French Romance



May 2003 – Leading Estates of the World, by Pamela Kelsey

AS THE GATES OPEN in Holmby Hills, a solitary vision of fairy tale splendor greets you. Seldom in real life does one encounter such beauty, such pure perfection—even in the glamour capital of conspicuous consumption surrounding Rodeo Drive. When renowned architect Richard Landry was commissioned by the owners—along with Hadid Development Group, builder of 15 Ritz-Carlton Hotels—to transport Regency romance to Southern California, not even he was fully prepared for the spectacular results. He outdid even himself. No matter where you stand, inside or outside the house, you are swept away by the compelling beauty. Down to the last little detail, his masterpiece is magical. Drama reaches a zenith quickly—at the melodious fountained entrance, where you are greeted by the arching glass-and-iron doors of a symmetrical limestone facade epitomizing palatial majesty. Once inside the 30-foot-high arrival hall with 18th-century Turkish chandeliers and wide formal staircase, the drama never stops. It just keeps building to a crescendo—but more about that at the end of the story. The sumptuous 20,000 square feet continues into the grand living room. Here, the designer chose a pale golden yellow to glorify the stunning crown moldings and antique white marble mantel—one of 13 fireplaces. Hand-hewn walnut paves the floor. The dining room highlights another elaborately carved marble mantel. The professional kitchen blends a state-of-the-art eight-burner Wolf range and walk-in refrigerator with a massive center island adorned with five-inch-thick limestone. A butlers pantry supplies wanning ovens and an espresso machine. Counterpointing the lyrical living and dining rooms, the library is a masculine lair of rich mahogany punctuated with a handsome ebony marble fireplace. The coffered-ceilinged wine-tasting room and cave echo the baronial mood. Next come the eight bedrooms and eleven baths, introduced by a three-stage elevator. The owners’ suite forms a luxe firelit aerie with triple-crown moldings and his and her baths with an infinity spa. Other unique accoutrements are the 12-bay security garage and, of course, the gorgeous Olympic-size swimming pool with ethereal poolhouse—a gossamer vision of glittering loveliness on a summer evening. Which brings us to the end of our story, the dramatic crescendo. This high note is reached in the setting that truly sets the house apart—the family theater. Embellished with gilded opulence, and imbued with a radiance rivaling even the splendorous salons of Versailles, it is this rhapsodic red-velvet jewel box that you remember most.

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