Gore Vidal’s Hollywood Hills Estate just hit the market for $5,695,000. Clearly the above photos are not from the MLS, but rather photos I took on my iphone while attending Gore’s memorial service at the home a couple of years ago. I never intended to share these photos, but now that the home has hit the market, I find it fascinating to see the current incarnation of the home. I will also say that I felt very lucky to be invited to the memorial, even though I never had the pleasure of meeting him.
Each piece of furniture had a story, like the chair shown above from the set of Ben Hur. The walls previously soft yellow, cast a yellow glow in each of my photos, nearly impossible to color correct. From what his family members told me, that’s the way everyones photos in the house turned out. Now, the home has been white washed to look clean and modern. All of the furniture has been put into storage, for possible auction at a later time, and the home beautifully staged. I recently renovated a property in Palm Springs, and did the same thing with my rental property there, going from soft white to Ultra Pure White. It’s clean. It’s fresh. And it’s blank canvas for anyone coming in who might want to put their own stamp on the home.
This Mediterranean villa was built in 1929 and measures in at 4,782 square feet, with five bedrooms and four bathrooms, as well as a self contained guest house. Original architectural details include terra-cotta floor tiles, hand-carved fireplaces, scrolled wrought iron accents and thick plaster walls. The two story foyer features an exposed beam ceiling, a paneled library with glass fronted bookcases as well as a separate den with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. Up on the hillside behind the garage and guesthouse, is a secluded swimming pool surrounded with trees.
The home is quite extraordinary, and loaded with history. I hope the next occupants of the home will embrace its richness, and not erase it, as so often happens in Los Angeles.
I wandered into 2118 Beech Knoll Road during an open house last week. Oh. My. God. I live around the corner from here and have been walking by the home while its been under construction during the last couple of years. I had no idea what a spectacular residence it was. Yes, it’s got a great vibe from the street, but I was left speechless after spending 20 minutes in it, touring each of the 3 levels of the home.
The brilliance of this home is how beautifully the design concept is integrated through each and every one of its rooms. This is something I try and make clear to clients when they’re beginning a remodel. I urge them to think of the design as a whole, not just as a kitchen or bathroom remodel that stands alone. Otherwise you can end up with one amazing room that makes the others look tired and shabby. When you’re surface materials match from room to room, then the whole will be greater than the sum of its parts. While these photos speak for themselves, I’m going to break it down a bit and point out some of the architectural and design details that truly impressed me.
The concrete flooring with the wood insets is an absolute first from my point of view. I’ve never seen it done before, however, I had an idea to do this in one of my Palm Springs properties with flooring cut-outs for loose stones. Sadly, I lost faith in my vision and never did it. Now my creativity has been sparked, and I hope to be much more inventive in the future.
The use of Bulthaup Cabinetry throughout the residence, from home office, to bathroom, to kitchen, is the epitome of sleek modern elegance. Never in my wildest imagination would I have thought to combine it with the rustic and reclaimed wood like designer and owner Ted Dhanick did. He wisely chose ashy muted tones for most of the wood finishes, which work beautifully with the taupe cabinets. The custom wood and glass doors on pivots are noticeably warmer in tone, however, because they’re used in every room of the home, he created a visual rhythm that completely works. And I can’t rave enough about the rustic skylight trim in the kitchen when combined with the white walls, lacquered cabinets, and stainless Gaggenau, Subzero and Miele appliances. And the fireplaces in both the master bedroom and kitchen are out of this world. I’m so not a beige guy, and would never put a beige sofa or chair in front of these fireplaces, yet the idea is so smart because it lets you focus on the stunning sculptural aspect of the fireplaces, as well as their luscious woodgrain.
This 4500 square foot home has so many other details that help justify the nearly $4 million price tag: Automated LED lighting throughout, IP video intercom and security cameras, Fleetwood pocketing sliding doors, Boffi and European sinks, Kohler DTV automated rain and massage shower system, Somfy automated window shades throughout the house, central vacuum system, Napoleon fireplaces, commercial-grade water softening and filtration system… you get the idea. If you’ll visit their dedicated website, you can see the complete list of amenities.
In closing I will say that this is one of the finest homes I’ve ever set foot in and I wouldn’t change a thing. That’s why I’m calling it a Modernist Masterpiece. Nothing would make me happier then to show up on their doorstep with my suitcases in hand, and a big fat check.
