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Ivar House: A Garden in the Heart of Hollywood

A garden in the heart of Hollywood with excellent cuisine? Look no further than the Ivar House.

Hollywood restaurant
Ivar House, 1737 Ivar Avenue (CA State Library)

Just steps away from the bustling Boulevard, homeowner Orsina Gray created a tranquil outdoor dining atmosphere surrounded by fruit trees of lemon, avocado, persimmon, and grapefruit, bubbling water fountains, ferns, even the oldest bamboo in all of California.

Inside, the dining room was filled with fresh-cut roses, dahlias, and delphinium. Floral designs embellished the upholstery and fine china. There were chandeliers overhead and hooked rugs protecting the waxed wood floors. Upstairs, private rooms could be reserved for bridge parties, banquets, and life celebrations.

With an acre of property, Ivar House also operated a coffee shop, bake shop, sandwich bar, flower shop, and gift shop that sold antiques and rare imports.

Hollywood flower shop
Ivar House Flower Shop (CA State Library)

Ivar House was a favorite of Hollywood stars as well as Hedda Hopper, the gossip columnist who reported on them all from her nearby office. Most days she walked over for lunch in the garden. In her memoir The Whole Truth and Nothing But, she recounted a 1937 meal interrupted by a handsome “husky fellow” laying bricks on the patio who asked her to move her chair. “You don’t look like a bricklayer,” she remarked. “I’m not,” he shot back. “I’m an actor.” His name: Raymond Burr—and he quit the day job right then and there.

Hollywood garden
Ethel Schultheis with her parents at Ivar House (Herman Schultheis / Los Angeles Public Library)

Ivar House was truly a home to Orsina, who lived on the premises with her family and died here in 1943, 12 years after she opened the Hollywood hot spot.

“The house of good cheer” had to find a new address in 1950 when investors bought the land. Supper club proprietor Larry Potter moved 1737 Ivar to a descending slope on Sunshine Terrace in Studio City, where the two-story still stood for another seven decades.

In 2016, new owners sought to demolish the property but were not issued a permit. Instead, they gutted the historic Ivar House to the foundation and “rebuilt” it as a modern farmhouse, stripping away every ounce of its original charm.


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