5730 W. Spring Oak Drive 90068 - Appel House
5730 W. Spring Oak Drive 90068 Los Feliz USA
French Provincial, Historic-Cultural Monument
Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument #1080, declared 1/27/2015
L. B. Clapp, architect
Click here for Los Angeles Department of City Planning Recommendation Report, which has additional details on the property’s architectural and historic significance.
Statement of Significance:
The Appel House, designed by L. B. [Lawrence Bowman] Clapp is located in The Oaks, a neighborhood bordered by Griffith Park at the north; Fern del Drive at the east; Foothill Drive at the south; and Canyon Drive on the west. It is an area which is, and has been, popular with Hollywood’s elite. Subdivision of The Oaks began in the 1920s. Development of The Oaks began in the late 1930s, at the close of the Depression. The Appel House was one of the first to be built in The Oaks since it was the exemplar for the Pacific Construction Finance Co.
The home was designed in the French Provincial style and features stylistic elements displaying exquisite workmanship throughout the home, as shown in the photos accompanying this application. The home is sited on a knoll and is approached by a driveway at the west, at basement level, and by a series of original patterned brick steps and paths to the main floor elevated entry beneath a cutwork metal canopy with cast open work abstract leaves metal corner post at the north. The roof is a fairly steep east/west hipped form with two arched-top dormer vents and a west-end chimney. The west end has another gable running north/south behind the main form of the house with a shed roof over the garage entry. The east end has a north/south hipped form running both forward and behind the main form of the house. The irregularly shaped home frames a patio at the south. At the east end of the façade is a diamond pane curved bay window surrounded by curved panels with carved wood swags across the base of the semi-circular dormer and a brick faced wall below the window. To the west of the entry is an angled diamond pane bay window framed by shutter-like panels and similarly trimmed as the other bay window. Multi-pane windows are graced by narrow blade shutters and quoining at the west corner of the façade, which also trims the far west end of the north/south hipped form finish the north side. The garage has an original cast metal post to the east, a shed roof and a replicated door.
Several mature landscaping examples remain. The south yard is of two levels, connected by steps; and original and replicated retaining walls topped with original cast metal gothic arches fence. The west yard is undergoing some changes.
Interior original details include: a sunken living room to the west of the foyer with an original fireplace and mirror with swaging, panel outlines, a parquet bordered floor, cast plaster moldings, a diamond-pane bay window, and French door to the sun room at the south. The sunken sun room has an original indoor BBQ converted to a fireplace with original gates, an original bar with Bacchanal back-lit bar mirror on west wall and an oval original light fixture above the bar, French doors to the patio, and steps up to the new kitchen with reclaimed articles such as the California cooler. There is a foyer with an original entry door, parquet floor and entry to the powder room with original fixtures, vanity and complex tiled floor. At the east of the foyer, through pocket doors, is the dining room with a dramatic parquet border at the floor, and cast plaster moldings. The original breakfast room retains the original cabinetry and an original ornamented delivery box is to the west of the south/rear entry. The original master complex tiled bath retains its fixtures and exterior vanity at the head of the private hallway. The other original bath also retains tile and most fixtures. A staircase from the private hall leads to the maid’s room and bath at the second/attic level. Original light fixture, door knobs, cabinet hardware are in place throughout the home. All doors and windows are either original or replicated. This historian believes that the Appel House is an exemplar of the French Provincial style.
A startling event took place at the Appel House as soon as the family took residence. Son, Earl, relates the story:
“We moved to Spring Oak around 1939. I was 5 and Richard was 2. Dad was a pioneer on this street. We were one of the first houses on the block. Dad’s first night’s sleep was interrupted by the sounds of creaking and popping noises. He feared that the foundation was not as sound as it should have been. So he had some soil studies done and he found that we were sitting on “fill ground.” His engineers then devised a scaffold and railroad trestle system to move the house onto the adjacent western side [another lot owned by the Appels] of the property while caissons were installed to support the structure. This was a first in its day.”
Interestingly, no grading permits, citations or other documents related to this matter were found in the Los Angeles Department of Building & Safety files. The following is a photograph of the house, on trestles, to the west of the former foundation. The photograph was found in the Appel family archives. (Source: Los Angeles Department of City Planning Recommendation Report)
Built in 1938, this one-plus story, single-family residence exhibits character-defining features of the French Provincial style. The Historic-Cultural monument was designed by Lawrence Bowman Clapp for David Appel, president of Pacific Construction Finance Company, a family-owned home building company which offered design, build, and finance services from 1920 into the 1960s. Appel lived in the home until 1950.
Type: French Provincial Sold
Area: 3,745 sqft
Lot Size: 14,480 sqft
Year Built: 1938