Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Witch’s House


Fairytales are real, you know…evidence exists…if you know where to look…

On a quiet, little corner in Beverly Hills…


…just inches away from this…


…and this…


…lies this…


…the Spadena House, also known as the Witch’s House…a whimsical bit of old Hollywood yet standing…


image  Designed by Harry Oliver—a Hollywood art director--in 1921, it originally stood in Culver City, and was used for dressing rooms and offices for a movie studio…also as scenery in  an early film or two…



Here it’s shown while still on the Willat Studio lot, surrounded by crew members for the film “Face of the World”, in 1921.


It was moved to it’s little corner in Beverly Hills in the 1930’s, became a private residence, and has been restored to it’s former glory by it’s current owner…and it IS quite glorious!

This has long been one of my favorite of the “Storybook Houses”…and I finally got to see it in person…


Usually one to shy away from lurking around famous places, I lost all reservation (on our recent visit to Los Angeles), when my Dad suggested we drive by—knowing I loved this kind of thing…


It was starting to get dark when we arrived, so my photos aren’t the best, but it was all so magical, I promise you…


The charming little side gate that first greeted me upon leaving the car…looks like something you’d find at Disneyland, doesn’t it?  In fact, it’s said that this house might have been an inspiration for Disney’s concept of  “imagineering”…


…a close-up of the medieval-looking lantern hanging next to the gate…perfect…


Just look at the beautifully crafted front door…don’t you just love the door bell!


And oh! the shutters!  If you look closely, you’ll also see that the chimney and stovepipe are a bit wonky…done purposefully, of course!


…a closer peek at one of the upper dormer window…look how that chimney seems to be “melting” into those fabulous ramshackly shingles!


…the landscaping was incredible, and so well thought out…fantasy mixed with just a bit of eery…here we see the bridged lily pond in front of the house…


There were cleverly made signs here & there… “no trespassing”…in creepy red letters…can you just imagine how much fun this place is for trick-or-treaters on Halloween?!


My daughter Annie was enjoying “lurking” with me…

I kept trying, despite the lack of sunlight, to get some pictures beyond the fence…wonderful inner gates…leading to a dreamy courtyard, perhaps?


Little fairy lights here & there on the walls…each with a different colored light…gold, green, red…oooooh!

Here’s one more shot taken in my attempt to visually “trespass” the beautiful grounds…


The sun was setting quickly…the family was waiting patiently in the car to go to dinner…reluctantly, time to leave…


If you ever get the chance to stop by the Witch’s House, please do so as the sun is going down, the full moon is on the rise…


…do your share of peeking, lurking, imagining over the cobblestone walls…


…thoughts of the fairytales of your childhood will flit through your mind…Snow White, Hansel and Gretel…the Wicked Witch…



See you soon with something new…


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{My own photos of the house and grounds are watermarked; all others were either taken from my copy of the book “Storybook Style”, by Gellner & Keister, or found online}


  1. I've never seen anything
    like this before {outside
    of cartoons!} Julie; it really
    IS magical! Bravo for you
    for having the moxie to
    get those great pics! I'm a
    terrible lurker : ) !!
    xx Suzanne

  2. Julie - this house is amazing! Have you ever dropped by the blog "Hooked on Houses?" A sweet lady named Julia writes it and did a post on this house quite awhile ago. I'm somewhat obsessed with houses so if you are at all, it's a fun morning read!

  3. what a magical house. i would love to see the inside! who wouldnt right?!

  4. I never knew about this place. Wish I had when our son and daughter-in-law were living in La Jolla. I would have made the effort to get there!! Thanks for such great pictures. I love this.
    Ladybug Creek

  5. Wouldn't you just love to live there?!!
    I would.
    thank you for visually trespassing for all of us

  6. I am an old Hollywood buff, so I knew of the witch house. It is a true beauty. I am so glad it has been restored! Thanks for sharing.

  7. Oh I love it Julie it could not be more whimsical. Thanks for the sweet tour and history.

  8. Oooh how fun Julie!... I would love to lurk around that darling house... actually, I would love to OWN that house!... how fun you got to see it, and with a full moon rising even... I love that you believe in fairy tales and enchanting things like I do... thanks so much for sharing!... xoxo Julie Marie

  9. How much fun! Great Annie could go along for this magical journey! Looks kinda spooky and very intriguing!

  10. This certainly is magical...I adore this home! Xoxoxo ~Ashley

  11. Wow, Julie, I used to live right near there and never heard of it!!! Isn't it amazing?

    I wanted to tell you that I had a project I had to make quickly the other day and I immediately thought to myself, "What would Julie do?" lol You always inspire me because your work is breathtaking.

