The two-story Italian Revival-style building at 216 S. Mansfield Ave. is one of the winners of the Windsor Square-Hancock Park Historical Society Landmark Awards.
Dave Goldstein, owner, received the award at the Society’s annual meeting in July. Goldstein purchased the building in 1991 from the estate of Mrs. Gimbel’s cat. Proceeds from the trustee’s sale went to the Doris Day Animal Foundation as stipulated in the will of the late Mrs. Gimbel, who owned the property for 50 years.
The building was designed by architect Milton M. Friedman in 1926 and was originally a duplex with 22 rooms for two families.
At a later date, it was converted into a five-unit apartment dwelling as it exists today. Friedman is best known for his earlier use of Beaux-Arts design elements for the Hotel Chancellor built in 1924-25 at 3191 W. Seventh St. Friedman also designed the French Renaissance style Chalfonte apartments at 720 S. Normandie Ave. and the Chateauesque style Piccadilly apartments at 682 Irolo St. Both were built in 1929.
The Mansfield building is an example of the Italian Revival architectural style, one of many diverse architectural styles seen in the 1920’s on the multi-family residential buildings springing up in the new neighborhoods west of downtown during the economic boom and its accompanying rapid population growth.
These diverse revival architectural styles, mostly rooted in European traditions, provided a sense of “historical legitimacy” to Los Angeles while offering inspiration for reinterpretation in a creative style that expressed the growing sophistication of the city and the influence of Hollywood glamour, according to Historical Society research.
The Italian style as it came to be known in the 1920s shares similarities with the Mediterranean Revival and Italianate styles.
Italian stylistic elements
Italian stylistic elements at this property include the rectangular floor plan, symmetrical façade, stuccoed walls, red tiled roof and cupola. Exterior ornamentations evoking the Italian style were added by the current owner including the wrought iron front balcony, stone work framing the front windows, and a glass “awning” featuring an intricate metal vine and leaf design that is over the front entry.
The interiors of the apartments exemplify the credo of Goldstein who describes himself first and foremost as a preservationist and restorer of his vintage properties from the ‘20s, ‘30s and ‘40s. Along with high-domed ceilings and French windows, the Mansfield apartments feature refinished hardwood floors, telephone alcoves, as well as both original sconces and light fixtures. Original iceboxes remain in the kitchens, and O’Keefe and Merritt ranges from the ‘40s have been kept in working order. Hardware from the period of the ‘20s and early ‘30s has been used unless replacements were needed.
Kitchens and bathrooms retain the original Art Deco tile work meticulously restored by Goldstein.
Other WSHPHS award winners will be profiled in the Larchmont Chronicle in the next few months.