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Celeb Homes

Charlie Chaplin (and Other Silver Screen Legends) Lived in These L.A. Storybook Cottages

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    Chaplin courtyard

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    Chaplin storybook look

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Walk through the gate of this four-cottage complex and step back in time to the early days of Hollywood, circa 1923. That's when screen legend Charlie Chaplin had these cottages built only a short distance from his movie studio, a retreat for himself and his movie star friends when they were working.

"The people who live there [today] said they could feel something. It's such a good vibe living there," says listing agent Bryan Byhower.

Screen legend Douglas Fairbanks also stayed in one of the cottages, and he literally left his mark -- a large Z to commemorate his film " The Mark of Zorro," Byhower explains.

Now listed for $2.5 million, the cottages have taken on such a mythic role in Hollywood history that it's difficult to separate fact from fiction, Byhower says.

Iconic entertainer Judy Garland is said to have lived there, and actors Drew Barrymore and Jeremy Renner are rumored to have been born there. While the agent doubts the veracity of the Barrymore rumor, he has tried contacting Renner to confirm his story. There's no word yet.

What's certain, however, is that screen legends such as Mary Pickford and John Barrymore (Drew's grandfather) stayed in these cottages.

The last owner, now deceased, had rented out the cottages. His estate hopes a new owner will continue to do the same. The two two-bedroom, two-bathroom cottages bring in monthly rents of $2,700 each, while the two one-bedroom, one-bathroom units rent for $2,300 each, so monthly rental income is $10,000.

The cottages are small by today's standards, ranging in size from 560 to 700 square feet, and the interiors look much as they did in the early 1920s, but that adds to their charm. They are prime examples of Storybook architecture, which was popular in Los Angeles during the 1920s and '30s.

"Most seemed snapped out of a craggy old-world village with intentionally uneven roofs, lots of cobblestone, doors and windows which may look mismatched and odd-shaped," The Los Angeles Beat said of the architecture.

The Chaplin cottages were designed by the architectural team of Arthur and Nina Zwebell, who were also husband and wife. "Entering the courtyard is a magical journey, it is fascinating to look at the cobblestone walkways, crooked roofs, old world shingles, beveled glass and to dream of the history you are breathing in," Los Angeles Beat writer Nikki Kreuzer said of the cottages.

Who will star in the next act of these classic cottages? "We want to reach out to someone who really loves Hollywood and wants to restore it and keep it the same way," Byhower says of the ideal buyer being sought. "It's really special."

Indeed, it's easy to imagine Chaplin's Little Tramp waddling down the cobblestones, enjoying the faux French look of it all, before heading off for another day of Hollywood magic making.