Wednesday, July 6, 2011

What Makes A House A Home

While furiously sifting through records piecing together the appearance and disappearance of Sean I came across some photo's of Aggie's home at 1023 North Roxbury Drive.  I thought it would make an interesting little blurb to write up a little something on her three homes in California.  Bet you didn't know there were three did you?

The first home we know of in Los Angeles that Agnes owned was 2720 Monte Mar Terrace in Cheviot Hills.  The home is a Tudor style house that still stands today.  You can Google it and find a picture.  This is the home that Agnes was afraid Jack would try to destroy during their 1945 blow out.  It appears that they may have purchsed the house from Charles Miller around 1944.  Agnes still retained ownership of this home after she purchased her Roxbury Drive home in 1952.  Records indicate that she still owned it in 1954.

The next home she bought was the "Sigmund Romberg" house at 1023 North Roxbury Drive in Beverly Hills.  I have found absolutely of Romberg actually living in the home although I have no doubt that he did stay there from time to time it was not his permanent residence.  The house was built in 1926 and comes in at 11,703 square feet, about double the Cheviot Hills home.  It was last remodeled in 1952, according to public records, which is the year Agnes purchased it.  It was purchased in March of 1952 and the news of the day made a big deal of the purchase and the fact that Robert Gist was helping her move in.

March 20th, 1952
Agnes Moorehead bought the huge home of the late Sigmund Romberg.  When a lady buys a house cherchez the soon to be husband.  I didn't have to cherchez too far to come up with Bob Gist.
July 2nd 1952
Louella Parsons
Agnes Moorehead moved into her new home, the Sigmund Romberg House, Saturday.  Helping her was the good looking Robert Gist.
 Despite many rumors to the contrary the home is still in exactly the same configuration it was when Agnes owned it.  It has been painted on the exterior.  Her antique doors are still there but have been stripped of their black paint.  All of the wood work inside the house has been restored to its natural color.  Agnes had a thing for white wood and painted every bit of exposed wood in the home white.  The black and white marble floor in the "Rumpus Room" has been covered with carpet.  The outrageous chandeliers in the living room have been replaced with period 1920's style chandeliers. 

This is the dining room restored to its original color.

The living room sans chandeliers and white paint

Tony Duquette was responsible for helping Agnes decorate the home and in a 1956 blurb from a newspaper we get an idea of what he did to her bedroom:

May 23rd, 1956
For Agnes Moorehead Tony designed a bedroom in shades of lavender to compliment her hair-amethyst walls, white bed, pink taffeta drapes.
There are no known photos of what the room looked like then but this is what it looks like now.

What has retained a serious earmark of the "Lavender Lady" is the bathroom, which I doubt has changed very little given it's lavender marble.

The closet is bigger than most typical bedrooms today.

On the same floor as the master bedroom is the his of the his and hers master suites:

Below are the remainder of the rooms in the current house including Agnes' beloved patio, the magnificent entryway and other areas:

The last home she owned no longer exists.  She was there when it met its end in September of 1970 in Malibu:

October 2nd 1970
Fire Destroys Homes of Stars
Agnes Moorehead watched her beautiful home at Malibu be engulfed and then disappear in the flames.

She never rebuilt that house.  It was the one she had gone to stay at in 1945 during her separation from Jack Lee.  The home and everything in it were completely lost.

We also know that Agnes had a home built in Ohio.  Sadly she never got to retire to it because of her death from cancer.  Here are some of the possessions that made it from Hollywood to Ohio as they are listed for auction after her death.

