When famed fashion designer Randolph Duke moved to Los Angeles in the early aughts, he was smitten by a house in the Hollywood Hills. Actually, it was not the house he fell for, but rather the house’s location on a promontory that provides breathtaking views of the city’s downtown, the surrounding hills and the Pacific Ocean.
After interviewing a number of architects, Duke decided to work with Austin Kelly and Monika Haefelfinger, the husband-and-wife team of the L.A.-based firm XTEN Architecture. They designed a large first-floor platform that cantilevers out over the hillside while anchoring itself into the hill. The second story, which contains a master suite, floats over the lower level. The stepped and suspended house, containing open living spaces, terraces, wide decks and generous gardens, makes the most of the dramatic site. Projected from the hill to hover above the city like a pair of wings, it was dubbed “The Openhouse” by the architects.
In addition to dramatic rooms with glass walls, they designed a new swimming pool below the first floor and a reflecting pool that acts as an invisible guardrail outside the living room.
While the house was in the early stages of construction, Duke met an interior designer named Tobi Tobin, who worked with him and the architects to compose a chiaroscuro of light and dark surfaces inside and out. For the floors, they tracked down a material, made of light quartz stones set in an epoxy base. They selected a charcoal plaster and dark rift-cut oak for the solid walls and settled on a flat-cut black-diamond granite to clad the fireplace. For the pool, Duke and Tobin decided to channel a bit of the designer’s own sparkle with silver-leafed tiles.
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The result is a home that was featured on the cover of Architectural Digest and that, in 2007, received the American Institute of Architects’ prize for Best Residential Design. It is now for sale, offered for $13 million by Bruno Abisror and Joseph Cilic of Sotheby’s International Realty – Pacific Palisades Brokerage.
The interior, which measures 4,580 square feet, has three bedrooms and three full baths and one partial bathroom. Floor-to-ceiling automatic glass doors slide open to blend indoors and out. The indoor-outdoor aspects of the home are fostered by a spacious yard and wide decks that offer numerous options for outdoor seating, dining and entertaining. The floating concrete staircase leads up to a luxurious primary suite with two fireplaces.
While this house is gated and private, it is also unusually accessible, located just above Hollywood Boulevard. This is a rare gem that brings together a superb location, Hollywood history and truly spectacular architecture.