This newly completed family compound rises above the competition with its dramatic interplay of light and shadow, unparalleled city and ocean views, full spa, and other arresting amenities, earning it the distinction of being named Robb Report’s Ultimate Home 2011.
Face Value | When the owner of this 28-bedroom, 40,000-square-foot residence on roughly 1.5 acres of land in the Los Angeles area first met with architect Richard Landry of Los Angeles–based Landry Design Group in 2005, he held in his hand a single image—a picture he had torn from the pages of this magazine. “The client handed me a page from Robb Report; it showed a modern residence in Southern California our firm designed,” says Landry. “He said he wanted something along those lines, but built to his specifications. We discussed a few details, and then he said, ‘Show me what you can do.’ ”
To that end, Landry—the architect behind Robb Report’s Ultimate Home two years running—conceptualized a contemporary family compound made up of several discrete buildings, including the main house and separate quarters for staff, guests, and entertaining, all of which take full advantage of the exceptional views afforded by the hillside site. “We wanted to evoke a feeling of transparency for this house,” he says, “with many different layers and floating walls, in order to give it an extra dimension.”
Unified Front | A footbridge links the service, staff, and guest buildings that flank the home’s main entrance and motor court, beneath which is an underground parking garage. Landry placed another bridge in the entrance hall (right), where Phoenix tempered the severity of the Portuguese limestone floor with a custom silk-and-wool rug from Tai Ping, an oversize rosewood table from Jean de Merry, and bronze stools from Holly Hunt. “The entrance has a big volume, so the trick was to soften it a little bit and make it a more inviting place to pause before entering the main rooms,” says Phoenix. “Modern, but warm,” adds Firestone, “was the prerequisite from day one with the client.”
Full Circle | Separated by pocket doors from the more formal living area, the parlor was designed as a relaxing retreat. “The homeowner, who loves to entertain, wanted a place for everyone and everything,” says Phoenix. “For this room, he wanted his guests to be able to sit and watch TV by the fire.” The designer made the fireplace a focal point, surrounding it with mosaic onyx tile from Waterworks that, says Landry, “gives great movement to the space.” Employing a technique he used in many other rooms in the house, Landry pulled the ceiling away from the walls and installed cove lighting to illuminate it from above; the effect is an understated glow (“an important detail,” he says). The custom coffee table is from Paul Ferrante; the sofas, by Christian Grevstad, were purchased from Mimi London.
Eat, Play, Love | The intimately scaled library serves as a favorite hideaway for the homeowner. Zebrawood panels sheathe the library’s walls save for the fireplace surround, which is covered in Italian-glass mosaic tiles from Bisazza. Michael Berman club chairs encircle a table by Donghia; hovering overhead is a light fixture by PaganiStudio. For the informal game room, which leads to the home theater and a small recording studio, the homeowner requested the sunken conversation area near the fireplace. Phoenix added a generously sized games table covered in Edelman Leather and hung above it a rock-crystal fixture from Wired Custom Lighting.
Master’s Decree | In the master suite (previous pages), which includes a vestibule as well as dressing and sitting areas, a sense of serenity and privacy was key to the design. Therefore the architect and designer introduced bleached-zebrawood paneling, and a fireplace from Spark Modern Fires surrounded by backlit honey onyx from Rubin Marble & Granite. “At night, the bedroom has this beautiful glow to it, like a piece of art,” says Phoenix. “It’s like being inside a jewel box.” The bed was custom-made for the homeowner, as was the zebrawood cabinet, which contains a flat-panel television that rises and descends with the touch of a button.
Down Time | “We had carte blanche to design the ultimate spa for the homeowner,” says Phoenix. For this downstairs space, which is adjacent to the gym, Landry designed a Venetian-plastered elliptical soffit ceiling to maintain a light ambience. Materials and furnishings include white marble; Bisazza tiles; George Cameron Nash club chairs covered in white terry cloth from Perennials, and a console table from Nash’s Cameron Collection; and John Boone cube stools. “So many people go with dark colors for the spa,” says Landry. “We thought, ‘Let’s make it bright, airy, and fun, without making it too clinical.’ ”
Let It Flow | The roof terrace overlooks the pool and barbecue terrace (opposite).
“We particularly enjoy the roof terrace at night because of the fantastic view of the city lights,” says the homeowner, who was hands-on in planning the outdoor kitchen on the lower terrace, where he likes to host larger gatherings of friends and family. Landry collaborated with H20 Pool & Spa on the zero-edge pool, which flows into a tiled area fitted with fiber-optic uplights that can be programmed to change color. A Baja shelf designed for wading juts into the pool and makes for an easy transition to the spa.
“This is California—everyone wants to be outside,” says Landry, who made sure that the view back toward the house from the pool was just as spectacular by continuing the stucco treatment onto the rear facade and illuminating the home so that it glows like a lantern atop the hill.
Open Air | In collaboration with Water Studio, Landry designed the bronze fire-and-water feature at one end of a footpath extending from the home’s side elevation. On the path, the homeowner can continue downstairs to the terraced orchard, which he asked for so that he could pick his own fruit each morning. The circular room, located just beyond the gym and spa, features a teak ceiling; the room’s furniture, also teak, is from David Sutherland.
Elsewhere on the property, adjacent to the living room, is a heated loggia (left) that serves as an open-air living and dining room for the homeowner and his guests. Embedded within the fireplace wall, which features slabs of book-matched onyx that carry over from the living room, is a flat-panel television. “It is meant to look like one solid block of stone,” says Landry.