As part of the John Lautner one hundredth birthday celebrations, the Lautner Foundation and the MAK Center opened up four of Lautner's houses for a tour this past weekend. We're starting off our recap as spectacularly as possible--with the Sheats-Goldstein House above Benedict Canyon.
Photos by Elizabeth Daniels The docents at the Sheats-Goldstein House told us "This is probably the most dangerous house you'll ever be in." The walkway across the water feature is made of slippery glass and there aren't any rails around the patio or along the outdoor hallway, and yes, we'd hesitate before getting drunk there, but oh boy is it worth the risk. The house has had two lives now--it was built in 1963 for a doctor and artist couple (the Sheats) and their five kids, who moved out a couple of years after completion. (They had wanted the pool area to have a "camping under the stars" feel, so Lautner stuck Old Fashioned glasses down into holes in the concrete ceiling.) In 1972, mysterious multi-millionaire James Goldstein bought the house (no one's sure how he made his fortune, but you might recognize as the hat-wearing fellow who sits courtside at Lakers and lots of other NBA games); in 1980, he started working with Lautner on a major renovation.
The Sheats-Goldstein's structure is almost all original, but materials, built-ins, motorized elements (skylights and walls), glazing, and more are new since the Sheats' time, according to info from the Lautner Foundation. Lautner combined the lower-level study, studio, and master bedroom into one large master divided by a concrete wall and furnished with concrete furniture (and an invisible sink). The master also has a built-in scale and windows that look into the pool (the Sheats had those put in so mom could watch the kids--see, it's totally safe).
Since Lautner's death in 1994, Goldstein has worked with Duncan Nicholson, who spent time in Lautner's office. You can see in the photos that Goldstein is now adding a party/office annex with a rooftop tennis court.
· John Lautner Houses in the Movies: James Bond to Big Lebowski [Curbed LA]