Adam Sanderson and Rich Ross came to Los Angeles from New York in 1994 – they were beckoned by the dream of a luxurious life in the green hills of California. Their more than successful “marriage” to Hollywood paid off. Having become stars of the entertainment industry (Adam Sanderson is the CEO of Disney and Rich Ross is the president of Discovery Channel), they decided that they should not just live here, but live with a flourish.
“If I’m going to put down roots, it’s going to be in Los Angeles,” Adam shared. At the dawn of their Hollywood career, they settled in a house built in the Norman Chateau style. It was charming, but nothing more. In the back of their minds, Adam and Rich hoped to find a dwelling that would fulfill their California dream. After all, that was what they had once driven across the country to settle here: looking for a trendy, modern home with a stunning view and spacious rooms.
Local Spanish-style houses are usually a lot of small rooms,” says Ross. “For us, it was important to have a sense of scale. We were looking for a place where we could let the surrounding landscape into the house whenever we wanted.” And they found their ideal abode near Truesdale Estates, on the highest hill in Beverly Hills. The history of this fashionable neighborhood began in the 1950s, when the vast land holdings of famed oil magnate Edward Doheny were sold and divided into lots. (By the way, Greystone Mansion, which is highly revered by local movie studios, was built by Edward for his son Ned and his family.
It is now part of a city park). At various times, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Jennifer Aniston lived in Truesdale Estates. Among the local villas are many buildings by famed mid-century architects, including Frank Lloyd Wright, Wallace Neff, and A. Quincy Jones. At the time, the local architectural committee decreed that all houses be built at the same height to preserve the view. That ordinance is still in effect today, although many of the mansions have been radically altered or rebuilt. Sanderson and Ross opted for a 510-square-foot luxury villa.
The concrete and glass structure, with its distinctive wavy curves, was designed by Robert L. Earle in the early 1960s. The new owners wanted to retain the architectural concept of the building while updating it. The previous owner had “decorated” the pool with plump cupids and the bathrooms with crystal chandeliers. It was decided to say goodbye to this legacy of the past.
“Adam and Rich respected the 1960s architecture, but we realized the original design wasn’t perfect and they needed a more modern approach,” says Jamie Bush, a designer and architect who worked with architect Denise Gibbens to renovate the villa. As a result, the building’s supporting structure was preserved intact, but the interior of the house was completely rebuilt.
Three years later, the villa has been transformed into a minimalist space with two spacious bedrooms and a living room with views over the city. The biomorphic curves remain a hallmark of the house. The main entryway is semi-circular in shape, lined with limestone and complemented by a simple plaster portico. The glass-paneled partitions that separate the living and dining areas echo the waves of the exterior walls. The pool area is shaded by a semi-circular awning that gracefully complements the roof line of the main building. Trees and shrubs growing around the house do not obscure the classic Los Angeles view from the terrace.
“We wanted a real unity of interior and exterior,” Ross says. The rooms’ neutral palette, which is enlivened by various textures that act as the perfect backdrop for the owners’ art collection, also contributes to this. Adam and Rich have long collected photographs, but a move to Truesdale Estates forced them to rethink their priorities. And they switched to large-scale canvases that would be commensurate with their new home. Jamie Bush was in charge of selecting the furniture. The idea was to reconcile the best icons of mid-twentieth-century design with vibrant contemporary objects.
“In that mix of past and present was born the new image of the house, which required a fraction of the boldness of Adam and Rich,” Bush summarizes. – For example, in order to install a round marble table weighing two tons in the dining room, a crane had to be called in. But fear is unknown to the owners, and these guys are not afraid to compromise. What are you willing to do for your dreams?