BLOCK-BUSTER: THE HOUSE THAT HOLLYWOOD BUILT

Written by Guest on May 3, 2018

LOCATION: Los Angeles, California // DEALER: Hafco & Associates // PHOTOGRAPHY: Nick Springett
 
There are dream destinations, and then there are destinations for your dreams.
 
Los Angeles, California is the latter—a veritable dream Mecca. A real-world fantasy-land where we find more stars on the ground than in the sky. It’s the entertainment capital of the world, so what better place to build an entertainer’s dream house? That’s just what Cyrus Harouni of Hafco & Associates did. And the poetic beauty of this particularly posh pad is that it has all the trappings of a spectacular Hollywood blockbuster.
 
STRONG VISUAL OPEN
The house is tucked in a residential pocket behind the world-famous Sunset Strip. At first glance, we think we’re looking at two or three houses because there are two driveways. Eight fern pines line the strikingly unique modern design, and not that “white-box” modern that is cropping up everywhere these days. The horizontal lines of this house guide our eyes across elements that are at once both beautiful and intriguing. We feel a strong desire to get inside and know its secrets.

 
ABOVE:  Two driveways lead you into the ultimate entertainment smart home. One takes you into the show car garage, the other into the family garage. Equipped with a Control4 door station, the custom front door swings open on a fully automated home designed for Hollywood elite.

THE SETUP
Cyrus Harouni, the designer of the house, had it built on spec, rightfully confident that he’d have no shortage of potential buyers.
 
“I designed the house to have a certain mystery, with surprises,” says Cyrus. “I don’t put all the surprises at the beginning or the end. You come upon them organically and repeatedly as you move through the house.” The asking price for this luxurious box of surprises? About $25 million.
 
“Cyrus had a pretty amazing vision for this,” Joe Mancuso of Chameleon Technologies tells us. Joe is the Control4 systems integrator who installed all the technological bells and whistles to realize Cyrus’s vision. “It was great to work with him. He didn’t skimp on things. He wanted to do it right.”
 
ACT 1—GLIMPSE ANOTHER WORLD
This is a smart home through and through, and the first indication of that is the Control4 door station. Pressing the doorbell sends a ring sample through the distributed audio system, so wherever one may be in this massive manse, they will hear the bing-bong. One-way video transmits an image of the guest on all Control4 touch screens stationed throughout the house, and two-way audio enables intercom communication. Once the magnificent 6.5 x 11-foot front door swings open, 17,000 square feet of delightful innovation is ours to explore.
 
The aesthetic is clean, open, calm. There is a perfection to the design and construction. Little details, like utilizing U-channels between the ceilings and walls so they feel like two elements floating separately from each other, add to the relaxing energy of the home.
 
The first feature that dazzles us is the 20-foot tall wine rack. Under our Control4 command, the rack is a rotating conveyor that holds hundreds of bottles. Heat-reflecting shades protect the precious vino from UV rays. Let’s grab a bottle and enjoy it in the kitchen.

 
LEFT: The floating stairway leads up to the bedrooms and down to entertainment central. RIGHT TOP: The wine rack to end all wine racks— capacious, climate controlled, and motorized. RIGHT BOTTOM: “Floating” stepping stones on the koi pond provide enchanted passage between yard and house.

Though it looks so open and minimal, this kitchen is brimming with gear including two ovens, a microwave, a built-in Miele espresso machine, and a Miele fridge that blends into the wall so well that at first we don’t see it. There are plenty of clean, smooth surfaces as well, which make this space as picture-perfect as any cooking show’s set.
 
In the mood for music while we cook? No problem. There are 24 zones of audio in this house, comprised of 60 Sonance speakers, but you’d be hard-pressed to spot any in this kitchen. That’s because they are invisible, 100% camouflaged into the ceiling.

 
ABOVE:  The state-of-the-art smart kitchen is fully tricked out, while at the same time remaining spacious and open.

ACT 2—THE JOURNEY GAINS MOMENTUM
The house is a long L-shape. At the inside corner of that L are two glass walls forming a right angle. With the push of a button, those glass walls become motorized doors that separate and slide open on what could be called the grandest “room” in the house—the backyard.
 
Indeed, every room on the first floor widely opens up to the backyard. These motorized glass doors at the inside corner, however, open up on a pond, and here is that floating aesthetic again. Square stepping stones seem to rest buoyantly on the surface of the water, thanks to invisible acrylic bases. Using them to get across the pond, we are now in the yard proper. From here we can lounge by the fire pit that sits in the center of a reflecting pool—fire on water. Or, opt to relax in the hot tub complete with waterfall. Or, swim in the 75-foot infinity edge lap pool. (We’ll get to a few more pool surprises in a bit.)
 
This backyard is equipped with a Sonance SLS system, eight speakers tucked into the bushes and a subwoofer buried in the ground with only its mushroom cap visible. The result is an even volume level and seamless sound wherever we walk on the property.
 
Back here we also have the cabana, which serves as an outdoor home theater and bar. A simple push of a button and the open air cabana transforms into a private space, motorized Lutron shades forming a barrier to the outside. We can enjoy the Sunbrite 55” TV open to the elements or closed up in privacy.
 