The Stahl House, also known as Case Study House #22, is without a doubt one of the most famous homes in all of Los Angeles… and maybe the world. Built in 1959 as part of the Case Study House Program, it’s probably one of thee most photographed homes ever.
The late Julius Shulman made the residence famous with his iconic black and white photo of the home which featured two elegant women lounging in the home at dusk, as the city sparkled behind them. This happened in 1960, and the home has been on a roll ever since. Movies, editorial fashion shoots, tv commercials… I guarantee you’ve seen this home and it’s stunning panoramic view more often then you realize.
I was beyond excited when I was able to join an architectural tour to see this home in ’09. While it appears larger than life in photos, the square footage is in reality only about 2200 Square feet. It’s the balanced proportions that makes this residence looks so massive. Designed by Pierre Koenig for Buck Stahl and his family, the modernist glass and steel constructed home has become one of the most iconic mid-century homes in southern California.
Located in the Hollywood Hills above the Sunset Strip, the house was declared an LA Historical Cultural Monument in 1999. While the homes address is easy to find, 1635 Woods Drive, LA Ca. 90069, you’ll need to think twice about doing a drive by to catch a glimpse of it and the remarkable views. I learned when I visited the home that it’s on one of those gated private roads. But, if you’d really like to see the home, you can schedule a private tour that is remarkably affordable. For as little as $60, one person in one car, can have access to the home for an hour. Why not bring your significant other, a picnic basket and a bottle of wine, and sit and chill by the pool at dusk. I guarantee you it’s a ‘date night’ either of you would soon forget.
Photographing Gates in the Hollywood Hills was a passion of mine in the mid 1990’s. I lived in the Los Feliz section of the Hollywood Hills when I first moved to Los Angeles. I was so enamored by the gorgeous gates I’d see on my evening walks, that I thought I’d try photographing them with an old canon camera I got from my sister. One after another, my collection grew. Then I thought, why not publish a book?
As I talked to people about my idea, the reasons for NOT publishing a book were many: you need the home owners permission, you need the architects permission, you need the designers permission, coffee table books don’t make money anymore, they no longer make black and white film, everything is digital now. The list goes on, and the photographs get older. But what I find fascinating is that every time I pull these images out and look at them, they’re still exciting. There’s also something very refreshing about seeing these images in Black and White. It reminds me of Hollywoods Golden Era when things were more glamorous and less pedestrian.
I’ve heard rumors over the years about what celebrity might live behind which gate, but that’s irrelevant to me. What’s more interesting is Los Angeles’s culture of the gate. It’s like a calling card for the home, possibly indicating what you might find on the inside. Yet they always achieve the same thing, keeping unwanted guests out and giving homes perched on the edge of a cliff a modicum of privacy. I’ve shared a few of my favorites here, and I hope you enjoy them. If by chance you’re reading this, and one of these belongs to you and I’ve broken some law or crossed the line, please let me know. Otherwise I invite you to enjoy the beauty of these ‘total works of art’. Bravo to these amazing designers and architects.
The remarkable Central column above might be the Heart of John Lautner‘s Harvey Residence , or it might also be Actress Kelly Lynch and Mitch Glazer who are committed to mid-century preservation. In 2008 they opened their home to the public via the MAK Center and the Hammer Museum in conjunction with the Lautner retrospective ‘Between Earth and Heaven’.
Marked as a tear-down, the couple bought the home in 1998 and set to work restoring the 1950 residence. No two Lautner homes are alike, even if this concentric design reminds you of his iconic Chemosphere home. While Lautner had a strong preoccupation with geometric forms, such as the circle and triangle, his homes are ultimately rooted in the concept of integrating the home into its location, creating an organic flow between the indoor and outdoor spaces. If the words ‘Organic Architecture’ ring any bells, you might be thinking Frank Lloyd Wright whom Lautner apprenticed under at Taliesin .
The fact that all of this might be lost because the home sits on a remarkable piece of property with a 180 degree view, or more, is unthinkable. Imagine sitting in the grand central room while listening to chamber music as the lights of the city twinkle behind the performers… it’s pure magic. As luck would have it, several years ago one of my clients gave me her tickets for The Da Camera Society, who specialize in Chamber Music In Historic Sites. Therefore, I’ve been in this home twice, and Kelly and Mitch as usual are remarkable hosts. They wouldn’t know me if I walked in through their doors again, but that’s not the point. The point, is that they’ve restored this remarkable home and kept the doors open, even to the public.