Take a tour of a Silver Lake mansion before Dov Charney called it home

The large gray mansion with steeply-pitched roofs that crowns a Silver Lake hilltop is now best known as the home of American Apparel founder Dov Charney, who has attracted notoriety for hosting employee meetings in his bedroom. But decades before Charney moved, the nearly 12,000-square foot home served as the home for the family of industrialist Frank Garbutt, who built the house in the late 1920s.  In 1981, the home was restored and was declared a national historic monument as the hilltop around it was developed for a gated community called Hathaway Hill Estates.  Unless you get an invite from Dov Charney, there’s no way you can even get past the Hathaway Hills guard house to enjoy the 360-degree views from the Garbutt mansion, which now sits amid  1980s tract houses. But, the video above allow you to tour the Charney-Garbutt estate after it was  renovated 30 years ago. The bottom video shows the house under renovation – check out the tiled kitchen, painted elevator doors and what seems like a bidet in every bathroom.  Want more Garbutt? There’s even a pre-renovation video.

The videos accompanied a story in Echo Park Patch that notes the house remains closed to the public despite its landmark status. If only Dov would let us in for a quick peek.


  1. The house can be seen in the silly movie Count Yorga, Vampire from 1970.

  2. So this is where they are going to find Dov Charney’s body in a bathtub with a straw up his nose with a young poor under dressed hipster girl draped over him. Que interesante

  3. I’m sorry, but these videos suck, they couldn’t get better quality? You can’t even see what is going on! Oh well.


      Sorry about the quality of these three videos but they were converted from 30 year old VCR tapes. Colors had blured together so I had to reduce them before converting the tapes to digital form. Some of the material was so damaged that it only produced a blue (blank) screen and had to be edited out.
      Gary (my partner) passed away on May 4, 1991. I currently live in the Palm Springs, California area and am processing other material from our remodeling and restoration past that include the Morey Mansion in Redlands, California and the Maharajah House in Santa Ana, California.

      • Mary Stewart-Vasquez

        I visited this house when you and Gary were restoring it. My brother, Neil Stewart, brought me to the house and either you or Gary gave us the tour. Fantastic house as is the Morey Mansion.

  4. I used to hike around there as a child. The hippies that lived in that house would let us in to check it out

  5. i spent 10 days straight doing photo shoots with female models in this house i did not have to ask the female models to pose nude they demanded to photographed nude

  6. I always saw this house from a distance and wondered
    how it looked. Finally got a peek at it, thanks for the
    tour. Maybe others will share pictures later.

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