AKA: Barrett Ranch, Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles, CA

Structure Type: built works - dwellings - houses

Designers: Byers and Muir, Associated Architects (firm); John Winford Byers (architect); Edla Muir (architect)

Dates: constructed 1935-1936

2 stories

1031 North Bieveneda Avenue
Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles, CA 90272

OpenStreetMap (new tab)
Google Map (new tab)
click to view google map


The Barrett House in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA, was a sprawling Norman Revival residence, with living areas mostly arrayed on one floor, designed by the noted Southern CA architects John Byers and Edla Muir. Barrett also owned a number of other properties in the region, including the Barrett Ranch near Calabasas, CA.

Building History

Financier George Eldridge Barrett, Jr., (b. 07/07/1895 in CO-d. 12/03/1978 in Los Angeles, CA) commissioned architects Byers and Muir to design this extensive Norman Provincial ranch house on about 110 acres of land in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA. Barrett began the process of erecting a new residence for himself in 04/1935. The Los Angeles Times published a list of building permits recently obtained in its issue of 04/07/1935: "Two-story, $17,500, fourteen-room residence, 16401 Sunset Boulevard, West Los Angeles, for George E. Barrett," (See "Building Permit Applications Made," Los Angeles Times, 04/07/1935, p. D2.) This address was situated at the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Bienveneda Avenue, in the middle of the extensive property that Barrett owned in Pacific Palisades. Construction on the house moved quickly. A note in the Los Angeles Times in 11/1935 said of Barrett and his new wife, actress Janet Chandler, (née Lillian Elizabeth Guenther, born 12/31/1911 in Pine Bluff, AR-d. 03/16/1994 in Los Angeles, CA): "Mr. and Mrs. George E. Barrett have taken possession of their ranch home of French architecture located on an eight-acre estate in Pacific Palisades. Mrs. Barrett, a recent bride, was the former Lillian Guenther of Los Angeles is known on the screen as Janet Chandler." (See "Couple Occuply New Ranch Home," Los Angeles Times, 11/10/1935, p. B4.)

Barrett was an insurance salesman, stock broker and financier who came to Southern CA from Denver, CO, after 1922. He married early in life at age 20 while he worked as an insurance broker in Denver, but divorced his first wife, Beryl, by 09/1922. (See Ancestry.com, Source Information: Colorado, Divorce Index, 1851-1985 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015, accessed 11/01/2018. Like many women of the era who were faced with the shame of being a divorcée, Beryl told city directory information collectors that her husband had died.) Making a fresh start after the divorce, Barrett left for California. Living in the Chateau Du-Val Apartments, an apartment building catering to Hollywood studio employees, he sold investments according to the 1930 US Census. (See E.J. Fleming, The Movieland Directory: Nearly 30,000 Addresses of Celebrity Homes, Film Locations and Historical Sites in the Los Angeles Area, 1900-Present, [Jefferson, NC: McFarland and Company, 2015], p. 23, and Anccestry.com, Source Citation: Year: 1930; Census Place: Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California; Page: 42A; Enumeration District: 0194; FHL microfilm: 2339875, accessed 11/01/2018.) He may have met his second wife, the actress, Janet Chandler, through social interactions with studio people living at the Chateau Du-Val.

By the mid-1930s, Barrett began to buy and sell various properties in the western section of Los Angeles County near Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Calibasas, CA, and southeastern Ventura County near Santa Susana, CA. The Los Angeles Times summarized his real estate activities in 1949: "Purchase of approximately 740 acres of commercial and residential property in the Malibu area in a $2,000,000 deal was consummated yesterday with Roy E. Crummer, Jr., of Reno, Nev., as the new owner. The land and the improvements thereon--most of which is business property--formerly was owned by George E. Barrett, financier, who acquired it from the Marblehead Land Co. in 1943. Included in the Malibu area deal is property at Trancas and Escondido canyons and the vicinity known as the Malibu Riviera at Point Dume. In 1946, Barrett sold 39 acres of business property in the Malibu Beach Colony to the Crummer interests. In another simultaneous transaction, the Crummer Corp.--which includes Roy E. Crummer, Jr., and his father, Roy E. Crummer, Sr.--purchased the famed 6150-acre Simi Ranch (also known as the Barrett Ranch) in Calabasas from Barrett." (See "Malibu Area Property Sold for $2,000,000," Los Angeles Times, 08/13/1949, p. A1.)

