TUJUNGA- When William Malouf saw a photo of Weatherwolde Castle – gray, unkempt and slated for destruction – he knew just had to have it. The musician/preservationist spent the next 48 hours without sleep, researching the faux French-Norman castle built in 1928. And, even though he’d sworn off buying another fixer-upper, Malouf decided he would save the home and restore the castle to its former glory. “I said to myself, ‘I can’t pass on this house,”‘ Malouf explained as he led visitors on a tour of his new abode. “I personally, aesthetically, could not think of a more perfect-looking house.” Malouf closed escrow last week on the four-bedroom, 2,500-square-foot castle, buying it from developer Scott Anderson who had planned to raze the Commerce Street house to make way for three new homes. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake The sale was a relief to Tujunga neighbors and preservationists, who learned about the plans in July after demolition was already under way and filed an emergency request to preserve the home as a historic monument. With the support of City Councilwoman Wendy Greuel, the city’s Cultural Heritage Commission recommended granting the house landmark status. “It’s a one-of-a-kind,” said Lloyd Hitt, president of the Little Landers Historical Society in Tujunga. “It’s the first one we’ve really had to fight to save, and it sends a message that the town respects some of its older buildings.” Frustrated with the number of historic stone houses and bungalows bulldozed for larger homes in Tujunga, preservationists rallied around Weatherwolde Castle. More than 1,100 people signed a petition to save it. Anderson initially said he would fight landmark status but decided in October to sell the castle to Malouf for $650,000, about $60,000 more than he paid for the property in June. Anderson also retained a 40-foot-wide section of the land and will develop one house, though he figures he could have made about $200,000 more by building all three. “These neighbors were going to fight me,” Anderson said. “If I was going to be stubborn and I’d hung on to the property, I’m convinced I could have won in a court of law. But it could have dragged on for years.” For Malouf, the timing and the opportunity were ideal. He and his girlfriend, Tara Greer, live in a restored stone house near the Bradley Landfill but were looking to move away from the noise of the dump. The gray stone work, gothic arches and turret of Weatherwolde was a dream come true. The castle was built in 1928 and owned by Monsieur Dumas, a Frenchman from Falaise who wanted to replicate the chateaus of his native Normandy. In 1937, Jack Harris won the house in a poker game and soon moved his family to the unique home, according to his daughter, Ann Harris McGarrell, who now lives in Vermont but wrote a long history of the house to aid in its preservation. Her mother, Dixie Ann Harris, worked for the Selznick Studio in Culver City, and Orson Welles and Boris Karloff were among the movie industry folks who visited the castle. It was later sold to Lady Yvonne Angell Kenward, an eccentric who set about restoring and putting her own signature style on the castle, according to a 1974 profile published in The Record Ledger. For years, the house was occupied by a family but hidden behind oaks and a wall of ivy, until demolition began this summer. Within a month, Malouf, his 13-year-old son, Vincent, and Greer will be moving into the home – one that has been picked apart in recent months. When neighbors thought the castle was going to be razed, they took stained-glass windows, French doors, copper door hinges and the lion’s head door knocker, and even used a sledgehammer to dislodge the ornate iron banister from the curving staircase. Anderson filed a police report, and a detective interviewed residents in the area about the missing pieces. Knowing those decorative elements were crucial to the castle’s character, Malouf went door to door in the neighborhood, asking whether there was any chance he could get the pieces back. Three days after escrow closed, Malouf had reclaimed about 70 percent of the “borrowed” items. He hopes to recover as many of the original pieces as possible and use them in the restoration work, which will take about a year to complete. “I’ve been given tons of support from the community and that’s great,” Malouf said. “But my interest was, first and foremost, selfish. I thought, This is a great house.” Kerry Cavanaugh, (818) 713-3746 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!