The New York Times recently ran a piece on the home of the legendary producer and former head of Paramount Studios Robert Evans. The home, named Woodland, was built by architect and Atlanta native John Woolf. Woolf was born in Atlanta shortly before World War I and obtained his bachelor’s degree in architecture from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1929. He later traveled to California hoping to get a role in David O. Selznick’s Gone with the Wind in 1936. Although he didn’t get the part, he did design the homes of many of Hollywood’s elite such as Cary Grant, Mae West, John Wayne and even David O. Selznick.
Woolf’s big break came when he captured the eye of interior design James Pendleton and his wife Mary Frances, who were the original homeowners of Woodland. The Pendletons wanted John to capture the essence of the gardens of Versailles for their Beverly Hills home. Woolf looked to the neoclassical and Regency periods for his inspiration when designing the home. With his mansard roofs, pullman doors and oval windows, he helped to create an architectural era in Hollywood known as Hollywood Regency. According to the New York Times, John Woolf and his partner Robert Woolf “established a new vocabulary for glamorous movie-star living; they synthesized 19th-century French, Greek Revival and Modernist touches into a heady mixture that has since been christened Hollywood Regency, which foreshadowed aspects of postmodernism.”
Architectural Digest’s former editor Paige Rense Noland, who covered some of Woolf’s later projects wrote that, “They did their own version of Régence. In the 60’s and into the 70’s, there was a fear of Modern and contemporary architecture.” She continued “Their traditional twist was very reassuring. It was a certification of taste to have a Woolf house.”
Take a look at some of John Woolf’s Hollywood Regency styled homes below.
What do you think?