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The Fontenoy

When The Fontenoy on Whitley Avenue was built in 1928, it was advertised as “the first of its kind on the Pacific Coast”—and it remains one-of-a-kind.

(University of Southern California)

The 13-story high-rise has a most unique layout: Four “little homes” per floor (a one-bedroom and three singles), so everyone gets their own corner view: the beautiful green hills “dotted profusely with costly mansions” (north); the city and its “countless lights at night” (south); blue waters of the ocean (west); or snow-capped Mt. Baldy (east).

On the top floor, two penthouses are spoiled with a panorama looking north or south, plus two bedrooms, 30-foot-long living room, dining room, and sun parlor. (Crispin Glover once lived in the south-facing unit, with his menagerie of bats and lizards.)

From the ground, the Fontenoy’s arched entrance greets residents and visitors with a pair of latticed windows, decorative molding, and ornamental lighting.

Up five steps and though the front doors, the elegant lobby is illuminated by a chandelier that accentuates the coffered ceiling’s golden octagon panels.

Surrounding the Châteauesque building—designed by French-inspired architect Leland A. Bryant, a year before he did Sunset Tower—are spacious gardens and bubbling fountains, as well as an oval pool secluded by towering cyprus trees.

Also facing the south lawn is an incredible Roman sculpture by Olinto Marcucci Ramirez.

In the early days, the units were identically decorated with “superb finishings” and could be rented by week or month. All were promised daily maid service, soft water, steam heat, and a parking space in the subterranean garage. According to a current resident, cooks even went floor to floor delivering meals.

Times have changed but the Fontenoy has retained much of its original charm—and provenance: A vintage-inspired modern radio in the lobby plays French orchestrations.


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