AKA: Stratham, Louis D., House, Holmby Hills, Los Angeles, CA; Hefner, Hugh, House, Holmby Hills, Los Angeles, CA

Structure Type: built works - dwellings - houses

Designers: Austin, F.P. and Company, Interior Design (firm); Estep and Kelly, Associated Architects (firm); Frank Parker Austin (interior designer); Joseph Morgan Estep (architect); Arthur Rolland Kelly (architect)

Dates: constructed 1927

2 stories, total floor area: 14,217 sq. ft.

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10236 Charing Cross Road
Holmby Hills, Los Angeles, CA 90024-1815

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This Elizabethan residence was designed in the mid-1920s by the firm of Estep and Kelly for Arthur Letts, Jr., (1891-1959),the son of the owner of the Broadway Department Store and a major backer of the Bullock's Department Store. The Letts Family also owned 400 acres of land in West Los Angeles, what was developed to become the Holmby Hills and Westwood neighborhoods. This residence would be owned by inventor Louis D. Statham (d. 1983) and, later, gain its greatest fame as the Playboy Mansion controlled by Hugh Hefner (b. 1927).

Building History

Arthur Letts, Sr., passed away in 1923, and his son took his inheritance to build this grand, English revivalist fantasy for himself on land owned by the family in what would become the posh Holmby Hills neighborhood. The Englishness of its design was appropriate for the Letts Family, as the father had been born in Holdenby, England. While not a copy, the house had a stylistic kinship with Holdenby's grandest residence, Holdenby Hall, owned by Sir Christopher Hatton (1540-1591), a court favorite of Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603).

Inventor Loius D. Statham, founder of Statham Instruments, owned the house after World War II, just before Playboy Enterprises founder Hugh Hefner, who purchased it in 1971 for about $1 million. In 2016, the Hefner Family put the house on the market for $200 million, with the proviso that Hugh get to reside in the house for the rest of his life. The asking price was purposely high, and had little chance of being realized. Hefner died of cardiac arrest and respiratory failure in the Playboy Mansion on 09/27/2017 at the age of 91.

Building Notes

The house's five acres of land had a taxable value of $31,980,148, the improvements on it, $3,198,014. While the main house had about 14,000 square feet of space, other buildings on the property pushed the total to approximately 22,000 square feet. The estate included a four-bedroom guesthouse, notoroius pleasure grotto, swimming pool, gymnasium, theatre, tennis court, and small zoo. The mansion was one of very few private homes in the US to have a zoo license.


An extensive alteration occurred in 1947, according to the LA County Office of the Assessor.

PCAD id: 4625