The architect John Lautner designed and built the Sheats Goldstein residence in the early 60s on a piece of property a short distance from the Beverly Hills border. The home was originally built for Helen (an artist) and Paul (a doctor) Sheats and their three children, who commissioned Lautner to build their new residence in an environment in which the force of nature defines the home’s essence.
The house overlooks the Santa Monica Mountains, east of the city of Los Angeles, dominating the environment and creating a space in which the exterior extends to the interior. An example of organic American architecture, the house made a number of memorable appearances in films; in a single gesture, the residence met the many needs of the Sheats family by taking advantage of the limitations imposed by the location.
Years later, in 1972, the residence –in a state of some disrepair– was purchased by James Goldstein, who commissioned John Lautner to work on its transformation. The architect worked on the residence until his death at the age of 90, in a series of remodels that spanned more than two decades and encompassed not only the house, but the interiors, windows, lighting, rugs, and furniture as well, using materials like concrete, steel and wood.
The house was originally designed with five bedrooms and a living room completely open to the terrace. The Southern California weather makes using cross ventilation for cooling possible; there is no air conditioning and the floors are radiant heated. Large windows in the master bedroom were also an original feature that allowed Helen Sheats to watch her children playing in the spectacular swimming pool as she worked in her studio.
In the living room, the fireplace is dominated by a coffered ceiling that extends to cover part of pool and frame the landscape with its triangular overhang. Goldstein hired landscape designer Eric Nagelmann to create a lush tropical garden that blends seamlessly with Lautner’s design.
Today, architect Duncan Nicholson continues to work at the Sheats Goldstein residence. Click on the link for a video tour of this spectacular home.