Gilded Chambers

A grand coffee-table book peers into the opulent homes of the Los Angeles architect Paul R. Williams

The enormous chandeliers and sweeping staircases in the houses of Paul R. Williams are as over the top as the celebrities who commissioned them. In Paul R. Williams: Classic Hollywood Style, written by Williams’s granddaughter Karen E. Hudson and due out this month from Rizzoli (240 pages, $65), images of the residences of such Old Hollywood elite as director Otto Preminger, actress ZaSu Pitts, and actor Bert Lahr fill its pages. The first African American to become a member of the American Institute of Architects, Williams created a body of work that includes the Beverly Hills Hotel, public housing at Nickerson Gardens in Watts, and the master plan for LAX. Highlighted in this book are his homes from the 1920s through the ’50s, many rendered in colonial, Georgian, and Spanish revival styles that still grace neighborhoods from Los Feliz to Bel-Air.

Photograph by Benny Chan, from Paul R. Williams: Classic Hollywood Style/ © rizzoli 2012