BACKSTORY: Built in 1925, The Los Altos Apartments began as a co-op and were later used as a luxury apartment and hotel catering to stars like Clara Bow, Bette Davis, Mae West, Douglas Fairbanks, and William Randolph Hearst. The Spanish Colonial-style building went bankrupt during the Great Depression and fell into disrepair. In 1993, a local housing group Neighborhood Effort rescued the structure from demolition and obtained national historic site status by tracking down its original parts and design details such as floor tiles, doorknobs, and colors.
Los Angeles-based architectural firm M2A was rehabilitated the 75-unit structure to its former glory. The firm restored or recreated Los Altos’ original light fixtures, hardware, carpets, plaster work, awnings, and ornamental iron work. Today, Los Altos is the home to rising artists, screenwriters, and actors. In 1999, Los Altos received several preservation design awards from the California Preservation Foundation and the Los Angeles Conservancy. The landmark also received a Historic Preservation Award of Excellence from the city of Los Angeles. The Los Altos Apartments are now listed on the National Historic Register. The exterior was used in the TV Series, “Angel,” and called the Hyperion Apartments.