing in the Andalusian style — defined by the Roman and Islamic legacy in, what is now, Spain — which was very much in-vogue during the early 1920’s. He quickly rose to partnership with Johnson, who then renamed the firm, to also include (the even more famous) Gordon Kaufmann, who designed Greystone in Beverly Hills for the oil-rich Ned Doheny. Johnson, Kaufmann, and Coate remained active 1921-1924. Coate was on his own again by the mid 1920’s, adept at working in any vernacular required by clients, and by the late 1920s, tastes were moving towards a broader vocabulary.
ROLAND E. COATE: “ARCHITECT TO THE STARS”
Although you may not know the name, odds are good you’ve seen his work. Known as the architect to the stars (a moniker that was generously assigned to other architects, as well), Roland E. Coate designed homes for such Hollywood icons as Gary Cooper, Bogart and Bacall, and Paul Newman, as well as business magnate Howard Hughes. Fashion icon Tom Ford has owned a Coate home.
Structure and Space 101
THE HOUSE THAT MR. AND MRS. YOUNG BUILT at 101 N Hudson Ave began with the purchase of two parcels, and a third smaller strip at the corner of 1st Street, in the prime center of Hancock Park. This purchase cobbled together a roughly 210’ x 200’ lot amounting to approximately 42,000 Sqft — almost a full acre and extremely large for the area.
The site and floor plans for 101 N Hudson Ave, prior to the restoration portrayed below.
The house itself is U-shaped and is roughly 120’ wide and 80’ deep at its maximum. The original floor plan is very spacious and functional. One enters the house through the prominent front-facing gable. The recessed entry with oriel window above is a common Tudor style configuration. The Entry Foyer runs front to back, with two Powder Rooms for guests. To the left is the huge, elaborately paneled Living Room measuring 36’ x 22’ with a fireplace. Behind the Living Room is a stone-clad Sun Room measuring 21’ x 18’, forming one leg of the U shape. To the right of the Foyer: a long gallery accessing the Formal Dining Room of 24’ x 19’ with a large bay window overlooking the rear terrace; the beautifully-detailed Library measuring 16’ x 14’ with fireplace overlooking the front yard; the Kitchen, Butler’s Pantry, Breakfast Room, Staff Room with adjacent bathroom, Service Porch, and back stairs.
The huge three-car car garage with garden storage and service bath sits behind this wing — attached to the house, unusual for Hancock Park houses of this time. The garage wing forms the other leg of the U shape. Upstairs, five bedrooms are served by four bathrooms, and a Sitting Room. There are additional spaces and servant’s rooms sharing a bathroom. Over the garage is a large playroom, and what was likely a chauffeur’s bedroom and bath. Tudor Revival houses are not necessarily about innovation, but all about execution and detail. Some of the standout features in 101 North are the carved paneling, doors, and ceiling details. The exterior is clad in Stone and brick, with numerous elaborately carved chimneys — all high-Tudor in concept. Because 101 North sits on a corner, there really are 2 fronts, and the gable facing 1st Street has a very unusual decorative sun dial.
The house has always had a tennis court, built for Mr. Young who was the first champion of the L.A. Junior Tennis Tournament in 1903, and served as president of the Southern California Tennis Association from 1932–1954. The overall garden plan was designed by A.E. Hanson, a well-known landscape architect of the time, designed the gardens at the Getty House
, an earlier Tudor home that now serves as the L.A. Mayoral residence in Windsor Square.
An Impressive, Enviable Restoration
AS MENTIONED AT THE TOP, 101 has hit the market once again, after a massive restoration brought this 94 year-old house into the 21st century. Listed with The Altman Brothers of Douglas Elliman,
you can own this irreplaceable, yet fully-modernized masterpiece for the tidy sum of $25,995,000. Few houses at this price point are truly a one-of-a-kind. “They just don’t make them like they used to,” goes the saying, and it is so true in this case. The combination of architectural provenance, 1920’s craftsmanship, pure grandeur and every modern amenity, make this a unique opportunity for the right buyer.
ON LOCATION at 101 N Hudson Ave: Historic Havens writer/producer David Lubell, with co-listing agent, Matt Altman
We don’t want Historic Havens to be a real estate sales platform. While Craig & David Homes has absolutely no stake in the eventual sale of 101 N Hudson Ave, I would be remiss if I did not enthusiastically state that this property is very special! And, I must confess my envy of its next owner. In a stroke of good fortune for this blog, I spent two hours of a recent afternoon touring the property, inside and out, which allowed me to absorb the magnificence of this estate. I was able to chat in some detail with co-listing agent Matt Altman, of Million Dollar Listing L.A.
fame, and had an even longer conversation with a member of the restoration team who happened to be present, about the painstaking process of revitalizing the house.
