Colcord's Legacy

By the end of the 1940’s Mr. Colcord had become a “brand name.”  His signature “farmhouse” residences, sometimes called “country colonials” became very popular with well-to-do business people and celebrities such as actors Alan Ladd and Debbie Reynolds. 

Many other celebrities have also lived in homes designed by Mr. Colcord including Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillipe, Bob Newhart and Dean Martin.  A Brentwood home that Mr. Colcord built in 1951 was owned for nearly thirty years by actor, Harrison Ford.  He purchased it in 1983 and hired Mr. Colcord to put an addition on the home but due to Mr. Colcord’s passing, the addition was completed by his assistant Liza Kent.

Mr. Colcord designed nearly four hundred homes and completed about one hundred residential remodels.  

Photo Credit: Maynard L. Parker, photographer. Courtesy of The Huntington Library, San Marino, California | Locke Residence as featured in Architectural Digest in 1939.

Information provided by Tim Gregory, The Building Biographer.

The Architect:
Gerard Rae Colcord

Gerard Rae Colcord, referred to as “Hollywood society’s architect” was born into a wealthy family in St. Louis, Missouri on November 1, 1900.  His father was the proprietor of the Colcord-Wright Machinery and Supply Company, a dealer in metal-working machines.  His mother was an artist.  After graduating from the Culver Military Academy in Indiana, Mr. Colcord moved with his family to Beverly Hills and enrolled in the University of Southern California’s School of Architecture.  In 1923 he traveled to Europe, touring England, Italy and France, participating in a one-year apprenticeship program at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts at Fontainebleau.  It was here that he learned the skill of blending various architectural features from different historical eras in a unified design.  Returning to Southern California, he apprenticed with well-known architects Asa Hudson and John C. Austin.  He received his State Certificate in 1930, whereupon he established his own office in Beverly Hills.  

In the early 1930’s Mr. Colcord married the first of his three wives, Jeanne Marie Dumas. They were prominent on the Southern California social scene and belonged to the Bel-Air Bay club.    

While Mr. Colcord primarily worked for clients in Beverly Hills and the Westside of Los Angeles, he designed at least six houses in the San Gabriel Valley including Locke House.  His fame also spread beyond California with clients in Georgia, Texas and Florida.  His interiors were even used as inspirations for set designs for television programs, I Love Lucy, Leave It To Beaver, and Father Knows Best.

He died in Encino on February 19, 1984 at the age of 83.  He had no children but was survived by his third wife, Virginia Alice Singer.

Now that you’ve learned about the provenance of the Locke House, please enjoy the tour. You can access the rooms from the main menu “Tour the House” or follow along by clicking the prompts at the bottom of each page.