A former aviary and an opium den are just two of the unique features of the Bella Vista, a seven-bedroom, 11-bathroom Los Angeles property listed earlier this week. Once home to Hollywood royalty, it is now on the market—at a different configuration—for less than half its original ask.
Bella Vista is now listed for $19.5 million, but a larger version of the estate debuted on the market for $42.5 million in September 2015. The new price tag is its second slash: it was listed in March 2017 for $26.9 million, not including the original 3.44 acres.
The property now includes the main house, two guest cottages and another, modern guest house on about an acre of land, according to listing agent Jade Mills of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.
It was purchased in 1992 by Tony Scott, the late director and producer, according to property records and Ms. Mills. His wife, Donna, is selling the home.
The main house and the cottages were built in 1926 for filmmaker King Vidor, according to the brokerage. He made dozens of films over his seven-decade career and worked with some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, including Henry Fonda and Audrey Hepburn.
In 1927, Vidor sold the property to actor John Barrymore, the grandfather of Drew Barrymore and the star of films including 1932’s “Grand Hotel,” “20th Century” (1934), and “Midnight” (1939). He lived there until his death in 1942, according to the brokerage.
When Barrymore was married to his third wife, silent film star Dolores Costello, the couple built an aviary with stained-glass windows. At one time, it housed approximately 500 birds. Later, in the 1930s, it was converted into guest quarters and reportedly rented to the likes of Marlon Brando, Katharine Hepburn and Candice Bergen, the listing said.
The Spanish Revival home was designed by architect John Byers, and “has amazing views of the city,” Ms. Mills said.
“This house has a very romantic quality,” she added. “It really does take you back.”
The home is full of original details, including mouldings, three fireplaces, exposed beams and woodwork throughout. Several upgrades have been made, however, bringing modern conveniences to the historic estate.
The main living room features a high ceiling painted with an ornate mural, a fireplace and large windows. There’s a separate dining room, eat-in kitchen and cigar lounge with a bar, plus a wine cellar.
The master suite boasts a large bathroom and wraparound veranda. The octagonal opium den is above the bedroom, at the top of a hand-carved ladder.
There’s also a pub with a floor made from the trunks of redwood trees. It was reportedly a trophy room for Barrymore, housing prized possessions ranging from a dinosaur egg to shrunken heads, according to the brokerage.
Outside, there’s plenty of space to entertain or wander around the lush gardens. Koi ponds, fountains, and a pool with a waterfall are all part of the grounds.