I’m always nervous when great examples of vintage architecture are “renovated.” I have sold many houses to clients who have loved the vintage style of a house, and sadly, little by little they strip away all of the character. Dings, cracks, and other imperfections are a part of what makes an old house special. I understand that houses need to be modernized and made useful for today’s way of living. The huge number of choices on a project of this scale is really overwhelming for most people. Questions of what to keep, what to change, and how to execute it, are all quite tricky. That said, the restoration of 101 N Hudson found the right balance. Would I have made a few different choices here and there? Sure. But, in no way does that detract from the respect and awe that I have for what has been achieved here.
The team of MR Design and Mark Stevens Construction clearly knew what they were doing with this renovation, recognizing the aforementioned challenges. They understood and appreciated that this is not just a house, but an L.A. monument of sorts. The exterior of this home — along with many others in this area — is protected by the Hancock Park — Windsor Square Historic Preservation Overlay Zone (HPOZ)
, so very little alteration is even possible.
MORE ON HISTORIC PRESERVATION
Despite its failings, I steadfastly believe that the HPOZ program has saved Hancock Park from a terrible fate of tear downs and ill-conceived remodels.
Attention to Detail
The exterior of this house is “museum quality.” As I toured 101 N Hudson, I was reminded of past visits I have made to great Tudor Revival house museums — Meadowbrook Hall in Rochester, MI
(the Mathilda Dodge estate, finished in 1929, now on the campus of Oakland University just north of Detroit, MI), and Stan Hywet Hall, in Akron, OH
(the former home of F.A. Seiberling, founder of Goodyear Tire & Rubber, finished in 1915). Other than the kitchen and bathrooms at 101 N Hudson — which, of course, needed to be modernized (vs. restored to their original 1920s style), the feel was quite similar. 101 N Hudson, despite being smaller than these two historic homes (Meadowbrook = 88,000 SqFt, Stan Hywet = 64,500 SqFt), is just as formidable; a remarkable example of the Tudor Revival.
I fancy myself an amateur architectural historian with a focus on Tudor Revival, so I think I have an eye for the details. Hallmarks of a great Tudor are woodwork and paneling — and 101 N Hudson is replete with amazing carving, inside and out. The exterior is exceptionally presented, with restored bargeboards of epic size (bargeboards are the fascia boards that decorate the gable ends of a house). In addition, the architect Roland Coate made creative use of stone, brick, stucco, and half-timbering. Photos simply can’t do justice to the overall impression of grandeur this house makes when experienced up close and in-person. I was surprised and overjoyed (that’s the house-geek talking!) that even the garage, on the service side of the house is not overlooked, with plentiful clever — and tasteful — wood carved detail.
Tudor houses have a reputation for being dark — dark wood, smaller windows, etc. — and a general “heaviness.” This house dispels that idea. I think Coate understood that working within the Tudor style, in Los Angeles, presented a specific challenge. He needed to stay true to the style, and yet satisfy the Angeleno love of sunshine. The woodwork and paneling remain dark, but the overall palette of the house is bright and sunny. More of the amazing details include: original plaster moulding, an epic quantity of casement windows, seamless hidden doors, stunning fireplace mantels, a silverware safe off the Dining Room (never seen that before), a larger walk-in safe in the basement, and a massive graduated slate roof punctuated with two elaborate chimney stacks.
The updating required no significant changes to the extant footprint. The original breakfast room and servant’s hall have been combined to create an informal Family Room, ideally located off the new kitchen and breakfast area — which, itself, opens to the rear terrace. The Kitchen has been completely remodeled, and like everything else, it just exudes high quality. It also represents the most significant change to the first floor, other than the inclusion of a new elevator that runs to the second floor, and to the amazing third floor/finished attic as well. The attic is well-conceived with high quality finishes, and accessible from the original attic staircase, a newly-added staircase, and of course the aforementioned new elevator. Included in the attic is a fantastic tiered-movie theater, playroom, workout room, spa area, and full bath. Typically, you would see these features in the basement, but in this house, that notion is turned (literally) upside down — and I love it! Rather than being underground, you are up in the sky, with abundant natural light.
The materials for working in the Tudor style are particularly expensive. Working with stone, brick, slate, stucco, half-timbering, leaded glass, carved wood, and molded plaster require craftsmanship of a very high order, a type of workmanship that is almost a lost art. The restoration, here, succeeds magnificently. Add to this, the full acre parcel in the heart of the city and you have a recipe for a record-breaking sale price, even in a real estate market downturn. Sure, 101 N Hudson Avenue calls will require a buyer with very deep pockets, but it is my hope that this person(s) also realizes — and truly appreciates — the irreplaceability of this historic haven.