Lots of Details, Yet Minimal

Image © Tom Ferguson

Image © Tom Ferguson

Lots of Details, Yet Minimal

by Abeer Sweis
October 11, 2018
The Sheats Goldstein house. One of my all-time favorite homes. Over the years this home, built in the American Organic Architecture style, has served to inspire and re-inspire me time and time again.

Just like every architecture student starting their career, the work wasn’t what I dreamed it would be. It was my boss, and mentor, at the time who took me on a home tour of the Sheats Goldstein house where I was immediately re-inspired, re-energized and re-engaged with what I had always wanted to do. I knew at that moment that architecture can be special.

The Sheats Goldstein house was everything I thought architecture should be. It was customized for the client, contextual, open, and made of gorgeous materials. The home engaged the outdoors at every possible opportunity, through skylights and doors and windows that seemed as if they were invisible.

Architect John Lautner designed this Beverly Crest home for Helen and Paul Sheats and their young family; it was built between 1961 and 1963. Years later Mr. Goldstein purchased the home and commissioned Lautner to perform necessary upgrades, which Lautner did until he died in 1994. Lautner designed everything about the home including the structure, the interior fixtures, the furniture and even the rugs.

What I fell in love with that day, I still love about that house. The entrance to this home is tucked into the contours of a beautiful hillside jungle. To enter requires stepping away from the cityscape and on stepping stones through a koi pond.

The light, so much light. The play of light as it moves through the rooms varies at different times of the day; it is hypnotizing. The disappearing ceiling in the kitchen and dining room is actually a retractable skylight. Merging the outside and inside was a signature of Lautner’s style. And he uses all of my favorite materials to do so: concrete, glass, steel and wood are applied in harmony with one another.

Oh and the water. A full wall of glass opens out to the pool and the city view. The zero-edge pool looks like a sheet of glass, it compels you to touch it. Twenty years later, I have not forgotten the stillness of the surface of the water on that first day I experienced this home.

The glass walls of the open plan master suite have almost invisible seams that open with the push of a button. Once open, nothing obstructs the spectacular views of the city, the ocean and the world beyond.

The master bath has an exterior wall of glass and no large mirror, so rather than appreciating the image of oneself, the room encourages reflection on the natural habitat of the hillside.

Lautner manages to pack in so many details using light, water, views and materials, yet the home remains an homage to minimalism. At SweisKloss we honor Lautner’s style with our commitment to blending the inside with the outside, our use of natural materials, and to create custom work for our clients while creating timeless spaces to be valued by many.
Abeer Sweis