In these teardown-crazy, makeover-mad times, vintage homes that have managed to keep their original features are becoming ever rarer. But when these properties surface on the market, they often provide fascinating glimpses into bygone eras that no history book can duplicate. In this occasional series, Dirt cracks open noteworthy time capsules for a virtual traipse through the past. Today’s subject flips the calendar pages back to 1961….
While it’s always a pleasant surprise to come upon a time-capsule residence, there’s something extra thrilling when one turns up in Beverly Hills, given the “out with the old, in with the new-and-much-much-bigger” attitude that has long held sway in the affluent town. Of course, we can’t help but fear for the future prospects of this rakish midcentury, but for the present it is here for us to enjoy, and for that we are grateful.
Located east of Benedict Canyon, not far from the historic Beverly Hills Women’s Club, the 3,989-square-foot post and beam was built in 1961, and looks to have been frozen in time shortly thereafter. Its architect is unknown, but its commanding façade, steeply pitched roofline, and bouquet-canyon-stone accents invite comparisons to the work of modernist masters A. Quincy Jones and Charles DuBois.
The property’s original owners were Lloyd and Hermine Beck, owners of two successful meat distribution businesses. Lloyd passed away in the mid-1970s, with Hermine following just this past September at the ripe old age of 99. Her obituary describes her as an art lover, and her home certainly backs this claim up, starting at its sculptural front door.
On the other side of the statement-making door, the entry foyer is enlivened by a pair of floor-to-ceiling strips of stained-glass. Past the foyer are public spaces sumptuously appointed with terrazzo floors, mahogany paneling, a marble fireplace set within a terrazzo wall, Dexter Frankel sculptures, and Edward Fields carpets.
While still resolutely retro, the kitchen boasts a battalion of top-of-the-line Viking appliances Julia Child could only dream of, including bread-warming drawers and double ovens. It’s also got one of those restaurant-style swinging doors going into the dining room, which, as we’ve learned from “The Party,” come in quite handy when one is hosting a soirée for V.I.P.s.
The house has a total of five bedrooms, only three of which are shown in the listing photos, but they are all A++. With its custom-matched peach-and-green color scheme and decadent Roman tub with marble columns, the primary suite looks like a set from “Valley of the Dolls,” while the two junior bedrooms charm with cheery plaid wallpaper and complementary blue-and-gold-hued bath.
As is de rigueur for a quintessential midcentury modern, there are ample expanses of glass to enable a connection with nature. Along the rear side of the house, several sets of glass sliders open to the covered patio and swimming pool in the classic kidney shape. The grounds also contains a small lawn area and elevated garden.