The Oxnard Press-Courier said of this 1949 transaction: "Sale of 1882 acres south of Santa Susana and additional adjacent acreage in Los Angeles County for $400,000 was recorded in the county recorder's office today. George E. Barrett of Pacific Palisades sold the property to the Crummer Corp. of Nevada, according to the document." (See "Santa Susana Area Sale Brings $400,000," Oxnard Press-Courier, vol. 42, no. 35, 08/10/1949, p. 1.) A portion of the Barrett Pacific Palisades Estate became the property of Saint Matthews Episcopal Church and School in Pacific Palisades by the early 1950s.

Building Notes

An arcticle by the architectural writer R.W. Sexton, said of the Barrett House: "Located on the crest of the Pacific Palisades, against a backdrop of peculiar charm, the house of George E. Barrett, at Los [sic] Pulgas Canyon, Los Angeles, California, has been designed by John Byers, architect and Edla Muir, associate, to reflect the rugged character of the its site and thereby to enhance and in no way detract from the rare beauty of the natural landscape. The property on which the house is located, which was a part of one of the original Spanish settlements, consists of seventy acres on one side of a public boulevard [Sunset Boulevard], with an additional forty acres flanking a canyon down to the sea on the other side. The grounds have been beautifully landscaped, with wide open spaces, sometimes as large as an acre or two in extent, set out as lawns, flanked with flowers and shrubs characteristic of the locality, and bridle trails, winding between the sycamores and native oaks in the natural wood areas, leading from one beauty spot to another." (See R.W. Sexton, "An Up-to-Date House in the California Hills," Arts and Decoration, vol. XLV, no. 6, 02/1937, pp. 17, 50.) The Barrett Estate had a groundskeeper who lived in a gate lodge on the property.

As for the house itself, Sexton stated: "With the various materials of which the house is constructed shaped to conform to the character of the Norman-French style of architecture, an entrance tower forms the feature or focal point of the design, while a windmill has been treated as an integral part of the composition. The plan is of the rambling type, thoroughly informal yet well-balanced, and capably meets the owner's individual needs and requirements. The owner's bedroom and two guest rooms are placed on the first floor to the left of the living room, while the service quarters are located in a wing at the right. Aside from a circular bar room on the second floor of the tower and a servants; sitting room the rooms are confined to the first floor." (See R.W. Sexton, "An Up-to-Date House in the California Hills," Arts and Decoration, vol. XLV, no. 6, 02/1937, pp. 50.) Interestingly, the Chateau Du-Val, the apartment building where Barrett lived before he built this Norman estate, also had French stylistic elements, those derived from Chateauesque architecture.

The University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), maintains the John Byers papers, 1917-1955, (Collection #0000115), that contains 12 photographs and 26 drawings documenting the George E. Barrett House. According to the Online Archive of California (OAC): "26 original architectural drawings primarily in the form of details. Drawings include: floor plan, bar sections, barbecue elevations, and a plan for the weather vain. The folder is also comprised of detail drawings for the following elements: bar room ceiling, stair railing, bookcases, terrace, dining and breakfast room, organ grilles, servants room, fireplaces, gate, entrance hall, and window seat." (See Online Archive of California, California Digital Library.org, "Finding Aid for the John Byers papers, 1917-1955 0000115," accessed 10/31/2018.)


The Mandeville Canyon Fire of 10/1978 fire in this section of the Pacific Palisades may have destroyed the Pacific Palisades Barrett House, along with about 85 neighboring residences. (See LA Conservancy.org, "St. Matthew's Episcopal Church," accessed 11/01/2018.)

PCAD id: 22473