LAUREL CANYON—I have always been confused and doubtful about the exact location of the Lookout Inn allegedly on Appian Way. I’ve seen two photos, one of a couple standing under a gazebo with Lookout Mountain painted on the lintel, and another long shot of the Lookout Inn. Are they postcards from the same Inn? Looking at the Inn postcard, the teardrop road surrounding the Inn is clearly visible. There are no other buildings, but you can see a city in the background. How could that be Appian Way? So both Richard Seireeni and Spike Stewart tried to convince me they were right, and I was wrong to believe that the Inn was closer to Skyline.
I was coming around to the idea that the new homes that had been constructed near 8777 Appian Way might be on the original Inn property, but I still had my doubts. You only get a peek at the front door of this monster mansion when you drive by, but it covers a lot of territory. Could these be on the original lot for the Inn? One day, Spike in frustration, loaded me into his car and off we went to Appian Way. The street looks about right, but the view didn’t seem to match the postcards.
So I decided to hunt around the neighborhood. Spike is always laid back; he went with the flow. That’s when I spotted the incongruous house; white with several whimsically pointy roofs. I immediately thought of some old Disney movie. It looked to be in 7/8 scale and a dead ringer for a princess’s cottage. It was maybe two blocks from the new houses. Well, I thought, might this have been somehow associated with the original Lookout Inn property and simply forgotten over the years?
The owner was happy to share his house with me. He greeted me by opening a Speakeasy Peeper. If you recall, in old movies, the bouncer would open a concealed little square in the front door to see who wanted to come in.
Once I got past the front door, I was shocked by the deceiving nature of the house. The outside suggested that inside you’d find a little cramped cottage. No sir-reey Bob. There was plenty of wood, and plenty of glass perfectly framing a jetliner view of the city. I was taken totally aback. Holy cow! This must be the view from the postcards! Mystery solved.
The current owner has lived in the cottage for years. He knew the history of the neighborhood. His little cottage was built in the 1920s, so that nixed my idea that it was built along with the Inn, which burned down that year. He thought the house began as a one bedroom, one bathroom bungalow. Joanie Mitchell and Carole King were past neighbors. He told me that the former owners, set decorators, spent seven years importing raw lumber to rebuild and expand the house. It now has four floors and a guesthouse/garage, which is a miniature replica of the main house. He loved the house the day he bought it, and still loves every inch of it.
The first record of the house? 1939. The owner? Lawrence Beramaschini, employed by WUTCo - Western Union Telegraph Company.
Tell me, what do you know?