WALLACE NEFF (JANUARY 28, 1895 - JUNE 1982) WAS AN ARCHITECT BASED IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA.
HE WAS LARGELY RESPONSIBLE FOR DEVELOPING THE REGION'S DISTINCT ARCHITECTURAL STYLE.
IT IS OFTEN REFFERED TO AS "CALIFORNIA STYLE."
Neff was a student of architect Ralph Adams Cram and drew heavily from the architectural styles of both Spain and the Mediterranean as a whole, gaining extensive recognition from the number of celebrity commissions, notably Pickfair, the mansion belonging originally to Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks.
His interest in architecture saw him studying under the revered Ralph Adams Cram in Massachusetts.
Eventually Neff returned to California and took up residence in Altadena.
Where he became an architectural pioneer.
As Neff's style became more popular and demanded by the elite, the rich, and the famous, he moved to the exclusive Pasadena suburb of San Marino.
His clients list among the powerful and elite of the mid-20th Century the Singer Mansion, King Gillette Ranch, the Gates Residence, Libby Ranch, and the Pickfair Estate.
Other fine mansions line the streets of Chapman Woods, Hancock Park, San Marino, Glendora, Beverly Hills, San Pascual Avenue, California Street and others in lower East Pasadena.
While he designed for the powerful, he also designed homes and cabins that took up the challenge of fusing natural shapes and useable straight lines.
It is believed that Neff is the originator of the Concrete Balloon Forming method of construction.
In 2001, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston supposedly paid $13.5 million for a Neff house owned at different times by actor Fredric March and the philanthropist and USC trustee Wallis Annenberg.
In 1998, actress Diane Keaton, an avid fan of Neff's work, purchased a low-slung Neff house in Beverly Hills – featured in Architectural Digest, July 1999 – with the front lawn covered in lavender, for $7.5 million.
This home was later purchased by Madonna and Guy Ritchie and was still in their possession as of 2007.