El Cabrillo, built in 1928, is a landmark Hollywood Spanish revival courtyard building by Arthur & Nina Zwebell that has undergone a meticulous restoration by designer Xorin Balbes. Units incorporate original tile, ironwork & fixtures with modern conveniences like central air, fully-appointed kitchens & washer/dryer. Owners also qualify for Mills Act for property tax relief.
After completing the Rhonda in 1927, Arthur & Nina Zwebell moved their building activity east, designing the El Cabrillo in Hollywood. Built by Cecil B. DeMille, El Cabrillo looks to be a judicious attempt to Duplicate the Andalusia at a different site and in a different material.The massing of the two buildings is identical. As a corner building, however, El Cabrillo, was originally entered from both streets. Unfortunately because of street widening, the main entry has been closed altogether. The building configuration on the sidewalk has been altered considerably.
El Cabrillo is not built in wood and stucco, as are virtually all the other Zwebell courts. Instead, a concrete block, nonstandard in size, was used to create an adobe affect. The ten units follow the Zwebell pattern of incorporating two story living rooms, mezzanines and graceful staircases. All the dwelling interiors are skillfully molded in light with a variety of window openings. Small lunette windows in the upper part of the living room spaces are especially effective.
El Cabrillo was intended as a place of residence for both transient and permanent members of the Hollywood scene. One of the Talmadge sisters lived here. Hollywood lore claims Cecil B. De Mille's built this for his daughter Frances. At least one of Rudolph Valentino's films is alleged to have used El Cabrillo as a stage set. Actress Ann Harding leased one of the front apartments in 1928 for $500 per month, a very high rental rate at the time. Other notable residents have included director Lowell Sherman, Perc Westmore, and writer John Willard.