If you’re not familiar with John Lautner’s iconic Beverly Crest mansion, or with the estate’s flamboyant owner, then you’re definitely missing out. This 1963-built mansion is an architectural gem and one of Hollywood’s best-kept secrets.
John Lautner’s Organic Architecture Dream
The 4,500-square-foot house was designed by American architect John Lautner and built between 1961 and 1963, in Los Angeles’ Beverly Crest neighborhood. The concrete-and-wood house was built into the sandstone ledge of a hill, and it’s a testament to the connection between man and nature.
Each space is open and offers stunning views of downtown Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean, with glass walls throughout that serve to blend the indoors with the outdoors.
John Lautner designed the American Organic Architecture house for Helen and Paul Sheats and their three children. After going through a couple of different owners, it was acquired by James F. Goldstein, a businessman, real estate investor and fashion designer, in 1972.
At the time, the house had fallen into disrepair, and was in dire need of a makeover, so Goldstein reached out to Lautner to help bring the residence back to its former glory.
What emerged was a two-decades-long partnership to remodel the house, which ended when John Lautner passed away in 1994. However, Goldstein never stopped tweaking and upgrading his Beverly Crest dwelling, even adding a nightclub to the list of amenities.
James Goldstein takes the residence up a notch
The Sheats-Goldstein Residence, as the property is now known, still maintains all the original designs and touches that John Lautner carefully created. His work is not limited to just the architecture of the house; Lautner also designed the interiors, the windows, lighting systems, all the furniture, the rugs, and other details.
James Goldstein worked with the designer for years to ensure every little detail was in tune with the overall theme of ‘organic’ architecture. The result is a house so unique, so carefully crafted and fresh, that Goldstein wants everyone to be able to tour it and be inspired by it.
That’s why, in 2016, he decided that he would donate the house, with everything in it, to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
James Goldstein entrusted the home, its surrounding estate, as well as a 1961 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud and his eclectic wardrobe to the museum. This way, his and Lautner’s legacy will continue to inspire and attract curious minds and aspiring architects and designers. And let’s not forget about the celebrities.
Sheats-Goldstein, Hollywood’s best-kept secret
The Sheats-Goldstein Residence, besides serving as home to James Goldstein, has also been used by various showbiz producers and directors. If you thought the house seemed familiar, you might have seen it in The Big Lebowski, as the home of porn merchant Jackie Treehorn, or in Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle.
The house has also served as setting for fashion ads and commercials, glamorous events, and, well, porn flicks. James Goldstein has always kept an open mind, apparently.
Then there’s the nightclub. Dubbed Club James, for obvious reasons, the venue was Goldstein’s idea, to keep Hollywood parties out of his house, but still close by. Exclusive parties and events are held at Club James round the clock; Rihanna celebrated her 27th birthday party here, with Jay Z, Mick Jagger and Leo DiCaprio in attendance. Needless to say, Goldstein wants the good times to keep rolling at Club James even after he’s gone.
Decoding the mystery: Who is James Goldstein?
If you’re wondering, who the hell is this James Goldstein and why haven’t I heard of him before, unfortunately we don’t know a whole lot about him either. Despite his flamboyant style and constant public appearances (he’s an avid NBA fan and attends as many matches as he possibly can), James Goldstein still remains somewhat of a mystery.
We know he grew up in Milwaukee and then moved to California to attend Stanford University, after which he got into real estate and started investing heavily in developing Century City in L.A. He’s always been into fashion, constantly in the front row at glamorous fashion shows, and he even has his own fashion line. Back in the day, he’s also said to have had an affair with Jayne Mansfield, who was married to someone else at the time. Still, he never married, and he has no children, which is why the decision to donate his unique home to LACMA came naturally.
This is the first-ever architecture donation made to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and it’s surely one that will continue to inspire young architects, interior designers, and art and fashion aficionados for many years to come. For now, James Goldstein is living his best, most glamorous life up in his hillside mansion overlooking the City of Angels. Not a bad way to live life in your 80s, is it?
If you want to see more, take a virtual tour of the residence with Goldstein himself below:
All image credit goes to James Goldstein.com
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