Bette Grable knew a thing or two about looking good. As a World War II pin up her image adorned so many places, from the inside of servicemen’s lockers to the nose cones of bombers. Her ‘Million Dollar Legs’ were her stock-in trade. Five million prints of her famous over-the-shoulder-look pose, in a white swimsuit, were sent to US troops all over the world.
So when in 1937 it came to creating a home for herself in Bel Air – the Beverly Hills of Beverly Hills – Grable showed just the same talent for creating attractive real estate when she commissioned and built 1280 Stone Canyon Road behind high pillared gates and with a beautiful private garden now given dappled shade through the leaves of a spreading plane tree and the soundtrack of a high cascading waterfall.
Tucked away on a leafy lane on the highly regarded lower slopes of Bel Air the house became a sanctuary and after her time there continued to be one for another beauty, Jaclyn Smith of Charlie’s Angels fame. Also Stephen Stills – ace guitarist of super group, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young enjoyed the seclusion and genteel comfort that this house affords.
In some ways this seems a very un-Hollywood home. It is instead a very grounded house for grounded owners. Yes there is the media room, and the house and garden are perfect for some glamorous large scale entertaining. But this is a very comfortable family house which is perfect for the home-struck as well as the star-struck.
To be recognised as a fine house it should have good bones. But to stand the test of time a home, like this one, has to have more than good bones. It has to have good legs.