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I Could Live Here: Kim and Kanye's House
Ok, no I couldn't. I can't even keep up the ruse for one sentence. But since I'm oddly house content this week, I figured why not throw myself a curve ball and see what would happen if I were forced to live in a hideous, 14,000-square-foot nouveau-Mediterranean monstrosity in Bel Air. Plus, we all get to look at pictures of Kim Kardasian and Kanye West's new house. So it's a win-win.
I don't even know where to start. I would say I would tear the whole thing down and build a small Dutch-style city—something like this with meandering pedestrian paths, a small organic market and a co-op preschool—but all that wasted granite and wrought iron would make me feel far too guilty.
So let's say I have to keep the basic footprint, but I can ignore city zoning regulations and the undoubtably strict HOA bylaws. My next idea would be a super chic boutique hotel. Think Chateau Marmont or the old school Garden of Allah (aren't familiar with that one? Check out our forthcoming spring 2013 issue for an education).
I'll start with the exterior. Heaven help me. I would have to bring in some quirky artist/designer like Roy McMakin who could make a witty statement about obscene SoCal architecture by covering the whole thing in matte black Venetian plaster and gold-leafing the clay roof tiles. Something moody and unpredictable, but that the little Hollywood starlets would love.
The landscaping would be equally extreme. Maybe a massive 20-foot-tall boxwood maze, with crash couches and hidden cocktail bars within in it. The pool will stay as is, except I will bring in a crew of street artists to colorfully graffiti the life out of it. All that spray paint on gray stone would be a nod to the lax graffiti laws in the lesser touristed parts of Rome. The poolside dining area will be converted into extravagant, private pool cabanas.
Inside, it all has to go. The light fixtures, the columns, the cabinetry, the finishes. But we'll make sure we disassemble carefully and send the materials disaster areas in New Jersey of New Orleans where they can tastefully be incorporated into about 100 new houses. When divided up carefully, horrible design loses its power.
I would hire a designer…I'm tempted to say Kelly Wearstler, because her brilliant use of exotic marbles and creation of Rococo-inspired rooms could make this place amazing without simply stripping it of all it was and going modern/quirky/fresh. I wish she wasn't already such a hotel superstar, but I insist this would be nothing like her other good-vibey hotel projects, but again, darker and even a little gothic. Like this house she did for Laura and Jeff Sanderson in Washington. Imagine the original baths, kichen and bedrooms (above) reimagined by Wearster (below)....
I envision about 30 rooms, a spa, a signature restaurant and bar and moody lounge where hours-long Vanity Fair interviews will undoubtedly take place. The neighborhood would surely be terrorized, but knowing LA, the residents would secretly love it.
But, back to reality. To their minimal credit, Kimye is gutting the place as well. And Kanye has been known to be something of an arbiter of style and interesting art (he is rumored to have dropped into SF's Cavalier a few months back.) But according to TMZ, "The new home will be an Italian-style villa ... with a gym, movie theater, full hair and makeup salon, bowling alley, basketball court, indoor and outdoor pool." Doesn't sound promising. But if this blog sparks any ideas for the lovebirds? They can call me. I'm here to help.