Though she’s probably best-known to the general public as Gerard Butler’s longtime on/off girlfriend, Morgan Brown has substantial independent means of her own — she’s an accomplished interior designer and real estate investor who’s owned and built a number of luxury homes in the L.A. area. She’s also a daughter of the late Harry Joe Brown Jr., a prominent property developer, and the granddaughter of prolific Hollywood producer Harry Joe Brown Sr.
Over the years, Brown has followed in her father’s proverbial footsteps, dipping her toes into real estate development by building and selling homes in posh areas like Beverly Hills and Hancock Park. But now she’s substantially upped the investment ante — records reveal she’s acquired her biggest project to date, a multi-structure compound in the Hollywood Hills that cost her $12.5 million.
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Originally built in 1929 and designed by Cecil B. DeMille’s onetime art director Wilfred Buckland, the Spanish Revival-style compound is known as Las Orquideas and was modeled after the Andalusian villages in coastal Spain, per the listing. Tightly packed on a .35-acre lot, the cluster of five tower-like buildings comprise nine separate residences and total more than 10,500 square feet of living space. There are street-level garages for each of the structures, and steep steps lead from the roadway up to the individual homes, where communal gardens keep the residents connected.
Inside, each of the sunny units offers a charming bevy of details: colorful tile, original fireplaces, beamed ceilings and intricate wrought iron work. The entire complex was recently renovated by the Spanish Revival design specialists at Howell + Padgett, and so all the units have modern appliances, central heating and essentially soundproof walls. Outside, lush gardens and intimate plazas overlook the bustling city below.
Monthly rents for the nine townhouse-like residences, which are done up in various configurations offering one, two or three bedrooms, typically run in the $3,000 to $7,000 range. Brown also financially benefits from the historic property’s Mills Act designation — landmarked estates pay far lower taxes than a $12.5 million sale price would typically engender.
And the property’s prime location is just seconds to a number of iconic city destinations: the Sunset Strip, Runyon Canyon, Outpost Estates, Mulholland Drive and Yamashiro restaurant.
Besides her $12.5 million village, records show that Brown continues to own a lavish compound elsewhere in Los Angeles. Sited on what is arguably West Hollywood’s most prime residential street, her personal residence is on a double-wide lot and spans nearly 10,000 square feet of living space. Records show that Brown recently invested millions into a full-scale renovation and expansion of the classic 1920s estate, which was briefly on the market last year with a $19.5 million asking price.
Launch Gallery: Morgan Brown's Historic Hollywood Hills 'Village'