An Architectural Gem from Another Era Enjoys a Face-lift While Retaining Its Historical Authenticity
A thoughtful renovation.
The illustrious history of celebrity enclave Toluca Lake and its prominent allure that continues today are perfectly exhibited by the Klump Estate on Forman Avenue. Sited at the heart of the community—across from Bing Crosby’s former estate, around the corner from the massive compound owned by Bing’s buddy Bob Hope, and a quick stroll to bustling Riverside Drive near famed director Garry Marshall’s Falcon Theatre—this classic Spanish Revival home guarded by 10 towering palm trees has enjoyed tremendous curb appeal and a coveted location for the past 100 years.
Built in 1926 by Toluca Lake pioneer William Klump, the residence has been an iconic landmark in the community from day one. As Hollywood royalty moved into this burgeoning neighborhood, they solicited top-drawer architects to design their homes. The Klump Estate sits solidly among the pantheon of Toluca Lake’s famed architectural gems. After Klump passed away, the property remained in the family but wasn’t lived in … and thus lost much of its original luster.
Fortunately, in this day and age when so much of the Valley’s history is being demolished in favor of indistinguishable East Coast Cape Cods and “modern farmhouses,” a 2015 renovation completely modernized the home’s functional systems yet critically retained all of its resplendent charm and grandeur. It features an open, modern kitchen and great room, as well as a superb master suite with a large walk-in closet. The thoughtful renovation preserved the wrought iron railings, arched windows and curved doorways. Walls are thick plaster, and the gorgeous lighting fixtures and sconces hearken back to another era.
A new generation has enjoyed dwelling in this stellar residence. Current owners Ward Carpenter and Russell Hicks describe their favorite aspects of living in this historic home. “I fell in love with the lore of the grand gatherings that took place in this house,” remarks Carpenter, a medical professional. “I could sense that a loving family lived here, and the meticulous renovation took great pains and expense to maintain that elevated lifestyle.”
The house abounds in luxury. “I appreciate how the master suite has the space to accommodate our needs,” Hicks shares, referring to the large walk-in closet and spacious bathroom. “But I really love how they built the master bedroom fireplace to match the other original fireplaces throughout the house.”
Original hardwood flooring runs throughout this private estate, and carved wood beams grace the ceilings. There are four fireplaces, some bordered by authentic Calco tile.
Carpenter and Hicks appreciate the expansive grounds and walled perimeters for their three large dogs. There is a veritable orchard of orange and lemon trees. Longtime area residents recall the younger Klump family members serving fresh-squeezed lemonade to passersby. The mature olive and oak trees add to the homespun character and also add refreshing shade.
The compound enjoys multiple points of access, with a single-car driveway on the northern portion of the property perfect for welcoming business associates to the adjacent office. The elaborate wooden beams and original fireplace preserve the sense that innovative and important business was conducted here. A detached guest unit above the garage comes complete with a kitchen.
Timeless charm abounds throughout the house. From niches that display intriguing sculptures to bejeweled hardware and intricate wrought iron staircase railings, the home appeals to those who appreciate quality materials and craftsmanship.
The huge arched windows allow generous streams of light to enter. Nowhere is this more realized than the upstairs sitting room, where the view of the Valley expanse is the perfect accompaniment to enjoying a cup of afternoon tea—now, as in decades past.
The floor plan presents ample secondary bedrooms and bathrooms that retain the look and feel of Klump’s original vision. The dual staircases connect all corners of the house and make this grand estate feel like a cohesive cozy home. The basement with daylight windows is ideal for a studio exec to screen their latest movie release or a Hollywood musician to record an album. All of the mechanical systems were also updated.
The entire estate provides great space for entertaining. A sun-drenched circular porch off the formal living room lends itself to sipping a hot cup of coffee in the morning and a cool cocktail while the soft glow of the sunset descends over the Valley. A newly remodeled pool is tucked in the corner of the yard, framed by more historic trees. The immediate feel is that of a luxury boutique hotel.
Kevin Dees of The Agency, local resident and co-listing agent for the property, was familiar with the house when he was a kid growing up in Toluca Lake. “My dad and I would walk by the house, and because the family didn’t live there, there was always this mystery about it. Now that I’ve had the pleasure to be inside, it’s so amazing to see the transformation and how this extraordinarily rare renovation is here in this neighborhood.”
A creative lair, indeed.
The adventurous staycation.