William Mellenthin was a prolific home builder in The San Fernando Valley in the 1940’s and 1950’s. Over the course of 40+ years (primarily in the San Fernando Valley) William Mellenthin and Co. built thousands of character rich homes under several corporations (eventually, his sons joined the business).
His vision was to create character rich homes in a quiet residential setting that were “off the beaten path.” Two of Mellenthin’s largest developments were built in the early 50’s in Sherman Oaks in an area called Hidden Woods (located between Fulton and Coldwater Canyon, Riverside & Magnolia. Called Hidden Woods later by residents and Realtors, because when he developed the area, he strategically selected only a couple of entrances into the neighborhood. Many of the streets dead end or loop around cutting out traffic and rif raf. To the North, Mellenthin purchased a home once lived in by Buck Jones, a 12.5 acre parcel of land that he developed into 137 single family residences.
Mellenthin was not an architect but a home builder. During his 40 years of building he worked closely with a draftsman to help create the character rich homes that you see today. Mellenthin died in 1977 and his homes remain of the most highly coveted in the San Fernando Valley.
A Mellenthin home is not hard to distinguish. Its character rich features include steep pitched roofs, large picture windows in the den and living rooms capturing the yard and garden, bird houses on the top of the garage, back to back used brick wood burning fireplaces separating the living and family rooms, Mellenthin “glass blocks” in the kitchen for natural light and lots of wood paneling in the den.