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Lombardi House: A Beautiful Oasis in the Heart of Hollywood

By Kim Sudhalter

October 8, 2014

Talk to owner and developer Jacques Massachi for even just one minute about his project, the Lombardi House, and you’ll see the passion shine in his eyes. In 2006, he bought a dilapidated, once-grand mansion on Bronson just north of Hollywood Boulevard (near the eastern gateway to the Hollywood Entertainment District) with the intention of tearing it down and redeveloping the land. But he soon found out the house was something special.

The Lombardi House was built in 1904 as a horseback riding property for Cornelius Cole, a U.S. Senator who once owned vineyards throughout Hollywood. It, along with the Janes House at Hollywood and Hudson, is one of only two surviving homes that once lined Prospect Avenue (renamed Hollywood Blvd in 1910). The original simple Plantation-style residence faced Prospect and had an enormous front lawn with riding stables in the back.

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Retired vaudeville performers, Philip and Sylvia Lombardi purchased the house in the 1940s and added on, turning it into a showpiece. Famous as vocal coaches to the stars of stage and screen, the Lombardis were renowned for throwing lavish affairs in their home. Their son, Raymond Coari Lombardi, inherited the property and continued the tradition until he was in his 80s and it was time to sell. Part of the condition of sale by the family was that the new owner would purchase all of the furniture and possessions that had lived in the home over the decades.

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“Every time I walked into the house, I could feel its energy,” said Massachi. “You just knew from all the pianos, the gorgeous furnishings, the elegant details, that the house was originally used for entertaining—a party house. I knew it could never just be an apartment building or something ordinary. Eventually I realized, I had to bring it back to its original purpose again.”

After going through many plans for the property, Massachi decided to turn it into a sophisticated event venue with four complete suites, common areas and a truly magical special event space in the converted barn. He brought in architecture firm Project M Plus and designer Amber Lewis to re-imagine and update the building, while painstakingly restoring as many original details as he could.

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Walking around the property, he’ll point out original elements like an ornate staircase inside which retains a copper “L,” or a diamond-paned leaded glass window that he’s matched in a modern window nearby. In the barn, now turned into a gorgeous high-beamed open-air event room, he’ll show you how he created magnificent rolling barn doors from current French doors and soldered iron pipe. He and his team have managed to capture the property’s original feel via delicate touches and high attention to detail.

Lombardi House is perfect for photo shoots, birthday parties, weddings in the barn, or corporate events. The four exquisitely furnished guest apartments offer 2-3 bedrooms, 2-3 baths and range from 1,125-2,350 square feet. Each offers a gourmet kitchen and period architectural details such as hardwood floors, bay windows, beautiful woodwork and original light fixtures.

Oh, and if you go, don’t forget to look for the wild iguana who calls Lombardi House home. He particularly likes to hang out in the trees, or in the eave of the roof.

The Lombardi House's resident iguana.

The Lombardi House’s resident iguana.

1717 Bronson Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028. 844.544.6873, info@lombardihouse.com

www.lombardihouse.com

Kim Sudhalter has worked with the Hollywood Entertainment District since its early years, helping to attract investment and revitalize the area. Originally from Europe and New York, she is an architecture and history buff who has a deep and abiding love for Hollywood and its past.

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