Built in 1928, at the height of Hollywood’s Golden Age, this Los Feliz Spanish-style house at 2219 Ben Lomond Drive was one of the first on the hill overlooking the Hollywood basin. It has panoramic city light views spanning from downtown Los Angeles to Century City. On clear days, you can see the glittering ocean all the way to Palos Verdes.
If these walls could talk, this 2,672-square-foot house would have countless stories to tell. Over the past 60 years, owners Jan and Frank Seward hosted many gatherings with notable visual artists, writers, filmmakers, photographers, musicians, and dancers. A few guests include sitarist Ravi Shankar, Indian dancer Balasaraswati, George Harrison and the Beatles, modernist designers Charles and Ray Eames, Beat poet Allen Ginsberg, and modernist architect Richard Neutra.
The energy in the house from all the concerts, dance performances, art-making, group sing parties, meditation sessions, and other activities still can be felt, Markus says. “Bring your unique design vision and tender loving care to elevate to perfection this extraordinary, rare offering.”
On the main street level, the formal entrance opens to the extra-large formal living room with period decorative fireplace, dining room with curved-glass view window, breakfast nook, and large kitchen with period details. The west wing features a spacious primary bedroom, two vintage bathrooms, and two additional bedrooms.
A huge lower level, connected to the main level by a beautiful interior staircase, offers high ceilings and plenty of light. It has been used as an art/photo studio for the past 60 years, but has many possibilities, depending on the needs of the new owner. It has French doors that open onto a small garden, and with its thick stucco walls built into the rock of the mountain, it stays comfortably cool on hot days. Tucked away next to that room is another that serves as a guest bedroom, with its own separate garden outside the door.
The sun deck is an ideal spot in which to relax and enjoy the view or the gentle sea breeze that blows most days in the late afternoon. A separate building structure, once a garage, has potential as an additional dwelling unit. It currently is used for storage, and has another room below that could be utilized as guest bedroom.
The property is just minutes to miles of hiking and bicycling trails in Griffith Park, not far from the Greek Theatre and iconic Griffith Observatory.
The charm of Los Feliz is unparalleled, offering the comforts of a small town, manicured tree-lined streets, wonderful boutiques and restaurants, curb appeal, and old Hollywood history. Los Feliz village on Hillhurst Avenue is lined with restaurants, markets, boutiques, and lots of people watching. This is where film and music executives, artists, and Bohemians choose to frolic and resign to escape the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles.
The home’s late owners created a gathering place for intellectuals, artists, and musicians on a spiritual path. Jan’s daughter-in-law, Therese Gorman-Steward, said, “Jan was very charming and social, with a wide net of close, good friends. Her home was an incubator for so many artists and musicians. She helped a lot of people get known in the area–she really was their muse. She was born in Hollywood and lived her whole life within a 5-mile radius of that home.”
Jan was a prolific artist, photographer, and graphic designer who created album covers and tour programs for George Harrison and Ravi Shankar, and helped nurture the South Asian music community in Los Angeles. “It’s hard to describe someone who has charisma–what it is–but she had it,” Therese said. “There was just this way about her. She liked to share her love of art, and she would connect with people in that way.”
Jan’s home was the ultimate expression of her gifts and served as a gathering spot for artists, musicians, writers, thinkers, and travelers from the late 1960s and into the 2000s.
Jan married Frank Herbert Steward in 1952. Herb, as he was called, owned an aircraft company that in the early 1960s was working on contract with the Indian government. The couple traveled to India, and Jan fell in love with the country, the culture, and the music, forming lasting friendships with prominent Indian artists and painters.
St. James + Canter & Associates, Luxury Directors here at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties, are proud to be the trusted source for lifestyle and luxury properties in Southern California.
Markus is one of the top producing agents in our Beverly Hills branch office. He frequently represents high-profile and celebrity clients.
As a Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Luxury Properties Director, Cristie specializes in the purchase and sale of luxury estates, fine homes, and high-end condominiums. A practicing real estate broker since 1987, Cristie has been responsible for over 1,500 transactions, totaling more than $1.5 billion in sales.