Dozens of newly-built contemporary mansions continue to flood L.A.’s real estate market, all of them eagerly awaiting adoption by wealthy new owners. But to stand out from the herd, today’s high-end homes require some custom design pizazz, some sort of personal touch. Take this example in Trousdale Estates, arguably Beverly Hills’ most coveted neighborhood pocket.
Unlike most contemporary L.A. mansions, this estate was not built by a developer on speculation. Rather, it was designed according to the specific tastes and needs of Ken and Carol Schultz, a married couple who made their fortune in alternative energy — solar panels and such — and have since embarked on a series of pricey custom residential projects. Their chosen architect, the acclaimed Marc Whipple of Whipple Russell Architects, refers to this particular Trousdale endeavor as “ultra-custom — a new category,” and notes “there are a lot of details and non-standard finishes in this house — personal taste, not trendy taste.”
Records reveal the Schultzes paid $4.5 million for the half-acre hillside lot in 2013 and spent the next five years building their Beverly Hills dream home. The result of their efforts, a flat-roofed minimalist structure with head-on westward views, was completed in late 2018 and floated as an off-market pocket listing by realtors Stephen Resnick and Jonathan Nash of Hilton & Hyland, and Jane Dorian of Compass.
Almost immediately, the three-bedroom home sold for a whopping $17.5 million to Asurion chief Kevin Taweel, a veteran Silicon Valley businessman and influential investor. Presumably, the Schultzes had planned to live in the structure but Taweel’s all-cash offer proved too generous to refuse.
From the street, guests to the hilltop home ascend a brief flight of stairs topped by an abstract Richard Erdman sculpture hewn entirely from Carrara marble, set just before the home’s near-windowless stacked-slate/white stucco facade. The sculpture — titled Serenade — and various security cameras guard the gated walkway to the all-glass front door. Just inside, an indoor catwalk leads past various public rooms and over the home’s subterranean level to the glassy rear of the residence, directly overlooking Coldwater Canyon and the mountains above Beverly Hills.
Interior spaces are starkly austere, from the all-white kitchen and its pricey gathering of Miele stainless appliances, to the aesthetically restrained living room with its slate-encased fireplace and surround of floor-to-ceiling walls of glass. Nevertheless, every stick of furniture is designer-done, every stitch of top quality, all hand-picked for the Schultzes by their interior designers, Robert Wright and Jason York of San Diego-based McCormick & Wright.
Light floods the boxy structure, thanks to the aforementioned glass walls and a giant central skylight. The master suite contains honey-colored mindi hardwood floors, which flow from the bedroom to the spa-like bath and walk-in closet. Other main floor spaces include two guest suites and a library with adjoining office.
As for the home’s subterranean level, houseguests may access it either via the “floating” staircase or a polished stainless-steel elevator. This lower floor is essentially a private indoor resort: there’s a wet bar, a mirror-walled gym, a world-class home theater, and a golf simulator. And best of all: the in-house beauty parlor/hair salon with massage table, because folks who own $17.5 million homes don’t go to the hairdresser or the masseuse — those people come to them.
Because the home’s backyard is unusually small — a byproduct of the sloped hilltop lot — the various outdoor amenities were carefully planned to relate and flow cohesively. The infinity pool features a pedestal walkway leading to a firepit and circular seating area, which in turn features an acrylic wall looking directly into the party-sized spa. And while there’s no room for a proper motorcourt, the home’s four-car garage is blessed with a turntable for easy vehicular egress/ingress.
Taweel, a Stanford MBA holder, is CEO and co-founder of Asurion, which bills itself as a leading device insurance and support services provider. The Tennessee-based insurance giant, which has grown to approximately 19,000 employees worldwide over the last 25 years, is the “white label” provider of smartphone insurance for the big four wireless carriers: Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile. If you own or lease a smartphone, there’s a decent chance you also carry an Asurion insurance plan.
Anyway, although Taweel’s new Trousdale digs are undeniably lavish, they pale in size and grandeur when compared to his main residence up north, in the ultra-ritzy Silicon Valley town of Atherton. Located on what is oft-considered the wealthiest residential street in town, some of his nearest neighbors include a slew of tech moguls — former Facebook CFO Gideon Yu, Twitter’s executive chairman Omid Kordestani, YouTube co-founder Steve Chen, and Harry Cheung, one of Google’s first employees.
However, the $30+ million, 2.5-acre Taweel compound puts most of the surrounding properties to shame. The French-style estate features a three-story main mansion overlooking an enormous lawn, a guesthouse, a pool with cabana, full-size sports court, formal gardens, and a detached five-car garage plus two main motorcourts. (There’s also a third motorcourt with a separate entrance for staff use.) But best of all, the Atherton property has its own private waterpark, a eye-popping feature that surely requires a remarkable amount of money to maintain.