THE THEME IS EXPLORED MORE DEEPLY
“I built it for a Hollywood type, for sure,” says Cyrus, “but I wanted the house to be flexible. A single individual can live here and party, but it can also be a cozy home for a family. The basement area is built for entertainment, the second floor is a perfect family home, and the first floor can be one or the other. If you open it up, you can entertain. If you close it off, closing all the doors, it has distinct rooms and becomes a very cozy home.”
 
This is the real magic of the house, this versatility. It has the space and features needed for the most elite of Hollywood parties, but it’s also equipped to transform instantly into a family home. Cyrus used a lot of wood in the design, more than a modern house usually has, so the organic material would warm it up.
 
THE CLIMACTIC MOMENT
Now we descend to the belly of the beast—the basement, if we can call it that. The staircase is a work of art, with more floating aesthetic as each step seems to hover in place, the two-story single panes of glass anchoring them virtually, invisible to the eye.
 
This basement is recreation central. Couches and a bar area serve as the focal point, and a beautiful window above the bar lets in natural light…through the pool. Yes, the window is fully submerged in the pool, and as we sip our cocktails, we can watch swimmers through the glass as though they’re mermaids or mermen.

 
ABOVE: The basement’s bar area receives natural sunshine through a skylight in the pond and this pool window installed by Hammerhead International. 

The bar has a 90” TV divided into four different DIRECTV feeds, providing a quad-screen option, sports bar-style.
 
This area also borders the inside of the garage, providing a full, unobstructed view of the car collection. “The house was inspired by the idea of the show car garage,” Cyrus tells us. “I envisioned having ample space for an outdoor room that could be used as a show car garage, and then a proper house designed around it. A lot of times, the garages are stuck in the basement as an afterthought. Whoever buys this house will have a car collection. If you have a $300,000 car, maybe you want to show it off, you know?”
 
The garage is actually four garages in one. Motorized glass doors can partition off three areas of the garage, forming four distinct sections, all in plain view. The left and right sections each fit two cars, the middle back (which borders the bar area) fits three, and the middle front is perhaps where one parks the showpiece truck. Whatever is parked in this truly ultimate motor court can be admired from the comfort of the bar.
 
This basement also contains the maid’s quarters, a laundry room, a sauna, a steam room, a spa room just waiting for a massage table, and a gym. The gym also happens to have a picture window completely submerged in the pool, so we can watch someone doing laps as we walk the treadmill. But behind two closed doors next to the bar is the sacred land of any Hollywood home—the screening room.
 
With 7.2 sound, Tannoy monitors and dual Sonance subwoofers, it’s got an audio quality that would make any professional cinephile salivate. Press the “Movie” button on the Control4 keypad and the music fades down, the Lutron shade opens revealing the 22- foot screen, the SIM2 projector comes on, and the scrolling DMX LED lighting dims until it goes out. (For a deep dive into this deluxe den, see page 36.)
 
ACT 3—ALL IS REVEALED
“We ran over five miles of wire in this house,” Joe Mancuso tells us as he opens a push-magnet cabinet that blends into the wall. “All of the video and audio sources live in these custom racks. You have a fully automated Control4 system, a full Lilin 16-camera system which has two-megapixel picture and a 150-foot IR throw, alarm system, phone system, pool controller, and all our distributed audio amps, all in this single space. We have our own dedicated Blue-Bolt Panamax UPS and power conditioners supplying power to our racks. This is a true home-run house.”
 
He points out the panelized lighting, commenting, “It’s a much more elegant solution because instead of having a bank of six gangs, we can just use one Control4 keypad, and from there we can do six or seven things.”
 
Then we take the elevator up to the second floor...
 
FINALE
“All the bedrooms are separated for noise,” Cyrus points out. “They are designed as islands.”
 
The three bedrooms are currently equipped with TVs and Sonance speakers, but Joe made sure that each is wired-and-ready should any game console or other AV equipment be desired.
 
The master bedroom not only has a commanding view of the yard, but is also furnished with invisible speakers. Call up the music of your choice as we step into the impressively large “His” walk-in closet or the even more impressive “Hers,” complete with custom-built shoe racks and jewelry cases.
 
The master bath provides options: floating bathtub, steam shower, triple shower with waterproof speakers, and an outside shower which looks out on to a private area of the yard. When shaving or applying makeup, one can make use of the mirror TV at the same time.
 
As for evening routines, just a few steps outside the master bedroom is the top half of the 20-foot wine rack from Act 1. Use the Control4 keypad to call forth your desired bottle, pull it along with a couple of glasses, and enjoy a nightcap in the privacy of your very own dream home.

 
ABOVE:  The master bedroom has invisible speakers in the walls, automated fireplace, and wood ceiling to match the floor, above. The master bath offers a floating tub, steam shower, triple shower, and outside shower.

FINAL IMAGE
Now that night has fallen, it’s time to go. But something catches our eye by the floating stepping stones—one more surprise for the evening.
 
It’s as though the house has come alive beneath us. A square lightwell has been built into the bottom of the pond. We notice it now, as the lights are on in the basement, a glow in the night sky. We see the luxurious bar area through the water like a dream, and we imagine the parties we could have in such an entertainer’s paradise. The fantasies play out in our minds like a Hollywood film.

FOR MORE SMART HOME STORIES IN LOS ANGELES CLICK HERE
Category SMART HOME STORIES