The homes lining the streets of the Platinum Triangle, a commonly known moniker for the communities of Beverly Hills, Holmby Hills and Bel-Air, are by far the most impressive, extraordinary estates in the Los Angeles area. The homes are constantly changing as new owners add their unique style or current owners change the look and design of the home to keep up with the latest home trends. Many of these grand homes were first built in the early 1900’s and many have seen multiple renovations, while others have been torn down and built back to be even grander than before. Fortunately, there are a small number of these houses that are still in their original condition, their owners determined to keep the classic, traditional setting that made the home magnificent in the first place. It is these homes that help us see the beauty of the old Hollywood era and the visions of the founding investor in the Platinum Triangle.
One home in particular, The Waverly Estate, has kept its 1920’s charm throughout the last 90 years. Located on the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Hillcrest Road, The Waverly Estate was built in 1923 for the Christie brothers. Al and Charles Christie were pioneers in the filmmaking industry and together they began the Christie Film Company. The brothers purchased their 4-acre lot from the Rodeo Land and Water Company and were given strict building regulations. The minimum they could spend on building their home was $30,000, which was a lot of money during that time.
The Christie brothers were not alone in their success. Al’s wife Shirley, their mother Mary and sister Anne, were also part of the core Christie family. They knew that the home would have to be big enough to accommodate each person, so in the end, the Waverly home was over 12,000 square-feet and contained seven master suites with bedroom, bathroom and sitting rooms for each. The English manor was perfect for entertaining and hosting parties. The Christies worked with architect, Leland Fuller, to ensure the home had everything the family needed such as a large living room, reception room, library, private offices and a large, two-story entryway.
The Christie brothers hit hard times during the depression and lost their studio and their home. Sadly, they sold the Waverly Estate to actor Richard Barthelmess in 1933. Over the years, the Waverly Estate has had ten owners, including shoe manufacturer Harry Karl and talent agent Arthur Lyons. Each of the ten owners have respected the old style of the home and chose not to add or remove anything from the original home. In a rare occurrence, the owners have also chosen not to sell any of the original acreage purchased by the Christie brothers.
The house is still sitting atop the hill on Sunset Boulevard, but can no longer be seen from the road. It is a testimony of the style and grandeur that was loved during the silent film era.