Francesco Aquilini Sells Restored Midcentury Modern to Dr. Barbara Sturm

seller: Francesco Aquilini
location: Beverly Hills, Calif.
price: $15 million
size: 4,507 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms

Beverly Hills’ midcentury modern-filled Trousdale Estates enclave continues to prove itself all but irresistible to wealthy real estate consumers. Last week, a 4,507 sq. ft. house on one of the neighborhood’s premiere streets sold for exactly $15 million, or more than $3,000 per sq. ft. and $6 million more than the same property fetched just three years ago, when it was acquired by Canadian business magnate Francesco Aquilini.

Aquilini, a part-time L.A. real estate developer best-known for his ownership of the Vancouver Canucks professional ice hockey team, purchased the 1958 classic from former longtime Paramount Pictures COO Frederick Huntsberry. He then proceeded to complete a comprehensive interior remodel of the premises, according to permit records, before flipping the freshly updated house for the aforementioned $15 million.

The new owner is Dr. Barbara Sturm, the stylish German jetsetter who founded an eponymous luxury skincare and beauty brand that has become wildly popular in retail stores around the globe. The good doctor is widely credited with inventing the so-called vampire facial, pioneered the use of human blood cell proteins in anti-aging creams, and sports a high-wattage client roster that includes Bella Hadid, Gwyneth Paltrow and Angela Bassett, for which she’s earned the vaunted title of “facialist to the stars.”

Though the wellness guru remains technically based in Düsseldorf, Germany, where she owns a glitzy condo apartment overlooking the Rhine River, Sturm is rarely in one city for more than a week at a time, flitting between New York, London, Miami and L.A., all in support of her growing cosmetics empire.

Sturm also spends time in Washington, D.C., where her husband, well-known political lobbyist and lawyer Adam Waldman, is based. Waldman serves as the executive chairman of his wife’s beauty brand, though he’s likely best-known in Washingtonian circles for his high-profile clients, who include actor Johnny Depp and Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a close ally of Vladimir Putin.

Though some midcentury architecture purists may deride certain aspects of this home’s recent remodel — the gloss black garage doors, marble-encased fireplace and absence of terrazzo flooring are nods to contemporary design trends — there’s little doubt that Aquilini invested an exorbitant amount of money into the property. And the results of his efforts, sensitive or not, are mostly stunning and appear to be of top-notch quality.

Guests allowed beyond the all-glass front doors enter into the enormous great room with its undulating roofline and floor-to-ceiling glass sliders that provides effortless indoor/outdoor living. Wide plank hardwood floors flow throughout the single-story residence, including to the eat-in kitchen, adjacent gym and family room with wet bar.

The home’s master suite offers dual vanities, a decadent marble soaking tub, and a glassy shower with rainfall showerhead. There are three guest/family bedrooms, at least two of which have direct access — via more floor-to-ceiling sliders — to various parts of the gardens.

The hillside showpiece is blessed with sunset views that stretch from the Century City skyline, to the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island on the horizon. There’s also a grassy backyard, a large patio area with plenty of space for alfresco dining, and a blob-shaped swimming pool with a raised spa.

An imposing fence and blacked-out driveway gate surround the entire .75-acre property, blocking sightlines into the squat structure, and the estate is also secured by an advanced security system. Trousdale Estates also benefits from 24/7 neighborhood patrols that watch over their family of wealthy homeowners, whose ranks include Cindy Crawford, Ringo Starr, Elton John and Vera Wang.

As for Aquilini, he continues to own a healthy handful of other L.A. properties, including an unfinished spec-mansion in the Hollywood Hills and a project site in Beverly Hills. He also still owns a striking mega-mansion in the nearby Bird Streets that was listed for sale with an optimistic $58 million pricetag earlier this year, but has since been removed from the market.

Branden & Rayni Williams at Hilton & Hyland held the listing; Carl Gambino of Westside Estate Agency repped Dr. Sturm.


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