“Man isn’t so smart. Thousands of years before he began to have afternoon headaches from trying to think, the desert tortoise had a streamlined body, turret top, retractable landing gear, and a portable house,” reads a lesson from the Desert Rat Scrap Book of Spadena House architect, Harry Oliver. Before Oliver’s 1946 inauguration of the publication, he was an art director in Hollywood where his ability to materialize his visions was recognized with two Academy Award nominations.
The Spadena House was originally built in 1921 as a set for a witch’s house at the Irvin Willat Film Studio in Culver City. In 1934, it was moved to Beverly Hills and converted into a private residence. This is how the most famous example of Storybook Style architecture came to be at the corner of Walden and Carmelita.