…for a wee gander a some serious SoCal architectural gorgeous, shall we?
The Schwimmer Residence, designed by innovative and experimental architect John Lautner and set into four desirable hillside acres high above Benedict Canyon in the 90210, was commissioned and built in 1982 by a Dr. Alden Schwimmer and his interior designer wife Nina.
Doctor and Missus Schwimmer sold the castle-inspired house—Lautner reportedly described it as a “horizontal castle”—in 1998 to former fashion designer Harriet Selling-Canepa who renovated and updated the house and, property records indicate, sold it off for an unknown amount of money in January 2009 to L.A.-based real estate executive Fred Droesch who currently has the eye-popping and iconic crib up for lease at $35,000 per month.
Situated well above the tree tops for picture perfect panoramic canyon and city views, the architecturally taut and nature-minded house hugs the hillside with its gentle curved shape, measures around 6,000 square feet, and contains, according to listing information, 4 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms.
The main living areas include a voluminous open-plan living/dining area with fab stone floor, two massive stone fireplaces, wood-framed glass doors that connect to cantilevered terrace and runs along the back of the house, and a soaring, high-drama, rib-like wood ceiling with curved rafters. A more intimately scaled den—also with soaring, high-drama, rib-like wood ceiling with curved rafters—has herringbone patterned wood floors, a second massive stone fireplace and built-in bookshelves and desk space.
A series of hollowed out turrets made of Bouquet Canyon Stone solidly anchor the cantilevered two-story structure and serve a variety of purposes. One is a wet bar, another is a pantry, a couple house bathrooms and storage spaces and the one in the master bedroom functions as a pee-in-your-pants perfect sky lit shower enclosure.
Certainly Miter Lautner’s Schwimmer Residence hasn’t been maintained as a time capsule or museum piece, a fact some architectural purists will surely point out and poo-poo. Any number of alterations (improvements and upgrades) and have been made such as in the very airy, center island kitchen outfitted with sleek wood cabinets we suspect may not be original to the house and high-grade appliances that include full-sized, side-by-side fridge and freezers that are most definitely not original to the house.
Alterations aside, we are in unrequited and deep real estate lust-love with this house. Although it seems utterly preposterous to anyone frugally inclined like Your Mama to spend $35,000 a month on rent even if you can well afford to spend $35,000 a month on rent, were Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter ever to be in the position to pay $35,000 a month to rent a house—and we don’t expect to ever be—we would be powerfully tempted by this house.
Some of the larger nearby estates are now owned by the somewhat mysterious Igor Greensberg whose mega-mansion rivals those in Beverly Park in both size and opulence and Dr. Phil McGraw.who dropped $29,816,500 for his 16,000-plus square foot mansion around the corner in July 2010. At the bottom of The Schwimmer Residence’s hair pin-like gated driveway is the famous (and sadly bulldozed) Falcon Lair, a stunning Spanish style residence built in the 1920s by silent film stud Rudy Valentino and owed for nearly 50 years by American heiress Doris Duke. And just down the hill a bit more is the property where Charles Manson’s minions murdered a handful of people including Sharon Tate in 1969. That property is now owned by sitcom writer/producer Jeff Franklin (Laverne & Shirly, Full House).
The ever-industrious kids at Curbed toured The Schwimmer Residence last summer and posted a couple dozen drool worthy photos that show other parts of the house not shown here that include a red-carpeted spiral staircase, the most decadent and dee-voon laundry room Your Mama and our imperious house gurl Svetlana have ever seen, and a sensually serpentine entry lined with curvaceous Richard Serra-like Bouquet Canyon Stone walls.
listing photos: Sotheby’s International Realty