Wowed by Architecture, an Eccentric…and Life

July 14, 2012 :: Posted by - simplyjen :: Category - Uncategorized

There have been moments in my life where I just want to press pause and buy myself a few extra seconds to process and appreciate the moment in which I’m living, drink them in, and smile.

This week I had one of these moments, staring out at the LA skyline while standing high above Beverly Hills on the concrete poolside ledge at The Goldstein House, in the middle of a Wednesday afternoon.

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(Imagine the photo of me standing on the ledge that I haven’t received from freelance production guy whose contact info I don’t know).

I had to spend 8+ hours at the John Lautner-designed house for a Maxim Magazine photo shoot, one of several dozens of photo shoots done at the home of Jim Goldstein, which has also been the setting for films like The Great Labowski and Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle.

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Jim Goldstein has called the house, designed by a student of the great Frank Lloyd Wright in 1963, his home since 1971, when he bought it from the previous owner and brought Lautner in to make renovations.

Although a multi-millionaire several times over who’s often off traveling the world, this is Goldstein’s only home. He also only has one car, a 1961 one Rolls-Royce I was told is his ‘everyday car,’ has bench seats, no seat belts – and nearly a quarter Million miles on it!

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“He’s very frugal,” I was told.

No one knows exactly how the son of a department store owner made his millions and Goldstein has remained elusive on the subject, although it’s been speculated that real estate’s been the source. What Goldstein is less shy about is what he likes: Architecture, Basketball and Fashion.

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Although I didn’t get to meet the man himself (he was in Europe at the time of our shoot), I felt like I got to know him through the hundreds of photographs he has of himself, often with an A-list star, on nearly every surface of the house. I also chatted up the man who housesits in Goldstein’s absence, hungry for information about this clearly fascinating man.

Here’s the bits I learned:

On Architecture…

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Rendering of original house

View from a bathroom. Like the kitchen, it has a retractable roof

View from a bathroom. Like the kitchen, it has a retractable roof

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The koi pond, where we may very well have witnessed turtles trying to procreate, was added in the 80s.

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While we were there the property was undergoing a massive construction project. I was told that a nightclub was being built underneath the new tennis court, which was being fitted for a digital scoreboard, and guest houses were being built above the court.

When I asked how long until it was completed, I gasped when he said three years– but it was put in perspective when he said they broke ground on it 15 years ago!

But once done, all the better to entertain. The house has been known to be the setting for a talked about party or few and the addition of the nightclub could significantly increase the current capacity of just over 200.

On Fashion…

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Although I gathered from the photographs Goldstein pretty much has a uniform of tight jeans, leather, snakeskin and cowboy hats, I was told, “He loves fashion. He shops once each year and he only wears clothes from the current season.”

Goldstein travels to fashion shows around the world to see the latest on the runways from favorite designers like Jean Paul Gaultier, Dolce & Gabbana and Gucci and often has one-of-a-kind pieces made custom for him by the designers.

I was told he has closets full of clothes because he’s kept everything he’s wore since at least the 70s, but only wears what’s current. Once the new wing is complete, there’s been talk of adding a museum like-display of his fashion through the ages.

Basketball…

It’s been said Goldstein spends more on NBA tickets than any other single person. Calling himself a basketball fan rather than man with a one-team allegiance, the basketball super-fan is courtside at nearly every Lakers AND Clippers game – both home and away.

Refreshing to meet a man so full of character – even if only 3rd person, through photographs, and having the privilege of spending a day in his home.

For moments like these, I’m grateful.

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