Behind the Scenes With Mr. LA
From Charlie’s Angels to Rihanna’s 27th Birthday Party, the Sheats—Goldstien Residence is the backdrop for Los Angeles’s greatest hits, and the creator? An enigma as fabled as The City of Angeles
It’s a quiet Friday evening in West Hollywood and I’m not quite sure if the Uber has taken us to the right address.
“Do you mind driving a little further up?”
Not something I’m used to saying, but when you’re in the winding Hollywood Hills to visit the architectural marvel that is the life work of “Mr. LA” Himself, James Goldstein, I guess there’s nowhere to go but up.
Perched high within that maze, nestled quietly within a corner cul-de-sac, the entrance to the landmark “Sheats—Goldstien” residence rests between an alley of unassuming homes, almost overlooked unless explicitly directed which way to go. Following the numbered sign, what was the alley turns quickly into a canopy of foreign foliage. All of a sudden, you’re in a different realm
“Yeah, definitely this one”.
Mr. Goldstein has just finished a round of tennis when we arrive at the gate, he fiddles with the combination in a classically flamboyant bright orange jumper, racket in hand, slightly unsteady. At 78 years young, Goldstein has the palpable aura of a Hollywood superstar, his piercing blue eyes and austere silhouette seem straight out of a casting directors fantasy —charisma that’s as curious as it is compelling. I stop myself from an over-enthusiastic greeting, something tells me with James, everything is strictly business.
“I’ve got an hour and a half, I’ll go get changed”
Goldstein is a man you’ve most certainly seen and as certainly understood that he was famous. His sartorial choices don’t let you look over the fact that he’s of a different breed, an opulent cowboy his wide-brimmed hats and stiff leather jackets, tell the world he is some sort of a celebrity.
Left alone in the kitchen of the James Turrell designed masterpiece, the grandeur of the home speaks in a subtlety similar to it’s entrance. Ceilings stretch high, and modernist design elements ooze with an unattainable level of expense. However, an Organic Architecture, the materials feel familiar, as if the hills themselves came alive to create a house dedicated to aesthetic harmony. Earth tones and glass walls adorn the decor while skylights simultaneously let in light so abundant one almost forgets they’re standing within an enclosed space. As the space stretches from the foyer, to the sky scraping balcony, over the lap pool a view of Los Angeles reveals itself in a splendor as theatric as the city itself. Miles seem to stretch over the green to the skyline, but within a ten minute drive past Beverly Hills, under Mr. Goldstiens roof you’re in a private oasis.
With the gentle sound of the Koi Pond trickling through the living room, I asked James Goldstein about the progression and
ABSTRACTION AND EMPIRICAL ILLUSTRATION
We live our lives made up of a great quantity of isolated instants. So as to be lost at the heart of a multitude of things. (From the Double Dream of Spring, 1970.)