The latest chapter in the real estate files of Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi is an acquisition in Beverly Hills. Toward the tail end of August, the duo closed on a classical midcentury modern. The purchase price was $8.5 million.
The 1964-built house — which has been titled the Rowan Residence — was designed by architect Robert Skinner. It was photographed to great effect by Googie Architecture chronicler Julius Shulman and featured in his seminal tome Modernism Rediscovered, and restored before entering the market earlier this year.
Materials now at work in the house are very fine. Among the details: furniture-grade Douglas fir cabinetry, countertops in contrasting marble, redwood cladding, and terrazzo floors. The home’s courtyard vestibule is a splendid example of interior/exterior landscaping and architectural incorporation of existing flora, working a mature tree into the home’s design and blurring the demarcation between setting and engineered shelter.
The renovation’s approach to the common area hits the midcentury living style as a solid bulls-eye; the space is unpretentious, community-oriented, open, optimistic, a touch cerebral, and warm without effusion. The beautifully contrasted plank ceilings look new, and are given a spare coat of stain that burnishes the raw wood without looking slathered.
Other standout spaces: the living room, with corner glass and corner fireplace; the master bedroom, with sliding glass and a freestanding modernist fireplace; and the galley kitchen, with new floor-to-ceiling cabinetry lending cohesion and atmospherics, and an attached day room with a breakfast booth and a Dutch door, too…the latter could be considered a touch of architectural wit.
The .42-acre lot is filled out with gardens, living and dining areas, and a pool.
The 19th and final season of DeGeneres’ eponymous daytime television show is scheduled to premiere later this month.