It’s an old-world kind of house — a unique Tudor straight out of a Brothers Grimm fairy tale.
It was part of a 19th-century hilltop farm that overlooked Los Angeles that was subdivided in the 1920s, when a renowned architect was brought in to infuse a Viking-French Norman style to the structure.
But none of those details compare to a more recent historical footnote for this unique Eagle Rock real estate market home where two ambitious, Boston-bred friends set up camp and hammered out a screenplay that resulted in two Academy Awards.
No, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon do not come with this house at 2327 Hill Drive. But as a result of the creative whirlwind the pair cooked up inside these funky walls, this Eagle Rock address has unofficially become known as the “Good Will Hunting” home.
The marquee co-stars’ celebrated residency was enough to earn Affleck a place in the Eagle Rock Valley Historical Society register. Seems that Affleck’s peripatetic college days at nearby Occidental College landed him at the Eagle Rock house, where Damon flopped for a spell, too.
I lived all over the place. I lived in Hollywood, then I moved. [Matt Damon] and I got money from School Ties (1992), and we blew it all in a couple of months. We made $35,000 or $40,000 each and thought we were rich. And we were shocked later on to find out how much we owed in taxes. We were appalled: $15,000! What? But we rented this house on the beach in Venice and 800 people came and stayed with us and got drunk. Then we ran out of money and had to get an apartment. It was like everything was exciting. So we lived in Glendale and Eagle Rock and we lived in Hollywood, West Hollywood, Venice, by the Hollywood Bowl, all over the place. We’d get thrown out of some places or we’d have to upgrade or downgrade depending on who had money.
In reality, the house that Matt & Ben “built” is not the “Good Will Hunting” house, but better known as the “Braasch House” and “Ma Castle.”
Los Angeles real estate agent Michael Locke of Keller Williams Los Feliz holds the listing.
“We have had a lot of interest, but so far, no one has bit the bullet,” said Locke, a photographer whose work, displayed on Flickr, chronicles a great swath of Los Angeles real estate.
Locke said the house hasn’t been occupied for several years but it is in “reasonably good shape for a house of its age.
“The hardwood floors are in amazing condition; the windows have never been painted, so there’s not layers of paint to be removed. It has a new roof and chimney flue. It’s in an original unspoiled condition except for the kitchen, which was remodeled probably in the 1960’s and needs to be re-done. The big expenses involve the systems (plumbing, electrical, heating, etc.) which seem to be original and therefore probably need to be replaced,” said Locke, who has seen his share of Los Angeles real estate.
The price for the Eagle Rock house was recently dropped to $779K, down from the original list price of $1,274,000. The revamped listing description is also a lot more informational:
“Albert Braasch, an Eagle Rock pioneer and entrepreneur, purchased the property in the early 1900s, commissioning architect Jean L. Egasse to design the farmhouse along Norman lines, such as were left by the decedents of the Vikings, following their journey from an ante-medieval period,” and that “the collaboration between architect and owner is evident in the architect’s ‘French-cum-Nordic’ theme.”
Locke said he’s not “exactly sure of the dates that Matt and Ben lived in the house, however ‘Good Will Hunting‘ came out in 1997 and Ben was in the Class of ’95 (at Occidental) so you can probably estimate the approximate time. The same man has owned the house since (Ben and Matt were there) since he has owned it for over 30 years.”
Before Matt and Ben got cranking on their critically acclaimed movie, the home’s interior walls featured murals depicting the Norse warriors in action. And even before their Hollywood cache was brought to the home, it was written up in an anthology called “An Architectural Guidebook to Los Angeles” as well as in California Southland magazine in 1923, shortly after the home was built.
“To design a house for a hillside as one would plan an ornament for a crown or sword hilt: to make the hill a picture or a tapestry of houses and gardens — this is the craft of J.L. Egasse who seems able to grasp the ensemble of a hillside and to build his house and garden as a part of the landscape.”
The 2,187-sq ft 4-bedroom, 2-bath home features fireplaces, crown molding, stone floors, a detached garage, and treetop views. It’s also called a fixer in need of a little TLC that could stand as an historical-cultural monument.
Maybe that means any remodel of the “Braasch/Ma Castle/Good Will Hunting House” must include a special gold statue. Oscar was there, in spirit.