Woodrow Wilson Drive in the Hollywood Hills, also known as "Celebrity Row," is an ultra-private neighborhood that counts Will Ferrel, Zac Efron, and Lady Gaga among its residents. On a lot at the top of the drive, husband-and-wife team Sam Gnatovich and Alexi Rennals of Los Angeles–based Simo Design has extensively renovated a 1938 home. The 4,482-square-foot, four-bed, five-and-a-half bath residence is now on the market for a cool $6,500,000.
The property is situated on two lots, with the main house elevated above the lower yard and guesthouse. Although a double-lot home is a rare find, this meant that Simo Design had to work through the challenge of seamlessly unifying the upper and lower lots.
Because the distinct elevations left inadequate space for a conventional pool, their solution was to integrate the pool and the landscape bed as a transitional element from the main house to the backyard.
"In doing so, we were able to utilize a slope that would have been otherwise unusable. We like that the pool also creates a dramatic element to the back of the house, and is visible from all of the shared living spaces," says Gnatovich.
The original layout of the house was very traditional despite the expansive backyard, so the redesign maximized the connection between the architecture and landscaping.
In reworking the layout, Simo Design opened up the house as much as possible with a U-plan that includes a central atrium.
The main living spaces are located on one side of the atrium, and the bedrooms on the other side.
Adjacent to the entry is a sunroom with white oak screens. These screens set the mood as the light shifts, and create dramatic shadows on the floors and wall.
Shop the Look
Fir used for the wood ceilings and beams were treated with a laborious staining process to get the right "washed" look that would at once leave the grain of the wood exposed, but reduce the natural red hues.
Simo Design allowed emotion to determine finishings. "Our work is based in materiality," Gnatovich says. "We want the materials selected to evoke a feeling of calm, but also be contrasted enough that they are unexpected and exciting. I think that is the goal to timeless design. No tricks, no fads, just a cohesive selection of materials and textures that work well together."
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