Featured Architect: Allen Siple
Allen George Siple was born on July 9, 1900 in Otsego, Michigan. His father, George H. Siple, was Canadian and his mother, Jessie, was from Michigan. In 1924, his father retired to southern California and they moved into a house located at 972 Arapahoe Street, Los Angeles. He graduated from the University of Southern California and the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, France.
Described in the book Forgotten Modern: California Houses 1940-1970 as "a handsome, charming gentleman-architect" who "played the bagpipes and sent his shoes to cobblers in England for repair," Siple also designed camouflage for US defense plants during WWII and later served as the supervising architect for Los Angeles developer Paul Trousdale's Tahquitz River Estates (1947-1952) in Palm Springs, and for Trousdale Estates (1954-1969), in Beverly Hills.
In Los Angeles, Siple worked as an architect for the Janss Investment Company. They were developing the community of Westwood in western Los Angeles. In 1930, Siple designed the W. R. Balsom, Jr., House in Westwood Hills.
In 1932, he designed "The Grove," also known as the "Grove Bungalow Court," located at 10669-10683 Santa Monica Boulevard in Westwood, Los Angeles.
In 1940, Edla Muir (1906-1971) added two rear cottages. The property became a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument in 1987.
In 1935, Siple designed the residence of actress Jane Withers (b. 1926) in Westwood Hills. He designed the private residence of actor and producer Jack Conway (1887-1952) and his wife Virginia at "All Hollows Farm" in Pacific Palisades, California. After Jack Conway's death in 1952, Debbie Reynolds (born 1932) and Eddie Fisher (1928-2010) purchased the property.
From 1940 to 1941, Siple designed the Minewa Bell House located on Linda Flora Drive, in Bel Air, for Minewa Bell (1911-1983), daughter of Alphonzo Bell (1875-1947), the developer of Bel Air. It is a 10-room, Colonial Revival Style mansion.
Later in the 1940s, Siple designed the "Knot Garden House," a Regency Revival mansion with Colonial Revival architecture interiors. The property came with front gardens designed by locally renowned landscape architect Edward Huntsman-Trout (1889-1974).
Also in the 1940s, Siple designed the "South Lanai House," a Monterey Colonial style house.
In 1947, Siple was hired as head architect for Tahquitz River Estates, a new neighborhood development in Palm Springs, California by real estate developer Paul Trousdale (1915-1990). Along with Stephen Stepanian (inventor of the cement mixing truck) and others, Siple designed contemporary ranch floor plans in which outdoor living was promoted by the inclusion of patios with mountain and garden vistas. Trousdale's Tahquitz River Estates homes featured 8 new models in 2-3 bedroom floor plans, each with a fireplace. There was a total of 18 different exterior design elevations to personalize each home.
Siple also designed Paul Trousdale's own private residence in Palm Springs, at Smoketree Ranch.
Siple went on to design houses in Westdale, Los Angeles, another neighborhood developed by Trousdale.
Beginning in 1954, and through most of the 1960s, Siple was the supervising architect for Trousdale Estates in Beverly Hills, California, another new neighborhood developed by Trousdale, on the former Doheny Ranch on the east of Greystone Mansion.