Photographer: Maynard L. Parker, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California
Though he is often called the “architect to the stars” Paul R. Williams might just as easily been known as renovator to the stars. Many of his design projects beginning in the 1930s involved major face-lifts for some of the legendary landmarks of Hollywood including restaurants and hotels. The owners of these buildings knew Williams’ aesthetic sense would allow them to modernize and update without sacrificing the élan of the original.
During the post World War II period while Williams was busy designing affordable homes for returning veterans and luxurious estates in Beverly Hills and Hollywood, he continued to renovate or redesign pre-existing residences for clients. In 1946 he altered the home of newly divorced actress Jennifer Jones (Phylis Lee Isley) creating an elegant retreat for the shy and often reclusive star. Though Jones won an Academy Award and would marry one of the most powerful men in films, producer David O. Selznick, she preferred living an isolated life in the midst of Hollywood.