About 15 months ago, veteran television titan John Wells, creator of the hit HBO series “Shameless,” just one among many notable shows for which he’s hovered up six Emmys (and 19 more nominations), shelled out a small amount more than $7 million for a stately English Tudor residence in L.A.’s wealthy Hancock Park neighborhood that, after some quick gussy-ups, he’s flipped back on the market at $10.25 million.
Designed by L.G. Scherer and built in 1927 along a pretty, sought after street, the sprawling manor house, once owned by Francis Ford Coppola, sits on just over a-third-of-an-acre of landscaped grounds that back up to the exclusive Wilshire Country Club. Positioned on a slight rise that lends distinction and prominence, the sprawling home is chock-a-block with original and restored architectural detailing, along with all the modern-day creature comforts rightly expected in a ten-million-dollar dwelling. At just over 6,200 square feet, the faux-timbered and brick-accented manor house is comfortably ample and in some areas quite grand, but without being unnecessarily gigantic. The six bedrooms and 6.5 bathrooms include a petite staff suite back behind the kitchen and family room beside the laundry room.
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A vaulted, exposed beam ceiling caps the double-height entrance hall, which features vintage floor tiles and a stunning split staircase, and a ballroom-sized living room is enhanced with floor-to-ceiling stained glass windows, an imposing carved fireplace and a hand-stenciled wood-coffered ceiling. An adjoining card rooms looks out though a curved wall of glass on the rear gardens, a small study is pleasantly dominated by a tiled corner fireplace and the fully-paneled dining room strikes a distinct baronial note.
The kitchen has been re-worked and re-done since Wells bought the property. Now with trendy patterned floor tiles and a huge, marble-topped baby blue painted island, the chef-accommodating space is fully exposed to a cozily proportioned breakfast area and lounge that spills out to the backyard through stained-glass French doors. Marketing materials from the time of Wells’ purchase made some hay about Ariana Grande having made use of a small recording studio in the basement.
Upstairs, two generous guest bedrooms have private bathrooms, while a third includes a tiny private terrace. A fourth potential bedroom, with an octagonal bathroom sheathed in vintage lilac tiles, is easily incorporated as a private sitting room in to the neighboring main bedroom, an airy space with cathedral ceilings, that includes a fireplace, a windowed dressing hall and an up-to-date vintage-inspired marble bathroom. The main bedroom and the potential fourth bedroom or sitting room share an awning-covered terrace with a patrician’s view over the perfectly groomed backyard and across the manicured golf course.
A park-like retreat with a lush patch of grass and a huge brick outdoor fireplace, the backyard comfortably accommodates plenty of both sun-splashed and shaded brick terraces, along with a simple rectangular swimming pool and a spa. And, tucked around the back of the house under the shade of mature specimen trees, there’s a charming dining terrace with built-in grill. A homey raised bed kitchen garden completes the scene.
Wells, creator and/or influential producer of an inordinate number of megahit television shows including “China Beach,” “ER” and “The West Wing,” as well as a couple of forgettable flops like the short-lived 2018 sitcom “American Woman,” is no stranger to the property gossip columns or to architecturally significant and Tinseltown-pedigreed mansions he sometimes sells to other showbiz heavy hitters.
He previously owned a home in the Los Feliz area of L.A. that once belonged to Cecil B. DeMille. It was sold in 2007 for close to $6 million to entertainment industry powerhouse Mary Parent, who has since sold it off at a substantial, $2.5 million profit. Also in 2007, Wells paid $10.4 million for a nearly 10,000-square-foot English Tudor pile in Hancock Park that he sold a decade later, in 2017, for a tetch over $12.1 million to child actor turned Emmy-nominated film and television writer-director-producer Brian Robbins, co-founder and, until a few years ago, CEO of the teen-targeted digital network AwesomenessTV. Robbins sold the property earlier this year in a clandestine off-market deal valued at a $19 million — a neighborhood record — to businessman Thomas Swan III and his husband Joe Townley.
The former Coppola estate coming up for sale now is hardly the only indication Wells has sought for the last couple of years to substantially lighten his by-any-standard considerable real estate load. He previously owned two side-by-side homes in Vail, Colo., that were sold in two separate transactions, the first in 2018 and the second just this year, that totaled $19.95 million, and his drop-dead-gorgeous, 375-acre Hawaiian equestrian ranch compound near Kilauea, on the North Shore of Kauai, popped up for sale a few months ago with a sobering price tag of $40.5 million.