Meant for entertaining on a grand scale, this estate was based on 16th-century villas in northern Italy. The entry drive sequence—through a tower portal into an enclosed motorcourt with the house on one side and a hillside vineyard to the north—is reminiscent of arriving at a fortified hilltop town. The raised entry terrace elevates the house above the motorcourt and provides overflow space for parties. Large formal rooms are flanked by wide galleries on the front that lead to terraces and loggias at the rear, all meant to take advantage of Southern California’s outdoor lifestyle. The main entrance, through a Florentine-style arch, leads to the foyer with a dramatic double staircase and vaulted ceiling.
In contrast to the simpler front, the rear facade, overlooking the pool and L.A. skyline, is a grand five-part sequence of architecture influenced by Palladio’s Villa Barbaro. Cast-stone detailing and brick-vaulted loggias with peeling plaster suggest a sense of age. Interiors have classical moldings and the scale of Palladio’s simpler villas, such as Iseppo da Porto, and Scamozzi’s Rocca Pisani. The wine cellar, which also houses the screening room, is vaulted in brick to give the feel of an ancient cave. And thanks to the private two-acre vineyard on the property, the owner can bottle and cellar his own vintages.