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The House That Spells Welcome


by Marva Peterson

Modern Screen, Sept 1952

AGAINST THIS MONOTONE OF white and off-white, Ty and Linda have filled their home with collectors' items from all over the globe. They own paintings from Bali, African pouffs from Marraketh in Morocco, Italian banquet plates, a beautiful Greek urn from Athens, and a portrait of Linda painted by the great Mexican muralist Diego Rivera.

Black wrought-iron accents make up the Powers' front door.
There's a glimpse of Mr. Roberts, the Power poodle, in this picture.

THE OVERALL IMPRESSION of the Power mansion is that here stands an exciting, exotic house set down in the middle of an upper-strata California neighborhood. To most of the movie colony, the house is difficult to understand. There's a foreign quality, an air of mystery about the place, why is why it causes so much talk.

A few of the self-appointed Hollywood authorities say the pink Mediterranean house is too stagy, too theatrical, that it resembles a set out of Casablanca. Others observe that it

Ty's den with its bleached birch walls makes a perfect setting for
his framed playbills, trophies and his many autographed photos.

reflects Linda's international upbringing and Ty's far-flung travels, that it is a house which is basically designed for entertaining rather than family living. But the regular Sunday parental crowd like Van and Evie Johnson, Lex Barker, and Ty's sister, Anne, all of whom bring their small fry to swim in the pool, say that the house accepts children in the same casual continental way it entertains movie moguls.

TY AND LINDA ARE EITHER UNAWARE or unmindful of the furor their home is causing around the cocktail party circuit. I don't know which. They realize, of course, that it's the perfect home for them, and sensibly enough, that's what counts.

In line with this, Linda likes to tell of a curious coincidence. "When Ty and I were in England," she recalls, "and he was playing in Mr. Roberts I used to get spells of homesickness. One day when I couldn't stand our hotel rooms any longer, I began to sketch the house I'd like to own some day. Those sketches which I still have

With a house full of collector's items, it isn't odd to find Ty
drives one also. Both the snappy car and Nikko are his pets.

are almost identical with this house."

The style of structure is traditionally Spanish. Like hollow squares around an inner court, all the rooms, including the kitchen, open onto a sun-drenched patio. Most Mediterranean and Mexican homes follow this pattern, so that when Linda first saw the house, it reminded her of the many homes she'd known as a child in various Latin countries.

The main rooms in the house are on one level and face the side of the square nearest the street. The portion of the home you'd expect to keep more private -- the bedroom, nursery and Ty's study -- are located in the rear. This section is two stories high, the nursery and guest room being situated upstairs and away from the master bedroom and Ty's private office-den.

In addition to the patio in the middle of the structure, there's a lanai on the far side that runs the full width of the building. This outdoor living area serves as a second living room. The roof over the terrace is made of translucent glass, giving off a lovely soft light to the open porch. The tile floor is partly covered with hemp rugs, and Linda has a great time filling the outdoor room with comfortable black and rattan lanai furniture. It's a terrific spot for a party as any member of the movie colony's social set will testify.

SHORTLY AFTER THEY ADJUSTED themselves to their house, Ty and Linda decided to give a housewarming.

The Powers rigged a tent over the patio, hired an orchestra, and rented a dance floor. They strung plastic curtains along the edge of the lanai as a projection against the California night air, then set ten tables for ten on the lanai.

Not satisfied with looking like a queen for this occasion, Linda decided to prepare some of the dinner. She can cook in five languages, too. The dinner that night was so sensational that before it was over, every woman in the house was pleading with Linda for a set of recipes.

Before Ty and Linda purchased the residence they now occupy, they insisted upon a couple of re-modeling ideas they had in mind. Ty particularly wanted some kind of projection booth so that he could show 16 mm movies in the living room, and he also wanted a bath nearby. Linda's ideas centered about a diet kitchen next to the nursery upstairs. And, of course, they both wanted a swimming pool.

Putting in the pool was quite a job. A good portion of land had to be cleared of trees and undergrowth to make room for a 35-foot tank. Workmen brought in truckloads of dirt, trying to terrace down to a level plot. It cost a pile of money, but for people who love to swim in a heated pool all year round, it was worth it.

When it came to the interior, Linda insisted that it be furnished with custom-made pieces of her own design. She's a creative person with very definite likes. In every case she knew the effect she wanted the room to bear. To make certain that her furnishings would lend themselves to that effect, she enlisted the services of Paul Fox from 20th Century-Fox's art department. A man whose daily job consists of executing fabulous script ideas for decoration, Fox had no trouble in following Linda's designs.

All the upholstered pieces in the Power living room are modern but based upon old motifs from other countries. The couch, for example, is made of foam rubber set on a wooden base, but it's definitely Moroccan in feeling. The bench in front of the fireplace is copied from a Hawaiian hikie.

The dining room is small but surprisingly expandable. There is one large rectangular table that seats six. Then along the wall there are two console tables that serve as sideboards, but they can be pushed against the end of the long table or they can be fitted together to form a separate table. Linda is having still another pair made so that she can seat 20 people at three tables

LINDA SO ARRANGED HER FURNITURE that when you step into the living room and look through to the dining room, you don't see a table and chairs but a mirrored screen that gives a feeling of great depth to the two rooms.

Like most Californians, the Powers do a good deal of outdoor living. They use their patio so much that a complete set of china is stored outside in the great Italian dresser. China and dresser were wedding gifts from Henry Hathaway, who directed Ty in Prince of Foxes and originally used the stuff as props.

Most of the pieces inside the bedroom come from Ty's old Brentwood home. Linda liked and kept them. Only the huge bed and commode covered in white calfskin are new.

WHEN HE'S HOME, Ty spends a good deal of time in the den he had built for himself. The bleached birch walls are perfect backdrops for his framed playbills and etchings.

All in all, the house seems to radiate an atmosphere of worldliness and solid reliability. A visitor who was taken through recently by Linda turned to is hostess and said, "My dear, if your marriage is as good as your house, it will last a long, long time."

Linda smiled. "Por supuesto," she said, which is Spanish for "of course."

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