The Sheats Goldstein Residence is a house designed and built between 1961 and 1963 by American architect John Lautner in Beverly Crest, Los Angeles, California, just a short distance from the Beverly Hills border. The building was conceived from the inside out and built into the sandstone ledge of the hillside; a cave-like dwelling that opens to embrace nature and view. The house is an example of American Organic Architecture that derives its form as an extension of the natural environment and of the individual to whom it was built. Typical of Lautner's work, the project was approached from an idea and a unique structure was derived that solved the challenges of the site.
The house has been featured in several movies, including Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, Bandits, and The Big Lebowski. Architectural articles on the house have appeared in the Robb Report, Town & Country, Architectural Digest, Azure, House & Garden, and The New York Times Magazine. It appeared in the music videos for Tracie Spencer's "It's All About You (Not About Me)", Snoop Dogg's "Let's Get Blown", and Rebecca Lynn Howard's "Forgive".
The home was originally built for Helen and Paul Sheats and their five children. Helen, an artist, and Paul a doctor, had previously commissioned Lautner for the 1948-1949 Sheats Apartments project located in Westwood adjacent to UCLA.
There were two subsequent owners before a businessman, James Goldstein, purchased the residence in 1972, in a state of some disrepair. Goldstein commissioned John Lautner to work on the transformation of the house; a series of remodelings that would encompass the entire house over a period of more than two decades. Goldstein worked with Lautner until the architect's death in 1994 on what they called "perfecting" the house. Jim continues to work collaboratively with Duncan Nicholson, architect, on new projects that enhance Lautner's original vision.
The Sheats Goldstein Residence is one of the best known examples of John Lautner's work; he designed not only the house, but the interiors, windows, lighting, rugs, furniture, and operable features. The house is extensively detailed, and the range of the architect's work is visible through the different stages of the re-mastering. All of the furnishings enhance the house and are completely related so that the aesthetic of the forms is a function of the whole.
The original construction of the house is poured-in-place concrete, steel, and wood. The home was built with 5 bedrooms, 4.5 baths, and a living room that was originally completely open to the terrace, protected by only a curtain of forced air. The living room features open space that carries the interior into the outdoors blurring the line between the interior and exterior. The expansive coffered ceiling living room is pierced by drinking glass skylights in the coffers (750 skylights in all). The home uses cross ventilation for cooling; there is no air conditioning. The floors are radiant heated with copper pipes that also warm the pool. Exterior covered pathways lead to the guest bedrooms and the master bedroom. Lautner opened these spaces because of the temperate climate that Southern California offers most of the year. Pool windows in the master bedroom were also an original feature that allowed Helen Sheats to watch her children as she worked in her studio below the pool.
The remodelings began shortly after James Goldstein purchased the house and were done in stages so that different parts of the house could remain occupied. The entrance was redesigned later with a new koi pond, stepping stones, and waterfall as part of the 1980s remodel. All of the stucco ceilings were replaced with redwood, steel mullions were removed and replaced with frameless glass, and skylights in the kitchen, dining room, and guest bathroom were made operable for complete openings to the sky. The kitchen was remodeled with wet sanded concrete countertops and the cabinets were replaced with stainless steel, and bubinga, an African hardwood. The kitchen induction burners were the first of their kind. A new cantilevering glass dining room table is held in place by two concrete pedestals. All switches have been replaced with custom stainless steel buttons and electronic control systems. In the mid 90s an aircraft panel display was installed as a TV, the first of its kind. Almost all of the living room furniture was added later, secured in place and made from concrete and stainless steel.
The master bedroom went through an extensive remodel and has a concrete lounge cast in the floor at a glass corner that slides away with a push of a button. The floors, cabinets, bed, toilets, sink, and closet were all redone to adjust to the lifestyle of new owner, James Goldstein. The master bedroom was enlarged and glass spanned over the new addition to protect the integrity of the original floor plan. An all glass sink was designed and built so that the view was completely unobstructed.
Over the years a micro climate has been introduced up around the architecture. Goldstein working with a Santa Barbra landscape designer, Eric Nagelmann, have created a tropical garden that has grown, as Goldstein has acquired additional lots around his property (including the neighbouring site of another Lautner-designed house, the Concannon Residence, which Goldstein demolished in 2002 to make way for a tennis court).
The skyspace, also called "Above Horizon" is an art installation located on a steep slope below the residence. The skyspace was designed by light artist, James Turrell, in collaboration with architect, Duncan Nicholson. The project is built in the same construction materials as the home. Originally, James Goldstein conceived this art installation as a collaboration between John Lautner and James Turrell, but Lautner died before being able to work extensively on the project. Now finished, the room features two portals, made by a local aerospace engineer, which fold away using carbon fiber composite materials. The room also contains a built-in concrete lounge to enjoy the thousands of hidden LEDs that flood the room every evening for the sky and light show.
A new project conceived by Goldstein and envisioned by John Lautner as a schematic concept for a tennis court and guest house on adjacent property is under construction. The project under way has been revised with the assistance from the architect, Duncan Nicholson. Also included will be an office, recreation room, and theater building that will allow Goldstein to work and entertain from home. The new structures are being constructed from poured-in-place concrete with all the amenities and high-tech gadgets the original home abundantly offered. Additional hardscape projects and art installations are planned to provide for an ever-growing collection on the estate.