AIA/LA Home Tour Recap: Wessssstide!


On Sunday afternoon, after a seemingly endless week of rain, the clouds finally parted for the L.A. chapter of the American Institute of Architect’s semi-annual Home Tour. This tour focused on the Westside of LA, with four houses spanning Santa Monica, Brentwood, Bel Air and West Hollywood. We made it to three out of four, skipping Cory Buckner’s rehab of a two-story home in Brentwood’s Crestwood Hills due to time constraints.

The Leslie family dog greets visitors

The tour began in Rustic Canyon, in the home and office of architect Rick Leslie. The seven-level (yes, SEVEN) 4,700 square foot home began in the “public” zones of the living room and kitchen to the right of the entrance. After being directed through those spaces and then down to the office and kid’s playroom (the kids were actually in there playing video games. We felt as if we had walked into a living photo shoot) we were then brought into the “private” zones on the left side of the home, which consisted of the bedrooms. While the home was promoted as sustainable (we spotted solar panels on the roof) and includes radiant floor heating, locally made, CMU walls, and low VOC paints, it’s hard to see how building a new seven-story home of that size after tearing down the previous home on that site, can be regarded as sustainable.

Our second stop (the third on the tour if we hadn’t skipped the Buckner-designed home *UPDATE: Curbed LA covers Buckner’s house here) was clearly the showstopper. With jaw-dropping ridgeline views of the Valley, a massive lawn, and situated in a gated community right off of Mulholland, this is a house made for entertaining. It also looks like it’s never been occupied (though it was very well staged). The owner, a former VC, but the house on the market months ago, and it was recently reduced by $2 million. It’s now asking for a cool $15.5 million.

Designed by Assembledge+ and Billy Rose Design, the house retained its original brick facade during the renovation,  with a second floor addition. The result is large expanses of glass and dark steel supports interspersed by brick. The backyard includes an infinity pool and a “Barragan-inspired water feature.” While the house is large (and also includes a wine cellar, study, screening room and gym) the scale remains human and relatively comfortable. Also, it has KILLER bathrooms. Seriously, check out that herringbone patterned marbe floor in a guest bathroom. For more on the house and great pictures, check here.

Our last stop on the tour was in the Bird Streets in West Hollywood. Everytime we venture into the Bird Streets, we expect to see the cast of “Entourage.” Instead, we pulled up to the house on Nightingale with a “For Sale” sign to learn the broker is none other than Mauricio Umansky, a Real Househusband of Beverly Hills. Alas, Mauricio (or his wife Kyle Richards) was nowhere to be seen. Designed by Zoltan Pali of spfa, it sits just next door to a house on last year’s tour also designed by him. The single story modernist home (there is a basement with a laundry and screening room) features an interior courtyard surrounded by the C-shaped building. With large expanses of glass, the house has an expansive view of the city from the ocean to downtown. The master bedroom hangs over the steep slope, while the pool sits on the other border. The house is currently on the market for $13.7 million (a ridiculously high number even for the tony Bird Streets).

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