On Location: Where Howard Hughes Was Underfoot
Built in 1926 for a rich socialite by the architect Roland Coate, the home was first rented and later purchased by Mr. Hughes, who was drawn partially by the Wilshire Country Club’s golf course (its manicured fairways run proper previous the yard).
The decade or in order that Mr. Hughes lived right here was a pivotal time: He produced the movies “Hell’s Angels” and “Scarface,” set a transcontinental airspeed document and romanced Katharine Hepburn.
As a lot as Mr. Shah, 47, a former film producer turned restaurateur, was intrigued by the Hollywood lore, he and his spouse had a extra prosaic attraction to the home: with three youngsters and one other on the way in which, they wanted area.
The couple had been dwelling in Beverly Hills when Ms. Shah, now 35, remembered an acquaintance telling them that his home was too large for him and he was contemplating a transfer. “So I emailed saying, ‘Would you sell me said house?’ ” she recalled. “I hadn’t even seen it. It just all came together in my head.”
It got here collectively on paper, too. In 2011, the couple paid $6.three million for the roughly 9,000-square-foot home and launched into an in depth renovation that included a small addition and value round $300 a sq. foot.
The chief downside, as they noticed it, was the outdated, chopped-up ground plan, with old school servants’ quarters that had been faraway from the principle dwelling areas. “We couldn’t be an entire half-acre away from our children,” Ms. Shah mentioned. “And we entertain a lot, so we wanted to make the common spaces a little more open. We just modernized it and tried to make it a little brighter.”
When it got here to furnishing the rooms, additionally they favored their very own eclectic tastes relatively than attempting to adapt to the historic model. The couple reworked a pool room right into a ’70s-style plywood rec room and redid Mr. Hughes’s former wood-paneled examine in hanging black lacquer. “We’re fun people,” Ms. Shah mentioned. “That sort of old Spanish dark woods didn’t go with us.”
They turned the adjoining lounge right into a showcase of midcentury design, with a pair of Kaare Klint safari chairs, a Maison Charles glass-and-brass espresso desk and customized leather-based couches within the model of Edward Wormley’s basic Gondola sofas. Laura Adams, a Los Angeles-based inside designer, helped select and organize the décor — not that she wanted to do a lot directing.
“They have great taste, and they’re into beautiful midcentury pieces,” Ms. Adams mentioned. “I helped them use those pieces with more-functional pieces that are kid-friendly.”
Many of these classic furnishings, like a cool Lindner Tilting Wing grand piano, got here from Ms. Shah’s stressed midnight searches of on-line antiques and design marketplaces. “Some people look at porn at night,” she mentioned. “I look at 1stdibs.”
Occasionally, her adorning ideas, like a brilliant yellow couch for the youngsters or kitchen counters made from brass (there may be a lot gold all through the home), clashed together with her husband’s subdued model.
“I’m more of a purist and she’s more of a risk taker,” Mr. Shah mentioned.
To which Ms. Shah retorted: “I’m young, he’s old.”
The couple had “serious fights about tiles,” Ms. Shah added. But now that the home is completed (and she or he obtained her gold Ann Sacks kitchen tiles), they each mentioned they really feel very fortunate. They have a house with loads of area in a genteel neighborhood, a big entrance yard for his or her youngsters and a yard gate that opens onto the unique golf course that drew Mr. Hughes. And they’ve his vault.
It’s not a lot of a sight, actually, just a bit concrete-walled room that has been transformed right into a wine cellar. But the unique metal door remains to be there, together with the engaging thriller of what Mr. Hughes might have saved behind it.
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