First on the market last year and asking $3,000,000, this 5-bed, 6.5-bath house in the woods of Piedmont was re-listed this week at $2,850,000. Properties get re-listed every day of the week- but this one's a spectacular flashback. Built in 1971, it was the second house designer Val Arnold had done for this family, the first being in Palm Desert; most of his work was done in the Palm Springs area. And apparently his design partner on the job was Arthur Elrod, the Palm Springs decorator who would become more famous for commissioning architect John Lautner to design a futuristic house overlooking the desert than he would for his own career. Arnold was at some point immortalized by Architectural Digest as one of the ten most important designers in America. Whatever- he seems pretty much forgotten today (at least by the Internet) but back in the day he was a favorite of AD's now-retired editrix Paige Rense. Here, he's made some sort of mad francophone barn conversion from the ground up- stone walls, wrought iron, huge hearths, velvet.
In brief: three stories with the entrance and three bedrooms on the ground floor, plus a completely insane bar room with walls covered in Moroccan tiles that opens to the pool area. Upstairs, there's a living room, dining area, kitchen and family room, which sounds simple enough except you have to pass through that immense three-story stair hall with stone walls and a wrought iron and brass railing. These people did not shop at Home Depot. Top floor is a master suite with two baths (sadly, not shown) in onyx with gold fittings. We can't decide if we love that bar or the skylit family room more. With the exception of the ground floor bedrooms, most of Val Arnold's furnishings and decor survive, including that beast's skull on the sideboard. Check out the gallery and revisit the past, plus you can see the house this Sunday, January 28, from 2pm to 4pm.
· 145 Lexford [Heidi Marchesotti/MMcD]
· 145 Lexford [Redfin]
· Lautner's Elrod House Renting to Private Members Only [Curbed LA Archives]