The Witch House, or the Spaneda House, as it is also known, has a rich history. Located at 516 Walden Dr in Beverly Hills this storybook house is extremely iconic and appeared in the movie Clueless.
With an estimated value of nearly $7 million dollars, the house has over 3,500 square feet and boasts 3 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms.
The exact year the house was built is of some dispute, but it was either in 1920 or 1921.
Harry Oliver, an art director who worked on over 30 movies between the years 1919 and 1938, designed it for Willat Studios in Culver City. Willat used it as a set in a few silent movies including Hansel and Gretel (1923).
When not being used as a movie set it was a storage space, a dressing room, or an office depending on the need at any given time.
In 1924, Willat Studios planned to demolish the building. Ward Lascelle, one of the producers who worked with Willats, bought the house and in 1926 it was moved to its current location in Beverly Hills and transformed into a functioning house.
In 1938, Ward’s wife Lillian kept the house in their divorce. She married a man with the last name Spaneda. Over the years the house became known as the Spaneda house because of its owners.
The house was sold in 1965 and by the time it hit the market again in 1997, it had fallen into disrepair. A real estate agent named Michael Libow purchased the home. He did minor remodeling to the exterior and major remodeling to the interior.
“The exterior looked similar. It always had that Gingerbread-house-in-Bavaria look to it. The entire interior, unfortunately, had the look of a bad tract home from the 1960s with sliding glass doors and recipe tiles adorning the kitchen, red shag carpet throughout, electric fireplaces, and super low cottage cheese ceilings in many rooms.”
“I worked with a fantastic film production designer named Nelson Coates and an equally wonderful landscape designer, Jane Marshall; they were able to draft things that I couldn’t. The ceilings in the living room, den, and entry were the same height they are today, but the rest of the house was much, much lower. I used to hit my head in the bedroom hallway. All of the wild hardware comes from J Nicolas Hardware in Corona Del Mar.”
“The expert woodworker who created all the incredible cabinetry, doors, windows and custom built-ins is a film industry veteran named Jim Betts who typically worked with Styrofoam on film sets and was super excited to be able to fabricate items out of solid oak at my home. For the pool, which I put in, I wanted a lagoon style and requested “beach entries” on either side so that I could walk into it without stepping down stairs. The most difficult task was placing each tile on the pool surface. The exact process had never been done before according to my tile expert at Ann Sachs Tile. Each tile was laid in a mosaic pattern individually, not in sheets. All of the glass inside the home was done by James Thomas Stained and Leaded Glass in Studio City, which is owned by Dawna Miceli and her husband, Jim Thomas.”
The house is a Halloween staple and gets between three to four thousand trick-or-treaters in the holiday.
“I hire private security for the night. Police and volunteer officers also maintain control in the area. The surrounding streets are cordoned off as it’s simply too dangerous to have traffic flow when masses of children are in the streets. When I look out from the window on Halloween night, it can be a bit frightening how many people are out front, but it’s an incredible tradition.”