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Villa d’Este – The “Under the Yum Yum Tree” Apartment Building

Jul 2nd, 2012 | By | Category: Movie Locations

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Thank you to all of my fellow stalkers for putting up with my two recent – and much-needed – blogging hiatuses.  It felt so good to relax and recharge and I will now be back with a vengeance.  Winking smile And now, on with the post!  A couple of months ago, after stalking Romanesque Villa, my girl Marilyn Monroe’s former West Hollywood pad (which I blogged about back in early May), I dragged the Grim Cheaper a few blocks east to Villa d’Este, the idyllic and picturesque apartment building featured in the 1963 film Under the Yum Yum Tree.  I found out about this location thanks to fave stalking book Hollywood: The Movie Lover’s Guide by travel writer Richard Alleman.  And while I had yet to see Under the Yum Yum Tree at the time (nor had I ever even heard of it), since the place was right around the corner from Marilyn’s former building, I figured I might as well stalk it.  And I am so glad that I did because Villa d’Este is nothing short of majestic!  Under the Yum Yum Tree, however, which I finally sat down to watch last week, left quite a lot to be desired.  I found it just a wee bit boring and silly, and I still have yet to figure out what in the heck its odd title means.

But the cat in the movie was awesome, as you can see below, so I guess there’s that.  Winking smile

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Anyway, because Villa d’Este is such a magical place, I decided it was most-definitely blog-worthy.  The property, which was constructed in 1928 and was originally called the “Court of the Fountains”, was designed by brothers F. Pierpont and Walter S. Davis – the so-called “founding fathers of the L.A. courtyard apartment” who also designed the Roman Gardens Apartments in Hollywood, the since-demolished French Village at what is now the entrance to the Cahuenga Pass, and St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral near Exposition Park.  The two-story Italian Renaissance-style building was inspired by the legendary 16th-century villa and gardens of the same name in Tivoli, Italy.

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As you can see below, the detailing of Villa d’Este is nothing short of incredible.  Oh, what I wouldn’t give to live in a place like that!

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Sadly, the building is gated and off-limits to the public, so we were not able to view the interior courtyard.  We did catch a tiny glimpse of it through the front gate, though, and it is simply breathtaking!  I can only imagine how perfect and peaceful it would be to sit there with my laptop, blogging the day away, with no sounds to distract me but the flow of water from the many nearby fountains.  Sigh!

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In a cool twist, Lou Ferrigno’s house from I Love You, Man, which I blogged about here, is visible from the street out in front of the property.

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As is the world-famous Laugh Factory Comedy Club.

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In Under the Yum Yum Tree, Villa d’Este stands in for the Centaur Apartments, where a skirt-chasing landlord named Hogan (Jack Lemmon) rents units to young, naïve, female coeds in the hopes of bedding them.  Only the exterior of the building was used in the movie.

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The lush, tiered interior courtyard that appeared in the flick was just a set – an amazingly huge and detailed set, but a set nonetheless.  I actually almost prefer the onscreen courtyard to its real life counterpart.  It is amazing to me that set design was that advanced back in 1963 when Under the Yum Yum Tree was filmed!  I mean, the faux courtyard pictured below is even more realistic and beautiful than the one that was featured on Melrose Place almost thirty years later!

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The red-hued apartment that Hogan called home was also just a set.

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As was the adorable apartment where Robin Austin (Carol Lynley) and her fiancé, Dave Manning (Dean Jones), lived.  You can check out what the interior of an actual Villa d’Este apartment looks like on fave website CurbedLA here.  Talk about character!  The place just oozes charm!  Back in 2008, when the CurbedLA article was written, a one-bedroom Villa d’Este apartment rented for a cool $3,450 a month, while a two-bedroom went for $4,500.  Yikes!

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Besides being a filming location, Villa d’Este has also been home to countless celebrities over the years, especially during the heyday of Hollywood.  According to my buddy E.J. over at The Movieland Directory website, just a few of the luminaries who have lived there include silent film actresses Pola Negri, Theda Bara, Priscilla Dean, Jetta Goudal, and Mabel Normand, voiceover actor Charles Judels, and legendary director Cecil B. DeMille.

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I mentioned in last Monday’s post that I was about to begin a new project that I was very excited about.  Well, that project is finally off the ground and I would like to share it with my fellow stalkers.  I just started a diabetes blog (because I have so much extra time – ha! Winking smile) called The Well-Heeled Diabetic.  I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes seven years ago and, since that time, have learned a lot about the disease and think I might be able to help others who are afflicted.  If you would like to check it out, you can do so at www.wellheeleddiabetic.com.  And if you happen to know someone who is diabetic, please pass the site along to them.  Smile

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Be sure to “Like” IAMNOTASTALKER on Facebook here and “Friend” me on my personal page here.  You can also check out the IAMNOTASTALKER About Me page here.  And you can follow me on Twitter at @IAMNOTASTALKER.

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Until next time, Happy Stalking!  Smile

Stalk It: Villa d’Este, aka the Centaur Apartments from Under the Yum Yum Tree, is located at 1355 North Laurel Avenue in West Hollywood.   You can visit the building’s official website here.

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One comment

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  1. Joselle Celine says:

    My brother lives across the street. The gates of Villa D’Este were put up only a few years ago. You used to be able to walk right into the lovely courtyard. The fountain you photographed in front starts at the back of the courtyard where it spills into a narrow (about 6″) river that spills into another pond that spills into a narrow river that spills out of the lions mouth in the pond out front. Just spectacular.


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