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Originally published Friday, April 26, 2013 at 8:00 PM

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‘Jaws house’ for sale

Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright’s son, the distinctive Sowden House in L.A. has been a setting for TV shows, including some investigating its suspected link to the so-called Black Dahlia murder case in 1947.

Los Angeles Times

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The storied Sowden House, in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles, is listed at $4.888 million.

Set behind gates and obscured from the street by heavy foliage, the unusual-looking residence has sometimes been called the “Jaws house” for its facade, which looks like either a Mayan temple or the open jaws of a shark.

Typical of Lloyd Wright designs, beyond the original copper entry door are stairs and a tight hallway, creating a feeling of compression before opening up to the living spaces within.

The 1927 structure is made of so-called textile blocks, patterned concrete blocks also favored by the architect’s father, Frank Lloyd Wright. The designs depict water, earth and air.

A later addition to the five-bedroom, six-bathroom house is a pool in the long center courtyard. The living room near the front of the house and master bedroom at the back make the most of this inward-looking garden view.

Seller Stephen Finkelstein has enjoyed the 5,600-square-foot house for his personal use and rented it out for photo shoots and low-key events. “It earns enough to pay for itself,” he said.

The distinctive house has been used in the film “Ruby Sparks” and the series “Californication.”

Suspicions that the house could be the site where 22-year-old Elizabeth Short was killed in 1947 have brought reality shows and a few kooks to Finkelstein’s door.

The so-called Black Dahlia case also has drawn “Paranormal America” and “Ghost Hunters” crews.

Finkelstein bought the house as an investment in 2011 for $3.85 million, with a three- to five-year horizon in mind before selling.

Seeing the market heat up for high-end historic properties, the industrial hygienist decided the time was right to put it on the market.


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