Benedict Canyon, Beverly Hills, California. Whipple Russell Architects.
“Our client, who is from the sports world, wanted an open-plan house for entertaining but also a photography studio and a gallery space suitable for hanging his large art projects. Working with Barry Chase of CMF Homebuilders and Linda Dahan of Highfire Interior Design, the project began with an empty hilltop lot but required a 10-foot high retaining wall to create a sturdy level pad for building. A spiral driveway leads to the property, which then opens to the car park and entrance walkway. On the left, is the upstairs studio space, accessible via stairs that rise up over the first reflecting pool. Wide horizontal pavers guide the eye up to the house where water surrounds the entrance, flowing between the steps, and meeting a chiseled marble ledger stone wall.
The large center-pivot front door opens to reveal the dramatic foyer, capped by a double-height box, accented with ribbon windows to the north and south, and skylights overhead. Look straight ahead out beyond the patio for a perfectly framed view of the California hills. Large earth-toned porcelain tiles flow smoothly down three steps and into the living area, lined with a series of wall-sized glass pocket doors. When all are open the feeling of bringing the outside, inside, is breezily apparent. An olive tree lives in the foyer, with the help of grow lights, and a small Zen garden at the bottom of the steps adds greenery to the space.
To the right are the sun-filled gallery and stairs, and the entries to the three downstairs bedroom/baths. To the left are the kitchen, dining and family room. Kitchen counter and island material are Dekton Quartz, and the cabinets are of imported Italian walnut and Wenge wood. The range and ovens are Wolf brand, and the custom kitchen dining table is Calcutta porcelain, with built-in Yakiniku grills, imported from Japan. Tucked in next to the dining area is a home theater and behind it the housekeeper’s bedroom and bath. The far end of the family room is built out over the hillside and surrounded on three sides by glass, creating an exhilarating panorama and a floating effect.
Patio and pool are accessible from all three ground floor bedrooms and the living areas of the house. Upstairs is the master suite, which includes his and her dressing rooms and an indoor/outdoor gray, stacked-stone fireplace also heating the terrace. Solid walnut plank ceilings, which are also used in the family and dining rooms, warm the room, as does the 10-inch oak custom stained flooring. Expansive glass provides views from the bedroom as well as from the bath, which features Carrara marble shower and quartz counters. Outdoor living and a great view, essential to the west coast lifestyle, are enhanced by a large rooftop terrace above the family room with space for Ping-Pong and sunning, also featuring a ledger stone fireplace, to warm nighttime entertaining and stargazing.”
Photo credit: William MacCollum