Created By: Friends Of Residential Treasures: Los Angeles
T R A I L B L A Z E R: S T E V E N P R I C E
Steven Price is an author, lecturer, architectural historian and preservation consultant specializing in Mid-century Modern and Post-WWII architecture, design and lifestyle. A native Angelino, Steven explored the everyday built environment around him in 1960s and ‘70s Beverly Hills, Bel-Air, Malibu, Palm Springs and other areas with concentrations of notable architecture. After a thirty-year career in the entertainment industry (which he also grew up in), he has made it his mission to help raise awareness of forgotten master designers, and to add to the store of knowledge surrounding some of the greats.
BLAZING THE TRAIL
From the moment that Trousdale Estates became part of the Beverly Hills scene in the 1950s and ‘60s, it was literally and figuratively considered “over the top,” celebrated for its opulent homes for celebrities and moguls as well as it for occupying the absolute highest point in Beverly Hills. Its 535 custom-built homes adorn 410 acres of the former Doheny Ranch (once part of the Greystone estate), which were developed beginning in 1954 by builder and developer Paul W. Trousdale. Although Trousdale Estates’ cachet and primacy as a status neighborhood faded somewhat in the 1980s and ‘90s, the 2000s saw a resurgence in its popularity—and its prices. Sadly, only around 40% of the original Mid-century Modern houses still exist today, intact or renovated, the rest having fallen to the wrecking ball to make way for ever larger, more lavish mansions.
Regarded from the start as a collection of showy but unserious residential architecture, what has been lost to time is that in fact, Trousdale Estates was THE largest and densest concentration of residential work by A-list architects of the era, from Wallace Neff, Cliff May and Paul R. Williams to A. Quincy Jones, Harold Levitt, and Richard Dorman. With the publication of Steven Price’s book, Trousdale Estates: Midcentury to Modern in Beverly
Hills (Regan Arts, 2017), decades of design dots were connected for the first time, showing just how much, how good, and how unique a lifestyle architects created then, as they continue to do now.
MUSIC FOR THE TRAIL
Dionne Warwick (Theme From) Valley of the Dolls 1968 Million Seller
The theme song from Valley of the Dolls, which used the excess of Trousdale as a backdrop. In fact, the house from the movie is still there and still looks just as it did then!
Burt Bacharach - Nikki (A&M Records 1966)
This instrumental piece by Burt Bacharach is from when he was married to Angie Dickinson. Her residence is still there, up a long private drive across from Model House No. 2. You may remember this number (as i do) from ABC’s Movie of the Week!
Champagne And Quail
If I ever bring my book to the screen, the theme song will be “Champagne & Quail” by Henry Mancini, from The Pink Panther. To me, it is forever the soundtrack to The Good Life!