Style-savvy and always deeply tanned chairman and co-CEO of home renovation and décor juggernaut Restoration Hardware Gary Friedman has substantially lightened his considerable residential real estate load with the sale of two multi-million dollar properties, one in northern California’s Napa Valley and the other in SoCal’s Beverly Hills
In the spring of 2013, Friedman paid $5.9 million for a one-acre wine country retreat just outside the charming Napa Valley town of St. Helena, spent the next couple of years and a considerable fortune on a comprehensive renovation and set it out for sale in late summer 2016 amid piles of publicity with an optimistically aggressive asking price of $10.5 million. The price plummeted to $8.5 million before it was sold at a steep discount last month for $7.55 million. Picturesquely surrounded by vineyards and dubbed Eight Palms, the chichi estate has a 5,410-square-foot main house set amid manicured grounds and done up in a rigorously subdued palette of greys and taupes with five lavish en suite bedrooms, a huge outdoor living room with fireplace, a fitness/yoga studio with massage room and a 630-square-foot one-bedroom/one-bath poolside guesthouse.
The year after he picked up Eight Palms, just before Halloween 2014, the mass-market retailing veteran, previously a top executive at Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn, coughed up $9.9 million for a low-slung, sleekly updated 1960s contemporary pavilion in the lower Trousdale Estates area of Beverly Hills that he listed over the summer (2017) at $11.995 million and sold for $11.33 million. The approximately 4,300-square-foot single-story residence has four bedrooms and four full and two half bathrooms. A short bridge passes over a shallow reflecting pool and links the gated motor court to floor-to-ceiling double front doors set between huge panes of floor-to-ceiling glass. Circular pattern filigree panels divide the entrance gallery from the living room that features an inset “carpet” of white marble surrounded by ashy-brown wide plank floorboards along with a 10-foot ceiling and a vast, telescopic row of glass panels that disappear into the wall. The adjoining dining room gets a double dose of drama with a gigantic circular window and a double-sided fireplace shared with a dapperly tailored kitchen. The master suite features a full wall of glass that slips into the walls and opens the room the backyard’s sunbathing and lounging terrace along with a boutique-style dressing room and a bathroom lined mausoleum-like on the floor and walls with beautifully book-matched slabs of grey-veined white marble and a solid panel of glass that vanishes into the wall so one can step from the shower area directly into the swimming pool.
Even with the sale of two significant and, by any financial standard, pricey properties, Friedman still presides over an impressive portfolio of private residences that includes a Tuscan-inspired neo-Mediterranean villa perched on a steep slope in the posh Marin County enclave of Belvedere where it has a sweeping view over the San Francisco Bay from the downtown skyline to the Golden Gate Bridge and Mount Tamalpais. Friedman custom-built the multi-story residence with is now ex-wife, designer Kendal Agins, and had it featured in Architectural Digest in 2008. Several months after he bought the Eight Palms estate in St. Helena, he caught a classic case of the Real Estate Fickle — he’s said he wanted something closer to Restoration Hardware’s not entirely opponent-free food, wine, art and design complex RH Yountville — and set his real estate sights on a larger estate in tiny but sophisticated Yountville, a 4.58-acre spread with a nearly 7,000-square-foot residence surrounded by vineyards he acquired in August for $9.15 million.