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The “L.A. Story” Fundraiser House

May 7th, 2013 | By | Category: Movie Locations

L.A. Story fundraiser house (10 of 10)

Another L.A. Story location that I was desperate to track down was the sloped-roof residence where Harris K. Telemacher (Steve Martin) and Sara McDowel (Victoria Tennant) attended a “private art museum” fundraiser in the 1991 comedy.  Because the home was so architecturally unique, I was sure that it would be an easy find.  I was wrong.  After scouring countless online film location libraries and architectural databases and coming up empty-handed, I decided that I needed to call for reinforcements.  I sent a few screen captures to Geoff, from the 90210Locations website, to see if he recognized the place and, as luck would have it, he did!  During a visit to Los Angeles a couple of years back, Geoff and his wife had done some sight-seeing in the Palos Verdes area.  They happened to drive by the L.A. Story house that day and took note of it due to its distinctive roof.  All Geoff had to do was retrace their steps and, voila, he found the place in a snap.  Yay!  So I ran right out to the South Bay to stalk it while in L.A. two weekends ago.

In real life, the residence is known as the Bowler house, named for John Bowler, the industrial building contractor who commissioned it.  The dwelling, which was constructed in 1963, was designed by Lloyd Wright, son of legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright, and was composed of concrete, glass and Santa Maria stone.  Lloyd also designed all of the property’s furnishings (which were angled to match the design of the house), cabinetry and vast landscaping.

L.A. Story fundraiser house (2 of 10)

L.A. Story fundraiser house (3 of 10)

Thanks to the triangular, pitched roof, which was manufactured out of blue corrugated fiberglass, the property is also sometimes called the Bird of Paradise house, which is something of a misnomer, as Lloyd had actually based the design on a diamond module.

L.A. Story fundraiser house (4 of 10)

L.A. Story fundraiser house (5 of 10)

The residence, which was renovated by Eric Lloyd Wright, Lloyd’s son, in 1991, features 3,904 square feet of living space, 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, a library, a formal dining room, a master suite, a laundry room, an in-ground swimming pool, separate guest quarters, and a 0.89-acre plot of hilltop land boasting 180-degree ocean views.  The site was put on the market in mid-2008 for $2.5 million and wound up selling in January 2009 for $1.895 million.  You can check out the real estate listing and some great interior photographs of the house here.

L.A. Story fundraiser house (6 of 10)

L.A. Story fundraiser house (7 of 10)

In L.A. Story, Harris and Sara head to the Bowler house to attend a formal fundraising dinner in which a man is trying to raise city funds to found an art museum that will not be open to the public.  LOL  Pictured below are the screen captures that I sent to Geoff when I asked for his help in tracking down the residence.  It is amazing to me that he was able to recall a home pictured in dark, very limited screenshots simply from driving past it several years back.  My hat is definitely off to him!



The real life interior of the home also appeared in the scene.



On a side-note – I would like to wish a HUGE congratulations to my girl Pinky Lovejoy, of the Thinking Pink blog, who not only just got a big promotion at work (she can now get herself – and me! – into Disneyland for FREE anytime she wants!), but, most exciting, also recently got engaged . . . to Keith Coogan (yes, that Keith Coogan!).  I am over-the-moon happy for her and wish her and Keith all the joy in the world!


I got to meet Keith this weekend (at Disneyland) and I cannot express how much fun it was to run around quoting lines from Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead with him.  When he randomly said, “Rock and roll!” at one point during the day, I just about died!  He is also really into filming locations, so, Pinky, I approve.  You chose well!  Winking smile

Keith Coogan (1 of 1)

You can find me on Facebook here and on Twitter at @IAMNOTASTALKER.  And be sure to check out my other blog, The Well-Heeled Diabetic.

Big THANK YOU to Geoff, from the 90210Locations website, for finding this location!  Smile

L.A. Story fundraiser house (8 of 10)

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  Smile

Stalk It: The Bird of Paradise house, aka the L.A. Story fundraiser house, is located at 3456 Via Campesina in Rancho Palos Verdes.



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  1. Dorene Bowler Sullivan says:

    Wow, what a trip! I was just going down the rabbit hole of the internet, clicking on things that interested me, when I came upon a picture of my uncle’s house. My dad, William Bowler, was John Bowler’s younger brother (the family all called him Jack). I grew up attending family gatherings there. My cousin Mike, Jack’s youngest son, and I used to play Hide and Seek all over that house. There’s a great place to hide in the master bedroom; a hidden door that goes behind the fireplace. My aunt and uncle used to store their suitcases there. I remember the first prototype chair for the dining room table. It had some bugs to work out as it was top heavy and would fall over backward when you stood up. The house was really a gift from my uncle to my aunt. Theirs’ was a great love story and he built it for her. When she passed away in 2000, he didn’t want to live in it without her. My uncle sold the house and passed away in 2003. Seeing the picture of it just brought back such a flood of memories. Thank you

  2. Awwww, thank you! 🙂 We had a blast with you (as always) and I’m glad you approve (although, really, how could you not? He’s freaking adorable). 🙂 Love you!

Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. […] K. Telemacher (Steve Martin) and Sara McDowel (Victoria Tennant) walked and talked after attending a fundraiser for a private art museum in the 1991 flick.  Unfortunately though, because the movie was lensed over twenty years ago and […]

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