Challen five foot baby grand piano ebony finish: side chair with carved floral design on the back, four cushion white linen sofa, spectacular serpentine back: tilt top candle stand with HP top and gilded legs: Pair of turned gilded candlesticks: pair of open end white end tables marble tops and caned work insert on the sides: Kidney shaped coffee table: adjustable empire piano stool: Victorian walnut high backed bed with carved crest and mirrored back, pair of marble topped walnut bedside chests: carved back cherry rocker and side chair both have aqua velvet covering: carved wooden screen leaf design: two piece inlaid french burled secretary with mirrored doors above a slant front writing surface, also has fully fitted interior: Fancy french two piece china cabinet gilded: pair of fancifully carved twin headboards: Kitchen hutch painted white: pair of elaborately carved cherry and pine wall mounted what not shelves with mirrored backs:  two Bentwood rockers: country Sheraton bamboo side chair petite point seat, gold trim: Matching two and three drawer chests with serpentine fronts marble tops and applied gold trim: Sectional bookcases: HP coffee table with floral design carved legs: silver octagonal mirror with glass flowers and beading in relief: Chintz covered sofa and side chair violet design: WICKER: sewing box, stool, two side chairs, rocker, desk, elephant, arm chair, flower stand, lamps: PORCH FURNITURE: table with marble top, six chairs, two foot stools and double chaise lounge:
CHINA: Dresden picture frame, pair of LeftonHerend teapot, Este porcelain desert service for six, five "Sarah Siddons" plates, Staffordshire English bone china cups and saucers, two Herend china serving dishes, twelve Currier and Ives "Frozen Up" plates and large turkey platter, Johnson Brother of Boston Mass willow ware wash bowl and pitcher.
GLASS: brilliant two part punch bowl with scalloped base twelve inches deep fourteen inches high,  covered cheese dish, two relishes, footed compote, two creamers and sugars, bell covered jar, four small glasses, tumblers, tooth pick holder and tray, rose colored pin dish on a brass pedestal, eight crystal pale yellow desert goblets, seven clear crystal wine glasses.
PAINTINGS: Oil painting of Agnes Moorehead as Elizabeth the first painted in 1948 by Klein 5 foot by 7 foot oil on canvas with a wormwood frame: Yellow Daisy abstract by S.Fleming oil on canvas, crimson floral water color, eight Kentucky prints by C.G. Moorehead, two water color landscapes matted in modern frames.
CLOCKS: French bisque clock with cherubs in relief, Black Forest wall clock with elaborately carved game, Seth Thomas eight day oak shelf clock.
MISC: three brass 36 inch floor candle holders five candles each, copper kettle with brass handles, copper bucket with brass and delft handles, brass fire screen, pair of ceramic fish,  pair of 28 inch crystal candelabras with glass flower holders in the center, pair of branch Barton silver candelabras, blue Italian ceramic urn with three faces on the sides, ceramic urn violet decoration 12 inches high,  table lamp with flamingo and flower design, brass charcoal burner, hand tooled leather foot stool, wrought iron stand with copper insert, two small decorated sleighs, pair of hand decorated ceramic elephant pedestals, pair of floral urns, cat and dog ceramics, brass fireplace fender, large marble and brass scale, sterling silver salt and pepper mill, pair of concrete flower urns, room sized hooked rug, lift top sewing box on legs silver gilded.

After a life well lived this is what was left in Ohio......
The Ohio home under construction.


Anonymous said...

I bought 1023 N. Roxbury Dr., Beverly Hills in 1997 from my ex-brother in-law who had it for 18 years. The new photos you have shown are my restoration and decorating. I was wondering where I could find the old ones you posted. Some of the women I know, such as Elinor Donahue and Anne Jeffreys Sterling were guests in this home when Agnes was alive and remember her parties. This entire block is full of past celebrities homes, unfortunately many have been torn down and something awful built in their place. And we get so many star tours driving by all day long. I hope to hear back from you.

Merri Jean

RHIANNON said...

I was wondering when did Agnes receive her star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame? I got a photo of it and where it's located but nothing about what year she received it. Would you have any photos of the ceremony with her? PS: I loved the other photos.

Storm Susan Brys said...

Merri Jean Thank You for the post... I knew someone had to have redone many things because it has a current feel...Nice job...

Kim said...

I met Agnes back in the early 70's when she was in Nashville filming Dear Dead Delilah! I was around 10 and thought she was the most glamorous, beautiful woman I had ever seen! Fond memories of my day being able to be on the set while filming!

Anonymous said...

What an articulate lady Agnes Moorehead was.

Anonymous said...

In the 1970s our family lived in Southeast Ohio. (Guernsey County) My parents went to flea markets every weekend. One day my mom brought home a beautiful tea length gown that had belonged to Agnes Moorehead. She was going to cut it up to make doll clothes but I wouldn't let her. The following weekend I went with her to the flea market and we bought another gown. We bought about 5 total over the next few weeks, one of which is from Western Costume Company and has her name written on the label. I still have them though I am going to take them to our local auction house soon- I'm in the process of downsizing.

Anonymous said...

I currently live in the Ohio home that was built by Agnes and the original caretaker still lives across the street in the house that belonged to her grandparents. I would love to have one of the gowns to place in her restored bedroom.

Estate Sterling said...

Wow! Great blog! I really appreciate your blog. The decoration of house is so astonishing and Sterling Silver Candelabra looks so elegant in dining room. This kind of antique collection is truly heirloom for generations.

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