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Issue: Summer 2021

Villa Felix

By Nyla Arslanian


Multi-million dollar homes are a common commodity throughout the greater Hollywood area and beyond.  Considering that the astonishing average cost of single family homes in Los Angeles County exceeds $700,000, it's surprising that even during a pandemic buyers are snapping up homes, often having to compete as realtors field multiple offers.  

According to real estate broker Jay Schoenfeldt, who specializes in residential and multi-family properties, "We are in an unprecedented sellers’ market; the current market demand is absolutely in their favor. One out of three recent home sales in Los Feliz, Hollywood Hills, Hancock Park, and West Hollywood sold for more than the list price. Updated and move-in-ready properties are the most in demand and it's common to see these sell at 15 percent or more above list price.” 

Always on the lookout for exceptional properties to feature, one of the most distinctive properties to come on the market recently, tweaked our interest—not because of its provenance, architecture or even a past celebrity owner—but because it is a project of a noted fashion designer.     

Renamed Villa Felix, this extraordinary 6,106 square foot, six-bedroom, eight-bath home is a rambling 1928 Spanish-style Andalusian hacienda with vintage Hollywood glamour—exquisitely reimagined by renowned Hollywood fashion designer Sue Wong—is causing quite a stir. No stranger to Hollywood glamour, Wong incorporated her fashion sense with her love of the Golden Age. What better place to put this amalgam of style to work than this exceptional treasure from the past?

The sense of style and glamour is Sue Wong’s stock in trade. No stranger to restoring historic properties, in 2004, she acquired The Cedars, a hilltop villa in Los Feliz, originally built in 1926 for French film director and screenwriter Maurice Tourneur and—it’s said—rented by legendary actress Norma Talmadge. 

Born in a remote country village in Southern China, Sue and her family immigrated to Los Angeles. The daughter of struggling immigrants, there was no budget for toys. Sue would create her own paper dolls and their entire lavish wardrobe. She started making her own clothes when she was nine years old using her mother’s Singer sewing machine. Chosen to be a member of the May Company Teen Board, she had the opportunity to work in various capacities including modeling, window display and merchandising.


Sue Wong designed the "Tree of Life" stained glass window as the focal point of the villa.

While pursuing her Fashion Degree, she apprenticed with resource brand Arpeja, eventually becoming its head designer and increasing its sales from $5 million to $50 million. Sue Wong launched her namesake brand with an initial collection of day dresses and separates to critical acclaim in 1985. In 1999, she introduced more elaborate evening wear, a move that firmly established her signature style of haute glamour, femininity and romantic vintage sensibilities. Her celebrity clientele includes Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Biel, Vanessa Minnillo, Kelly Osbourne, and Tyra Banks. In 2019, a sensational exhibit of her fashion was on display at the L.A. Art Show.


Exterior of Villa Felix

Wong describes herself as a visual artist and creative intuitive. She rose in the fashion industry without formal education in the field. Following her own star in fashion as well as real estate, her latest creation, Villa Feliz reflects her attention to beauty and detail. 

The resort-style home sits on a sun-draped 15,000 square foot corner lot near the entrance to Griffith Park’s Ferndell. Every detail was envisioned to elevate the house to a “Living Canvas of Art.” Touring the residence, it is obvious that Wong used the home as a canvas for her palette of jewel tones, whimsical tile work and attention to detail. Nowhere does this house show its age. From the gracious flow of entertainment spaces on its main level to the spacious bedrooms above, this is a home built for all the fun and excitement that the Roaring 20s could muster.

Set on lush, parklike grounds with ancient sycamore trees providing shade and connection to Griffith Park’s Ferndell Canyon directly across the street, there’s ample room to enjoy the outdoor patio and nearby pool. With ample grounds surrounding the home, there’s a lawn with plenty of space for kids and pets, artistically designed succulent plantings and even a tinkling tile-studded fountain—all designed by Wong.

Staging—that is, furnishing—a home for sale is a required expense for a seller. What makes the Villa Feliz a standout is that the home has been reimagined and furnished by noted fashion designer Sue Wong herself and all furnishings are available. Should a prospective buyer choose, they can purchase an entire furnished, turnkey home. From the Klimt-inspired stain glass window to the tile work throughout the home, every detail is a fully executed reflection of Sue Wong’s notable style.

This remarkable property epitomizes Wong’s life view and the importance of one’s environment.        

“I always advise that one should pay attention to one’s surroundings...because paintings, photos, designed and living spaces on the whole are all art. It’s therefore important for everyone to surround themselves with all forms of beauty that in turn fuel and inspire their own sense of well-being, creativity and lifestyle. Beautiful environments are inspiring spaces where creativity can flow freely. I design furnishings and living spaces as sanctuaries invoking a continuous process of self-healing and transformation.”

Listed at $5,995,000, Markus Canter of St. James/Canter of Beverly Hills has the listing (310) 704-4248; Email: markus@stjamescanter.com.