Sheats-Goldstein house review

I was invited to visit this… It’s hard to explain. It’s a house. Not really? It’s a cluster of dedicated spaces for living. And those spaces are… I don’t even know, man. But I was The Dude for a minute:

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For those of you who are uncultured swine, this is where The Big Lebowski sits when he’s getting drugged in that movie called The Big Lebowski. I can’t remember our host’s name but she was lovely. It’s hard to describe what I felt entering this:

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I imagined what it felt like to stroll there a billion times. For years. I’ve read everything I could about Lautner and this house. I know everything that can possibly be known about it via books and internet. And then it happened. It immediately made me sad that I don’t live there. No shame. It’s ultra-bold, low-key eccentric, strong and solid, pure as FUCK. I love the feel of polished or rough concrete everywhere. The beautiful, comfortable and look-alike Belgium carpet (the floors are heated in winter). The wood lines, the polygons all around… Everything is cantilevered if possible. It’s jaw-dropping. And all you hear when you go around the pool are birds. Birds, jungle and shelter. It’s absolutely, insanely fantastic. I can’t.

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Dining table, kitchen and straight ahead, bedrooms to the right with sliding glass doors. It’s not a huge house. It’s perfect. Now, James is extending, adding expansions. But wait, look at the master bedroom from the corner of it:

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Yes those sliding glass doors close the couch corner. Look. No doubt, when closed, it is hot at noon. When open, it is perfect. there is no AC in the entire house. Fuck AC, go outside under a tree you idiot. Save the planet etc.

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Shout out to the landscaping. It’s lavishly gorgeous. You can see the steps on the left leading to the chairs in front of the wall to the right. Everything is hiding behind a ton of vegetation. You can’t see the house from the street, you can’t see it from where this picture was taken, you can’t see it from maps, street view and what not. Privacy through nature is life goal, son. Oh yeah, expansions.

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There’s a club now (underneath the tennis court). Left to the TV is the DJ booth. It is of course cantilevered concrete and cantilevered metal, you peasants with supporting beams. Be gone.

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It’s mesmerizing. I’m a bit concerned with the sound, though. That’s a lot of reflecting surfaces, this might sound like you are inside a spray paint can; metallic as hell. Maybe not. I haven’t been invited to play there. Yet.

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Final Boss Chair and The Office View. I imagine looking at the horizon, pondering, rotating on that chair… “am I happy?” lmao just kidding. It’s the table where checks are being signed. Or maybe where James, the owner, draws vulvas on post-its.

Speaking of him, he was there, playing tennis and reading papers. It’s absurd that I now live 20 minutes away from that man and that I see him later on TV, courtside of the Lakers game. “Hey James, I was hanging out in your bedroom this morning and now you’re like me, shaking your head at those Lakers getting whooped by Serge Ibaka”.

It’s just… I can’t. Now, real talk.

This entire human creation of a shelter was mostly possible because of James’ bottomless finances. They say he invested well in real estate many decades ago and doesn’t need to work. Real estate is a ruthless business that kicks people out of their homes everyday. People, ants like you and I, fight to keep rights against real estate folks everyday. There’s prop 10 right now on the ballot this week (it’s YES on 10, don’t be rude). So, knowing that people somewhere in this country are paying a steep price for ONE dude to enjoy all year long a completely unique home, is hard to swallow. It conflicts me.

On the other hand, I respect James. He worked directly with John Lautner and his firm for over 40 years to maintain and extend the vision. The result is supreme. He also isn’t one of those billionaires who are all over themselves: he only owns this house and his 1961 Rolls-Royce, “that’s it”. He could have a villa in Ibiza, 4 Ferraris, a condo in NYC and an apartment in Aspen. Nope. He also opens his house from time to time to freaking nobodies like me and doesn’t sweat it. He already gave the house to LACMA so it will be preserved and open to visit for certain. He also loves basketball and isn’t the biggest fan of the Lakers. A man of taste (I won’t comment on his fashion; fashion is fashion).

Also shout out to the Sheats family who was able to see something in this parcel of land that was basically a giant wall of dry ass mud. There was almost no vegetation. A nice view over LA, right, but damn. At the same time, in the late 50s they probably bought that lot for like, $49.99. Not hard to try things out.

NOW CRITICS

I don’t really have any besides the decreasing use of wood in the newest sections. Listen: wood + concrete + glass = ecstasy. You take wood out of the equation and it’s not quite the same. Wood brings warmth, naturally. But I understand the reason why James is cutting lumber use down: maintenance. Wood gets hit, needs care, paint etc. You don’t need that with concrete and super-thick glass. That shit is immortal, basically.

If you want to have panic attacks, having kids and pets on that property would do it: there are almost no railing anywhere and it’s the jungle on a hill so say goodbye to your dog the first time he jumps down there chasing a squirrel.

Besides those minor inconveniences, dear Mr. Goldstein I would like to have my name on the deed, sir. I would probably switch the tennis court to a basketball court/skatepark combo but other than that, I would take care of that jewel for even longer than you will. Thank you for opening your door. And thank you John Lautner for being a genius. I’ll be back. Like, tomorrow if you want. Or tonight.

Photo album (60 pictures, no cropping, no filter).

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