Real Estate Newsletter: A John Lautner Masterpiece Trades Hands

Welcome back to the Real Estate Newsletter. In a week filled with huge headlines on the commercial side, I’m kicking off with some house deals because the pictures are just too good.

First up, we’ve got the Wolff House, a striking jewel of modernism, built around a giant eucalyptus tree on an impossibly steep slope. Its creator is John Lautner, the iconic architect behind the Bob Hope house in Palm Springs and the Silvertop estate in Silver Lake.

The ultra-chic house has just been sold for $11 million to a suitable buyer: Nicolas Ghesquière, the creative director of French fashion house Louis Vuitton. The sellers, Hearst heiress Amanda Hearst and film director Joachim Rønning, made a killing on the property after buying it for $5.9 million in 2020.

In Encino, we saw the Sherman Residence for sale for $18 million. More art gallery than home, the stylish mansion made of wood-and-glass pavilions was built by Peter Tolkin, the architect behind the Sunglass House in Malibu and Saladang Garden restaurant in Pasadena.

The property also has a notable seller: “How I Met Your Mother” star Alyson Hannigan, who bought the architectural estate in 2016 with her husband, actor Alexis Denisof, for $7.95 million.

Our third impressive estate literally takes us to the top of the Hollywood Bowl. The three-storey modern style house sits on a hillside on a rare property as it is one of only two houses with direct views of the iconic concert venue.

It’s owned by REM bassist Mike Mills, who has probably attended enough shows of his own already not to have to enjoy a free Hollywood Bowl concert from his backyard every night. He buys it around for $6.5 million.

As far as luxury is concerned, two major developments will shake up their respective communities. The first is in Beverly Hills, where a mixed complex of office, retail and residential space is coming to Wilshire Boulevard.

A major casualty of the complex, however, is the iconic Saks Fifth Avenue department store, which will move about a block away to make way for the development.

Downtown LA is also getting a new complex: the Grand LA, a shopping, dining and entertainment center designed by Frank Gehry. Gehry needs no introduction, but since we’re here, I’ll list a few of his iconic achievements: Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, the Dancing House, and the National Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial.

His final work downtown took nearly a decade and $1 billion to complete, and a few of his features, including a luxury hotel and 436 apartments, are set to open in July.

As always, while keeping up to date with the latest news, visit and like our Facebook page where you can find real estate stories and updates throughout the week.

Lautner’s Wolff House Sells to Major Designer

John Lautner’s striking Wolff House wraps around a giant eucalyptus tree on a steep slope.

(Darwin Nercesian)

Nicolas Ghesquière, the creative director of French fashion house Louis Vuitton, has just acquired one of the most stylish estates in LA. The designer has quietly paid $11 million for John Lautner’s iconic Wolff House in an off-market deal, real estate sources told The Times.

The sellers are Amanda Hearst, great-granddaughter of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst, and her husband, director Joachim Rønning. They made a hefty profit on the property after buying it two years ago for $5.9 million.

The Midcentury gem was built in 1961 by Lautner, a prolific architect whose bold, dramatic creations regularly shine on the silver screen.

The Wolff House is one of Lautner’s best, as the striking Modernist marvel soars above the city on an ultra-steep ground in Hollywood Hills. A confluence of natural materials and sleek modern features, the house wraps around a giant eucalyptus tree that cuts through the center of the space.

Married Actors List Their Architectural Retreat

The three-hectare estate, built by architect Peter Tolkin, centers around a series of wood and glass pavilions.

Built by architect Peter Tolkin, the three-acre estate centers around a series of wood and glass pavilions that wrap around a central courtyard.

(Tyler Hogan)

Married actors Alyson Hannigan and Alexis Denisof are shopping their prized Encino complex for $18 million.

They will more than double their money when they get their prize. Records show Hannigan, who starred in “How I Met Your Mother” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” and Denisof, who appeared in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and its spin-off, “Angel,” bought the architectural estate for $ 7.95 million in 2016.

