Friendly-fire loss in Malibu

Castle Kashan owned by Lilly Lawrence
Two Malibu outcrops stood out like sore thumbs in the fabled community not lauded for its architecture (or history). Not counting Rockford’s trailer park in Paradise Cove.

The Hughes Aircraft offices sit incredibly in the midst of Malibu’s most expensive estates. Howard Hughes installed his company in Malibu Canyon back when the Malibu Movie Colony stretched only along the beach.

The other standout was a kind of a castle, ramparts, arches and all, built in the 70s and unmatched in garishness, its large faux stones aerated by picture windows to present a visual oxymoron akin to a whiffle ball made of lead. But like a real castle it looked down on everyone, and obviously all had to look up at it.

Lord of the castle was Lilly Lawrence, daughter of an ex-Iranian oil minister and self-proclaimed “international beauty,” who instead of buying an English title at auction, went right for Princess Di’s. From beneficiary of Shah cronyism, Lawrence went to “people’s princess” of Castle Kashan.

If you’ve lived in Malibu, you might wonder why I refer to the castle in the past tense. Although the fire still rages, threatening Sweetwater Canyon from its origin in the Knolls, its first victim is now being described as a “landmark.”

Every time Malibu would suffer a wildfire, residents would lament their neighbor’s losses, particularly the scorched backdrop, but we’d always crane our heads hopeful that this time the flames might reach the castle. Really. You’d curse the fire that caused you to have to pack all your valuables into the car, haul the furniture out to the green lawn where fire would likely never reach it, and leave your home a mess of soot and soggy mud prints from the emergency housemoving. Invariably the fire never consumed the castle, and we would genuinely curse that.

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Eric Verlo

About Eric Verlo

On sabbatical
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2 Responses to Friendly-fire loss in Malibu

  1. The entire SD Balboa Park ‘s fabled Spanish architecture is FAUX, but the 1910 architects had the good taste to copy beauties of Seville. The Malibu faux castle copied the worst of Disney and borrowed the construction technique from Hollywood. Apparently the hollow walls where inhabited by colonies of rats that no one could get at short of puncturing the one inch stucco skin. Three cheers for the rat eradication committees South Cal!

  2. Avatar dave wolf says:

    Eric Verlo is a jackass. He spews venom with out checking facts. He should jump off Pikes Peak and spare us his drivel.

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