Happy Halloween: The Witch’s House, Beverly Hills, California
Quite in the spirit of Halloween, it’s time to consider a more unusual, slightly scary at the first sight, house..
At the corner of Walden Drive and Carmel Avenue in Beverly Hills, California, USA, is located Spadena house. Nobody, however, does call it that. It is known to all as “The Witch’s House” – because of its right came from the scary tales of the Brothers Grimm exterior. (You know, that actually in the original Grimm fairy tales the ending is not happy, right? The hunter of “Little Red Riding Hood,” for example, is uh, a supplementary, politically correct character)
The house was designed by Harry Oliver – art director in Hollywood with an Oscar nomination and frightens and intrigues the local people (and not only) from 1921 onwards. Originally, it was elsewhere and was not home, but decor and space for offices of the Willat studios’ actors. On its current location, it rises terrible form since 1934.
The name of the fabulous building is due to its first occupants, who dared to make it a home – Spadena family. The unique atmosphere came from the aged outside plaster, small strange windows and pointed roof, reminiscent of a witch’s hat, covered with dark tiles, like the wafers roof house, Hansel and Gretel found in the woods. The house had too an overgrown lawn and moat-like lake. lake. Its second inhabitants Green family, however, filled up the pit and sewn a garden on its place. They took care too, that the interior of the house is reachable from different angles by the moon light.
In 1997, The Witch’s House was again on the market. Because of its expensive location, however, it was difficult to find a buyer willing to pay the requested by Ms. Green amount of 1.3 million dollars and to comply with her desire for the house to remain the same. Michael J. Libow, fan of the place since a child, was just looking for a house in his hometown. To avoid seeing the house razed, he decided to buy it and began to renovate it. His assistant was the art director Nelson Coates. They added to the expressive charm of the building Gaudí-inspired elements – Michael was a huge fan of the famous architect. Because of the repairs, they fenced solid the place and … Michael began to receive angry letters! People thought he would demolish the iconic building. The two friends added a spider and web of wrought iron. For the yard took care Jane Marshall – crazy landscaping and twisted trees, plus a pool-moat with bottom of various ceramic tiles and an over passing wooden bridge. Everything – enclosed with the corresponding dilapidated fence. As a result, today the Witch’s House looks like it has grown up from the ground. In shaping the interior and exterior, Michael was led by his desire for the house to be more authentic and cool than kitschy. He applied feng shui recommendations too – without right angles, location of water and fire elements etc. The furniture and other wooden elements are made of strong oak and along with all glass in the house were made by local professionals.
Witch’s House is the center of many urban legends. Some say it was built by extreme fan of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Others say it is a film setting for Hansel and Gretel movie. Third argue that a which is handing out candy there every Halloween. In fact, this is done by Michael, who on the evening of October 31 is always very busy – usually he’s visited by between three and four thousand children and their families. In 2014 he gave away 4,000 treats! Close to the house on this day there are always people who care about the order, and the surrounding streets are closed to cars, so there is no danger to the incoming crowds.
Halloween, All Saints’ Eve, is rooted in pagan ritual Samhain, when Celts welcomed their New Year. They believed that on the night of October 31 the people who died in the past year, come to earth to seek new living bodies. To avoid being “selected”, the Celts dressed in animal skins, put on scary masks, gathered around campfires and tell fortunes. Does this remind you in details of Bulgarian kukerstvo (mummery)? However, according to the Christian canon after death the soul does not return to earth. Therefore, in 853, Pope Gregory IV confirmed November 1 for All Saints Day in an attempt to replace the widespread pagan ritual.
Today, Halloween is a night of celebration masquerade for children and adults both. Dressed in scary costumes, crowds of excited kids with jack o lanterns, knock on the doors throughout the world, with the familiar “trick or treat!”
… Yet if the ancient traditions and beliefs are true, and almost always that’s the case, than besides the fun we chase the evil too, right?
Scary Halloween to everyone!
And if, in addition to a cool costume and jack o lantern, you want a house, scary looking or not, contact us. We’ll arrange it.