  12. What a great trip. I enjoyed your pictures! I am a nostalgia buff so thanks for the history of this story book house!

  13. How delightful-thank you so much for sharing this with us!

  14. Julie, my daughter has written a book (not published) and it is a retelling of Hansel and Gretel. (middle grade novel) I simply have to send her to your blog, so she can see for herself the house that would be perfect for her story. Thanks for another fabulous post once again and for sharing something so unique. I wish we were nieghbors too, and we would have lots of fun for sure!

  15. Hi Julie! It's been ages since I've posted, but I've been following and trying to keep up with my favorite blogs...yours is of course included!

    What a wonderful, charming, old house! I LOVE IT! I saw a similar thatched roof cottage a few years ago...the first thing I think of is Hansel and Gretel...and how wonderful it would be to live in such an amazing place (sans the witch that eats little kids)

    Thanks for sharing...and the "getting dark" photos are magical!

  16. That is absolutely beautiful, wonderful, fantastic. And I'm sure I heard a cackle as I looked. :0

  17. What an interesting place!
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

  18. SO enjoyed this!! what a wonderful little house with so much attention to detail - what a wonderful find!
    Mary x

  19. What a whimsical place to totally loose yourself in! I would be thrilled to be there. Thanks for sharing this gem of a house with us, and I love, love, love your photograph with the moon rising in the background. :)

  20. I've seen this house! My parents lived in Van Nuys for 45 years, and sometime after my father passed away, I and my mom drove to Beverly Hills and got out of the car to take pictures of this house--oh, wouldn't it be marvelous if we could see the inside?

  21. AMAZING house, sort of Art Deco Bizarre style ~ LOVELY photos and wonderful post as always!

  22. Hi Julie,
    Wow, how lucky you are to visit such a magical house! Your photos are amazing; makes me wish I was their lurking around with you.
    Thanks so much for the virtual visit.
    Warm hugs to you.

  23. THAT is stinking AWESOME! I want to see that in person some day! Very cool Julie. thanks for sharing. Vic

  24. That would be such a fun place to see. It does remind me a little of Disney.
    Can you imagine what the inside looks like!
    so cool! TFS
    hugs Lynn

  25. Hi Julie! I love it! What a great place to see. I will be making a little detour next time I'm in Southern California. Thanks for sharing!

  26. Julie,
    That is so fanciful! I reminds me of the architectural work of Gaudy, that we just saw in Barcelona. Pure fancy. Makes me think that these two influenced Dr. Seuss!
    Your comments are just a balm to me. Thank you so much for your support. This is such a tender time and I feel like I have an open wound in my heart half the time but I am so grateful for your very real kindness and it truly helps. Jud's doctor thought we were going too late and that Jud would be really weak. He did really well. He didn't even nap and has been taking five hour naps. He just lived it up to the fullest and we both had a wonderful time. I am home but didn't have access to a computer so I am just starting to cover the trip!!!
    Thank you, my friend!!!

  27. What a crazy place...I had no idea that was in Beverly Hills or I would have looked for it when we were there over the summer.

    Thanks for sharing! xo Ashlyn

  28. Thanks so much for sharing that wonderful place with us!! So spooky for sure!

  29. Hi Julie, that is a wonky and wonderful home. So glad you got to lurk a bit! Thanks for taking us along. Best wishes, Tammy

  30. Julie, I have seen a television special about this place. How fun to actually visit. I love California. So many interesting things associated with Hollywood. Who knew! A real witches house!

  31. Oh my goodness..........I would love to see that place. Looks magical indeed.
    I remember when I was really young, oh, probably only 6, me and my friend had this house on our street that we KNEW was a witches house ....WE KNEW IT.
    (tee,hee) Our imagination ran wild with this place, as there was this little old woman, grey haired who lived their and had goats (for sacrifices I am sure) and well...we were scarred everytime we had to go by there.

    this is a much prettier place, but funny how it reminded me of that time

  32. The Witch's House also known as The Spadena House is undoubtedly my favorite storybook house! You're absolutely right, Julie! It really looks like something you’d find at Disneyland! It is the perfect place for trick-or-treaters on Halloween! I've heard that the owner is a real estate agent named Michael Libow. He must be very proud of this amazing home!