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  • Writer's pictureNatalija Ugrina

Weird Houses of Los Angeles - The Ultimate Unusual Travel Guide

Updated: Nov 7, 2023

Today I am going to present you with the ultimate guide to the weirdest houses of LA! I am not much of an “intro” girl, so let’s get right to it.

1. Dr Dolittle's house

The first one on the list is probably one of my favorites and the one that I passed by so many times - “Dr Dolittle's house” aka Beverly Hills Children Zoo! Located on Doheny Drive. I’ve heard some rumors that it will be “closing” soon so. make sure to visit it before it’s gonna. Even though it has nothing to do with Dr Dolittle, this is how I imagined his real house would be. The patio is full of the statues of various animals and it’s really one of the most interesting houses you will ever see.

Location: 127 N Doheny Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90211, United States

2. The Witch's House aka Spadena House

Spadena house looks like the house from Hansel and Gretel fairy tale and no matter how many times I’ve been to see it, it’s always like going to Disneyland to me.

If the house seems familiar to you, you’ve probably seen it in movie “Clueless”.

But let’s talk more about the history of the house. The house was designed by Hollywood art director Harry Oliver, who went on to play a major role in Storybook architecture. It was originally built in 1921 to serve as the offices and dressing rooms for Irvin Willat's film studio in Culver City. When the studio closed, the Spadena family moved the home to its current location in Beverly Hills, where it has been since 1926 . In 1997, the house needed a lot of renovation, so it was put up for a sale. After most buyers wanted to tear it down, which seller didn’t allow, the realtor Michael Libow who was selling it, fell under the spell of the house and decided to buy it himself. He has been living there ever since.

Location: 516 N. Walden Drive, Beverly Hills, California, 90210, United States

3. The Shell House

When looking into the weirdest houses of LA, there is one you can’t miss and you've probably seen it a tons of time in the movies and tv shows - The Shell house. Fans of "Beverly Hills, 90210" may recall seeing the house in the first season episode "The First Time." It also had a fleeting appearance in the 1983 movie "Breathless," starring Richard Gere.

It’s located just north of Santa Monica Boulevard but the most interesting part is not the front of the house, but rather the guesthouse, which is located in the back. The official name is The O'Neill House but I like the call it the “Shell House”.

This is definitely one of the more unique structures in Beverly Hills. This house, which has a striking resemblance to Antonio Gaudi, was constructed in the 1980s by Don O'Neill, owner of an art deco shop.

After seeing how well their guesthouse turned out, Don and his wife Sandy

made a decision to reconstruct the main portion of the house in the same design as the guesthouse. Sadly, he died before the project was complete, but his wife Sandy was able to finish the full house to his original design specifications in 1988.

As per the book“Los Angeles Attractions, the house has five bedrooms, six baths, a library, pool and maid’s quarters.

One more interesting detail - every room was built in round or oval shape.

Location: 507 N. Rodeo Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90210

4. Gehry's Residence

It wouldn’t be fare not to include a famous architect’s residence so I drove all the way to Santa Monica to see Frank Gehry’s interesting residence. In 1978 Frank Gehry built his first Santa Monica House after surveying a gambrel-roofed Dutch Colonial bungalow.

To describe the hose in his words: “I loved the idea of leaving the house intact… I came up with the idea of building the new house around it. We were told there were ghosts in the house… I decided they were ghosts of Cubism. The windows… I wanted to make them look like they were crawling out of this thing. At night, because this glass is tipped it mirrors the light in… So when you’re sitting at this table you see all these cars going by, you see the moon in the wrong place… the moon is over there but it reflects here… and you think it’s up there and you don’t know where the hell you are…

– Frank Gehry”

Architectural historians and critics described the project as a house trapped within a foreign body or dressed up. Gehry covered the house in layers of frugal , unfinished materials like corrugated metal and chain-link, reflecting his at-the-time somewhat constrained resources.

Gehry accepted the task of demonstrating that anything can be turned into art, even chain-link.

Location: 1002 22nd St, Santa Monica, CA 90403-4518, United States

5. The Mosaic Tile House

While in the area, let’s see another very interesting house, the mosaic tile house.

This vibrant house is the creation of married artists Cheri Pann and Gonzalo Duran, who made changes to their beachfront property. Small elements dotted around the interior and outdoor spaces show how their work mirrors the love from which it is born, from photos of the two together to dinnerware they've collected from yard sales and shattered into pieces.

What might catch your eye is a black fridge filled with dolls that Pann has referred to as the "dark half of her mind," as well as a fruit tree and vegetable garden blended into the tiling landscaping.

So if you ever find yourself in Venice, drive about a mile to the east and you will find yourself in front of the Mosaic Tile House.

Location: 1116 Palms Blvd, Los Angeles, California, 90291, United States

6. The Hobbit House

Not too far from the previous houses , you will find another storybook house - The Hobbit House.

Joseph Lawrence, a Disney artist, constructed this house over the course of 24 years, from 1946 to 1970. The property consists of a number of round-roofed cottages with unusually shaped leaded glass windows, a rough-hewn cupola, and uneven roof tiles. It is affectionately known as The Hobbit House, and like many others, it has been turned into apartments.

The Culver City Hobbit Home has a distinguished place in Hollywood history, known for housing actor Nick Nolte, broadway actress Gwen Verdon and Frank Sinatra Jr kidnapper Joseph Amsler over the years.

According Los Angeles Conservancy’s page, on the landmarked complex, “Joseph redesigned an existing single-family residence and added two two-story buildings with multiple units. An expert carpenter and sailor, he also created nautically themed interiors for the three buildings.”

Location: 3819 Dunn Dr, Culver City, CA 90232, United States

When visiting these houses, please, keep in mind that they are private residences and most don't offer tours, so be respectful :)

I am curious, so please comment below, in which one would you live in?

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