Master Architects of Southern California 1920-1940, a new twelve-volume series by Marc Appleton and Bret Parsons, showcases the work of the Golden Era’s most important residential architects as originally featured in the earliest issues of The Architectural Digest. Featuring some of the earliest known photographs of the work of legendary architects, the series is devoted to the era when oil titans, film industry moguls, bankers, and successful entrepreneurs who were new to the region hired the most accomplished and talented architects they could find.
In the second volume, ROLAND E. COATE, the authors focus on one of the most admired and influential residential architects ever to practice in Southern California. In a remarkable career that spanned more than three decades, Roland E. Coate produced hundreds of exceptional designs from Santa Barbara to Bel-Air, Hollywood, Hancock Park, and Pasadena that ranged from quaint bungalows to grand mansions. Coate’s ability to work in a variety of styles from English Tudor to Monterey Colonial with equal grace made him a favorite with those seeking the very best. His client list—with names like Doheny, O’Melveny, Hoover, and Hertz—reads like a “Who’s Who” of the most important and influential figures of the era.
Yet Coate is best known today as an “architect to the stars,” a much sought-after designer for the elite of Hollywood with a stellar array of commissions from such legends of classic cinema as Darryl F. Zanuck, Barbara Stanwyck & Robert Taylor, Gary Cooper, Irene Mayer & David O. Selznick, Frank Capra, William Wellman, Pando Berman, and Myrna Loy. Other celebrity residents of Coate-designed homes have included Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, Kenny Rogers, Danny Kaye, and fashion icon Tom Ford. The Coate-designed mansion in Hancock Park of aviator/film producer/oil magnate Howard Hughes remains one of the most famous houses in Los Angeles.
GORDON B. KAUFMANN, the first volume in the Master Architects series, features the work of the renowned architect of Hoover Dam and the Los Angeles Times Building, as well as the residences of legendary Los Angeles families which included Greystone, the famed Doheny mansion in Beverly Hills and Beverly House, the famous Beverly Hills estate of Marion Davies and William Randolph Hearst seen in The Godfather.
Co-author and renowned architect Marc Appleton of Appleton Partners notes “These nearly forgotten architects needed to to memorialized, since their work is quickly disappearing. That’s the purpose of the series Master Architects of Southern California 1920-1940.” The authors included numerous of-the-era photographs who documented the exteriors and interiors, as well as lists of previous owners (current owners’ names are withheld for privacy concerns).
Researching Coate’s life, co-author and architectural historian Steve Vaught says he found the details of the architect’s projects fascinating. “Coate’s work became so renowned that he was sought after for residencies outside of his Southern California base, even bringing uncommon style to otherwise rustic ranches in Arizona and beyond. He was hailed as a virtuoso of Spanish, Mediterranean, and other romantic revival designs, and was often termed the “father of Monterey Colonial Revivals.”
Bret Parsons, a Realtor and associate manager of Pacific Union International’s Hancock Park office, and executive director of its architectural division, notes, “A Coate home in Hancock Park recently sold for more that $5 million, and was only on the market a few days. Buyers have always been willing to pay a premium for the old-world craftsmanship and charm of a home by Roland E. Coate.”