Known as the Sherman Residence, the compound was completed in 2001 by Peter Tolkin, a prolific architect whose other projects include Malibu’s Sunglass House and Pasadena’s Saladang Garden restaurant. The house also has a history of its own, appearing in movies and TV shows such as “Fracture”, “Fun With Dick and Jane” and “Agents of SHIELD”

The estate is camera ready for a reason. Set on over three acres, it features a series of pavilions made of concrete, wood, and glass, connected by expansive, open gallery spaces. Atop a low-slung roof with overhanging awnings, the residence wraps around a central courtyard with a swimming pool and spa.

Musician provides home above the Hollywood Bowl

The scenic spot overlooks the Hollywood Bowl from a pool, observation deck, and three viewing platforms.

The scenic spot overlooks the Hollywood Bowl from a pool, observation deck, and three viewing platforms.

(Ryan Pepple / Calabasas Creative)

The house of REM bassist Mike Mills comes with unlimited concert tickets – sort of. The scenic estate, which Mills just listed for $6.5 million, offers a rare perk: It’s one of only two homes that face the Hollywood Bowl directly.

It’s a fitting residency for Mills, a multi-instrumentalist, singer, and composer who co-founded the Georgia-based rock band in the 1980s.

The musical setting is not the only unique element of the accommodation. Other highlights include a 400-gallon aquarium in the living room, a built-in pizza oven, and a beautiful tiled bathroom built over the course of two years that resembles Vincent van Gogh’s “Starry Night” painting.

Beverly Hills’ Saks Fifth Avenue is moving

A man walks past a window of the Saks Fifth Avenue store in Beverly Hills on June 16, 2022.

A man walks past a window on Saks Fifth Avenue, one of Beverly Hills’ most famous department stores, which will soon be moving to make way for a mixed-use complex along Wilshire Boulevard.

(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Saks Fifth Avenue has been the luminary of classic luxury shopping in Beverly Hills since 1938, a beacon on Wilshire Boulevard for the wealthy, Times contributor Roger Vincent writes.

Now the famed department store will move to make way for a mixed-use complex that could power a quiet stretch of Wilshire near Rodeo Drive.

HBC, the parent company of Saks and Canadian retail giant Hudson’s Bay, last week announced plans to convert the property surrounding the historic Saks Building into an office, retail and residential cluster for the Beverly Hills neighborhood. It aims to revive the glamor that once made Wilshire Boulevard the pinnacle of luxury shopping in Beverly Hills.

Frank Gehry’s Latest Complex Hits Downtown LA

The Grand LA, a shopping-dining-entertainment complex designed by Frank Gehry.

The Grand LA, designed by Frank Gehry and developed by Rick Vogel, is a retail, dining and entertainment complex, with a tower of luxury residences and another tower for the Conrad Los Angeles, a Hilton-branded luxury hotel, in the downtown Los Angeles Angels.

(Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times)

Frank Gehry’s 45-story Grand LA complex may come as a surprise to those who have stayed out of downtown during the pandemic and have yet to return to their offices, Roger Vincent writes.

Work on the Grand began in late 2018. The project will reach a critical milestone in July with the opening of the apartment tower and 28-story Conrad Los Angeles hotel. The Grand’s extensive shopping and dining area includes outdoor patios overlooking one of Gehry’s other creations, the Walt Disney Concert Hall, but won’t be ready until next year.

Canadian-born Gehry, 93, is world famous for what Architectural Digest called masterful whimsical designs, such as the Olympic Fish Pavilion in Barcelona, ​​Spain, and the Dancing House commercial building in the Czech Republic. The Grand is one of its largest local committees and its commercial scale is a source of pride.

“Most developers don’t see an architect who does that,” he said, pointing to Disney Hall, “as an architect who can do this. They pigeonhole you as the artsy man.”

What we read

Bill Gates Buys Historic Piece Of Rome And Reportedly Spends $170 Million On The Famous 17e century Palazzo Marini with plans to turn it into a chic hotel. The New York Post recently checked the billionaire’s interesting spending habits, which recently saw him scoop up 2,000 acres of farmland in North Dakota.

In Southern California, $2 million might not even get you a home in certain neighborhoods. In Scotland, you get an island of 757 hectares, complete with a 17e century mansion and sperm whale skeleton nicknamed “Bony Dick”. Insider has the details.

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