Back in the day, actress Marion Davies’ luxurious beach house in Santa Monica had more than 100 rooms and an ornate swimming pool. Little of the original mansion still exists, but what’s now known as the Annenberg Community Beach House still has plenty of oceanfront allure.
The beach house will mark its fifth anniversary Saturday and Sunday with an open house that is to feature activities as varied as ballroom dancing and paddleboarding lessons.
Guided tours with architects John Berley and Mia Lehrer are scheduled for 10 a.m. each day. The mansion was financed by Davies’ lover, newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, and many grand Hollywood parties were held here, according to a history on the beach house website.
Hearst engaged Julia Morgan to design it; Morgan also designed Hearst Castle in San Simeon, Calif.
Berley and Lehrer were tasked with reimagining much of the site after the 1994 Northridge quake caused severe damage to the few structures that remained. (The original mansion had been demolished in 1956.) It wasn’t until the Annenberg Foundation stepped in with a $ 27.5-million gift that the beach house was reborn.