Snag One of Harry Gesner’s Boat Houses in the Hollywood Hills for $920K

Snag One of Harry Gesner’s Boat Houses in the Hollywood Hills for $920K

By Jennifer Baum Lagdameo
Here’s a rare chance to own one of eight historic homes designed by Harry Gesner and built by Norwegian shipbuilders in 1959.

Self-taught architect Harry Gesner grew up surfing in Southern California, and the ocean had a clear influence on his work—from his famous Wave House (topped with a cresting roofline that reportedly inspired the Sydney Opera House) to the Sandcastle. In the late 1950s, however, seafaring vessels served as this visionary architect’s inspiration.

Designed by Harry Gesner and built by Norwegian shipbuilders in the late 1950s, the home features hard-to-find materials, original woodwork, and a spectacular view.

7149 Woodrow Wilson Drive is the only one of the boat houses with windows on the side.

Gesner constructed eight boat-shaped homes with the help of Norwegian shipbuilders who "reportedly shaped the wood structural members and finishes with handaxes rather than saws," according to the Los Angeles Conservatory. The interiors of the homes are clad in wood and feature angled ceilings and built-in furniture—making for a very nautical vibe.

The angular construction and glazed panels add to the boat-like vibe.

Sliding glass doors lead out to the deck, while a standalone fireplace keeps the living area cozy.

Perched high in the Hollywood Hills, the boat houses are striking from a distance as they uniformly cantilever out over the steep terrain. And while the exteriors all appear the same, 7149 Woodrow Wilson Drive is special, according to listing agent Justin Freeling. "This particular boat house is the only one with built-in windows on the side that take in views from the San Fernando Valley to the Hollywood Hills, the Hollywood sign, and beyond," he says. "It’s rare that something so unique comes up at this price point."

The open-plan living space includes room for a dining area.

A view looking into the living room from the deck. The home features new cork floors throughout. 

Set on a narrow lot, the cozy 1,136-square-foot two-bedroom, one-bath home features an open plan with new cork floors, an updated kitchen and bath, and sliding glass doors leading out to the deck. Downstairs, there is a large primary bedroom with exposed-beam ceilings and a wall of windows, and there’s a lofted space perfect for a home office or a secondary bedroom. Scroll ahead for a closer look inside.

According to a 1959 Los Angeles Times article, "the architect’s design aimed to combine the relaxed feeling of a Tahitian hut with the strength and friendly warmth of a mountain cabin."

The updated kitchen receives natural light via a skylight, and certainly feels like it could be the galley on a boat.

The stairs leading to the lower level. 

Downstairs, the large primary bedroom features exposed-beam ceilings and a wall of windows that frames a killer view.

Exposed beams are part of the original design.

The second bedroom is tucked away in a loft-like alcove.

The updated shower features penny tiles. 

The entrance and carport of 7149 Woodrow Wilson Drive.

The boathouses cantilever out over a steep slope in the Hollywood Hills. 

7149 Woodrow Wilson Drive in Los Angeles, California, is currently listed for $920,000 by Justin Freeling and Rob Kallick of Take Sunset at Compass.

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