Her convent fight with Katy Perry is legendary. Now restaurateur Dana Hollister lists for $40 million in Silver Lake

Jack Flemming
·4 min read
Built in 1923, the 18,000-square-foot mansion once used as a convent is surrounded by gardens, lawns and a trio of guest cottages.
Built in 1923, the 18,000-square-foot mansion once used as a convent is surrounded by gardens, lawns and a trio of guest cottages. (Neue Focus)

Restaurateur Dana Hollister is responsible for Silver Lake staples such as Cliff’s Edge and 4100 Bar, as well as Brite Spot in nearby Echo Park and Villain’s Tavern in the Arts District. Her next big move is in real estate.

She just listed the Paramour Estate, one of Silver Lake’s largest and most storied properties, for $40 million — a mammoth price tag that is leaps and bounds above the nearby homes nestled in the hills of the scenic neighborhood.

If she gets anywhere close to what she’s asking, it will be the priciest home sale Silver Lake has ever seen. The current crown belongs to Silvertop, a futuristic John Lautner masterpiece that sold to former Beats Electronics President Luke Wood for $8.55 million in 2014.

Like many of L.A.’s iconic homes, the nearly century-old mansion boasts an ownership history as fascinating as the house itself.

Robert D. Farquhar built the lavish residence in 1923, and it sits on 4.3 acres atop the highest promontory in Silver Lake. Farquhar’s other works include Beverly Hills High School, Pasadena’s famed Fenyes Estate and the Owlwood Estate in Holmby Hills, which traded hands for $88 million late last year.

Known formally as the Canfield-Moreno Estate, it was commissioned by silent film star Antonio Moreno and his wife, oil heiress Daisy Canfield Moreno. During their stay, the 22,000-square-foot mansion and its trio of guesthouses were used as a boarding school for orphaned girls during the Great Depression.

After Canfield Moreno died of injuries she sustained in a car accident on Mulholland Drive, the property was eventually sold to the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, who used the residence as a convent for nuns and continued to house orphaned women. After a few decades, they sold the home to Hollister in 1998 for $2.25 million, records show.

It wasn’t the only time Hollister’s ties to nuns made her a key player in a coveted piece of real estate. In 2015, she was locked in a bitter legal battle with pop star Katy Perry and the head of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles over the right to buy a prized 8-acre convent in Los Feliz with 30,000 square feet of living space, a pool, tower and prayer house.

In 2014, the archdiocese agreed to sell the place to Perry for $14.5 million, but shortly afterward, Hollister struck a deal to buy the home for $15.5 million from the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, who claimed they had the right to sell the property over the archdiocese.

After a years-long legal battle between the archdiocese and the sisters that saw one nun die in court during a post-judgment hearing, Hollister was forced to pay $6.5 million in damages, and the sale fell through. To date, it still hasn’t sold.

Hollister’s Silver Lake home rivals the Los Feliz convent with acres of gardens, lawns and landscaping surrounding the main house. During her stay, Hollister updated the estate to serve as a boutique rental space for weddings and parties.

“It was very fortunate that the property was a girls’ school and later a convent for so many decades because it was not subject to any dramatic alterations, which would have changed its intrinsic beauty,” Hollister said.

She ripped out the red carpeting to reveal floors of walnut, travertine and pink marble. In the kitchen, she replaced linoleum counters with original wood and also swapped fluorescent lights for period chandeliers.

“The bold colors, opulent gilded mirrors, crystal chandeliers, allegorical artwork, taxidermy and silk upholstered settees that decorate the mansion set a feeling of environmental submersion or time travel,” she said. “A visitor can experience what it must have been like to visit the mansion in its glorious prime.”

She found a few secrets during her renovation, including hidden cabinets in the dining room that were used to hide alcohol during Prohibition.

In addition to 15 bedrooms and 15 bathrooms, there’s a great room with stenciled beams and a lower-level lounge with French doors and a spiral staircase. Decks, patios and balconies survey the grounds outside, which include parking for 50 cars and a swimming pool overlooking the city.

Sally Forster Jones of Compass holds the listing.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.