The Witch's House in Beverly Hills
The Witches House (also known as the Spadena House) was built in the 1920's as an office for the studio execs in Culver City and was used in several silent films and eventually moved to Walden St. in 1926 after its use was retired to serve as a residence for Ward Lascelle, and independent movie producer. Through the years the house changed owners, and luckily has stood the test of time and today this whimsical cottage has never been in better shape.
I went trick or treating here every Halloween in the late '70s early '80's. The owners at that time would dress as ghosts and goblins handing out Taffy from a witches kettle. There was dry ice coming from the moat around the house and haunted mansion music piping out from the upstairs window! It was the TOP attraction in Beverly Hills at that time. Then suddenly the house went dark one year and the family stopped the tradition with no explanation. The tradition was missed and no activity took place there for several years and the property started to become neglected. Thankfully Michael Libow purchased it and has taken the house to an entire new level giving it the tender loving care and restoration it has so desperately deserved. Let me further explain....
Michael has made some incredible additions to the house. The landscaping in the front yard is purposefully bizarre, with gnarled, twisted trees and a wooden bridge crossing a mystical moat with a ceramic glass bottom. The home now looks more organic - like it's growing up from the ground. There is a huge spider web complete with nefarious looking spider caught in web made out of wrought iron and the house is surrounded by a rickety picket fence How do I explain the inside? All I can say is it immediately reminded me of "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride" at Disneyland and I expected Walt's ghost to appear at any moment. The walls of the house slope precariously, giving the impression of imminent collapse. Its dilapidated-looking, pitched roof is pointed like a witch's hat. The saggy, wooden window shutters are hung at odd angles. The entire house almost appears as if it's melting! This further explains why the house sees well over 4,000 trick-or-treaters every single Halloween and it is visited by many curious onlookers.
The consulting firm Ostashay & Associates performed an intensive and exhaustive landmark assessment which helped tie the pedigree and provenance of the house together.
If Hansel and Gretel lost their way in Beverly Hills it is likely they would end up at 516 N. Walden Drive
Seeing the interior, was milestone for me and thrilled to share my experience with you. We ended the perfect night with a few rounds of Pinball on Michael's vintage CAPTAIN FANTASTIC pinball machine inspired by the movie, "Tommy", and topped it off singing around Michael's antique piano. The house is just FULL of endless fun and innocence (and a few friendly spirits). I'm proud to say you will be seeing a lot more of the Witches House on Vintage Los Angeles and this summer I will featuring Michael Libow and his beloved home in for Los Angeles Magazine! Stay tuned!