James Magni Brings Back Hollywood Glamour
A classic entry colonnade that channels the view through the center of the house and all the way to the infinity pool on the other side, forms the introduction to a Hollywood retrofit by James Magni.
Built in the 1960s, the original did have good bones, but small rooms, low ceilings and fussy details – that had to go.
Magni reinvented it as the modernist classic it was meant to be.
With almost cartoonishly elegant deck chairs, the infinity-edge pool overlooking Los Angeles is a tossed-off cliche of Hollywood glamour.
Set in a rolling lawn with the old-fashioned allure of Hollywood, the spectacular hillside site was irresistible.
Stripped bare and then sparsely furnished with almost the idea of furniture, rather than actual furniture, the emotional language is withdrawn, perfectionist and scrupulous.
The result is cool and classic. “When there are no crown moldings, baseboards, doorjambs, or hardware, there’s no margin for error,” Magni says. “We actually had alignment meetings to make sure every detail was in harmony.”
The house was furnished with a few well-chosen custom-made pieces as well as classics by Eero Saarinen and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.
The sober elegance of the house comes from its extreme restraint, that is both masculine and dramatic.
The retrofit was almost a complete rebuild, including windows and walls, to better appreciate its miraculous siting. The cavelike solidity of black balances a wide open horizon view that is all bright.
The original had the sort of tacky Hollywood charm that speaks of a starlet’s dreams.
The rigorous retrofit has transformed the house into a sea of white stone in a rhythmic series of crisp architectonic spaces framing California’s simple blue skies.