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Disney's Iger helps stop demolition of Williams-designed house

November 06, 2013|By Martha Groves
  • Workers had already begun dismantling a Brentwood house designed by Paul R. Williams when city officials issued a stop-work order Wednesday.
Workers had already begun dismantling a Brentwood house designed by Paul… (Lisa Mesdag )

A Brentwood house designed by famed architect Paul R. Williams was saved from demolition at the last moment Wednesday when city building officials issued a stop-work order to crews who had already begun dismantling the structure.

Disney Chief Executive Robert Iger, who lives nearby in a restored Williams house, was among neighbors who alerted the city to the imminent razing.

Late Tuesday, the city's Office of Historic Resources informed the owner, Robert Hanasab, that it was initiating an application to designate the house as a local landmark, said Ken Bernstein, principal city planner and manager of the Historic Resources office.

The traditional, one-story house at 7 Oakmont Drive was built in 1940 and is a relatively rare example of a smaller home by Williams, the first African American member of the American Institute of Architects.

"I think that was part of the argument for significance," Bernstein said. "Many Williams homes were grand period-revival-style architecture. He worked less frequently in traditional ranch style."

Iger said he did a lot of "last-minute work with L.A. City Planning" to stop the demolition. Willow Bay, his wife, and Lisa Mesdag, a neighbor, were among those who "stood in front of the bulldozers," said Will Mesdag, president of the Oakmont Homeowners Assn.

Hanasab could not be reached for comment.

Designation would not necessarily forestall demolition but would require the owner to go through a review process.

Years ago, the single-story home was used by Michelle Pfeiffer and David Kelley as a guest house. They lived next door in a larger Williams house that they restored.

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martha.groves@latimes.com

Twitter: @MarthaGroves

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