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It’s nowhere near the highest price ever paid for a single-family home in L.A.’s historic and historically hoity-toity Hancock Park neighborhood — that honor goes to a the baronial red-brick Tudor Nickelodeon president Brian Robbins sold in early 2020 for $19 million — but the recent $13.8 million sale of a fashionably rehabbed Italian Renaissance Revival-style mansion that anchors a prominent corner of the exclusive neighborhood does represent the to-date highest amount paid this year for a single-family home in that particularly fancy-pants part of town.
Completed in 1930, the grandly proportioned house was built for prominent L.A. developer Joseph A. DeBell — he gifted 100 acres to the city of Burbank in 1954, which he then developed into the DeBell Golf Course, and tax records show the nearly two-third-acre spread was sold by real estate developer and hospitality entrepreneur Lorenzo Boucetta and his wife Kaya Boucetta. Though the Boucettas, who bought the place in 2018 for $7.2 million, spent considerable time and money transforming the vintage estate into a showplace for modern family life, the couple decided to move house when the opportunity arose to purchase a property they’d previously rented in the Holmby Hills area of Los Angeles.
The new owners of the Hancock Park mansion are married television writer/producers Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil, she a writer on the late 1990s TV series Moesha, and the creator of the long-running early Aughts sitcom Girlfriends, and its spinoff The Game, before she and Salim co-created, developed, wrote, directed and/or produced the ill-fated series Love Is…, the successful series Being Mary Jane and, most recently, Black Lightning, the latter a superhero series based on a character of the same name in the DC Comics publications.
Elegantly embellished with carved eave supports, arched windows and carved stone columns on either side of the front door, the imposing manse spans close to 10,000 square feet with four bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms, plus an attached one-bedroom guesthouse with a full kitchen and 1.5 baths.
Throughout the house, carefully preserved original details are mixed and matched with modern-day creature comforts and a pared-down contemporary décor. A clean-lined chandelier makes a striking 1960s counterpoint to the grand, double-height foyer’s graphically painted coffered ceiling, floridly curlicued wrought iron stair railing and a regal black-and-white checkerboard marble floor.
Nearly floor-to-ceiling arched windows ensure the formal living room, with its minimalistic black-marble fireplace, is bathed in natural light. The house also offers a den that spills out to the backyard, a gym and a professional-grade home theater along with what marketing materials describe as “a library learning lounge” and a “child learning space.”
Elaborate plaster moldings in some of the rooms, as in the dining room, have been restored and/or re-created, while a hidden bar in the living room showcases hand-painted wallpaper from the 1920s.
Eschewing the customary white marble counters and Shaker-style cabinets found in homes all across America, the Italian-designed kitchen is sleek and shiny as a Ferrari with two huge stainless-steel islands.
A gated porte cochere leads to a graveled motor court and three-car garage, and the landscaped grounds include high-hedging, vast lawns and, of course, a swimming pool.
Tax records reveal the Akils maintain a fairly extensive, bi-coastal property portfolio that includes: a two-bedroom 1920s bungalow in a Hancock Park-adjacent neighborhood they picked up in 1996 for $255,000; a four-bedroom contemporary squirreled down a private lane in the mountains above Beverly Hills that they acquired in 2014 for $3.425 million; and a two-bedroom and 2.5-bath condo in a recently built building in New York’s Lower East Side neighborhood that was scooped up just over two years ago for a bit more than $2.5 million.
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