$40 Million "Big Lebowski" House Donated To LA Museum

By on March 4, 2016 in ArticlesCelebrity Homes

Property investor and fashion designer James Goldstein has agreed to donate his Los Angeles house to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art ("LACMA"). The house, however, is no ordinary house – it's the famed Goldstein Residence designed by renowned architect John Lautner. Built in 1963, this modern and minimalist concrete and glass house is conservatively valued at approximately $40 million, although Goldstein contends the house's value is much higher.

While architecture enthusiasts are likely familiar with the property for its dramatic and unusual design, others may recognize the home from photo shoots, music videos, and several big-name movies, including Charlie's Angels and The Big Lebowski.

The house is set on the side of a steep hill. Its most prominent feature is its angular, expansive concrete roof that seems to somehow float precariously over a glassed-in living area and pool. Due to its hillside location, the house also features expansive views of Los Angeles and the surrounding countryside.

DAVID MCNEW/AFP/Getty Images

DAVID MCNEW/AFP/Getty Images

Lautner, a protégé of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, originally designed and built the house for the Sheats family in the early 1960s. Several years after purchasing the house out of escrow in 1972 for $185,000, Goldstein commissioned Lautner to again work on the house, this time to redesign and make improvements. "It was never my goal to bring the house back to where it was originally, because it wasn't perfect originally," said Goldstein recently to the Los Angeles Times. "My goal was to make it perfect."

DAVID MCNEW/AFP/Getty Images

DAVID MCNEW/AFP/Getty Images

DAVID MCNEW/AFP/Getty Images

DAVID MCNEW/AFP/Getty Images

DAVID MCNEW/AFP/Getty Images

DAVID MCNEW/AFP/Getty Images

DAVID MCNEW/AFP/Getty Images

DAVID MCNEW/AFP/Getty Images

Lautner and Goldstein worked on the house over the years, adding the invisible glass walls, retractable skylights, and custom concrete furniture in keeping with the overall modern minimalist style.  The architect also added several unique touches, including a reflecting pool walkway and a glass sink with no visible faucet. Goldstein also decided to set off the minimalist concrete building by planning a jungle of tropical plants around the home and property.

BTW, you may recognize Jimmy Goldstein if you've ever watched an NBA playoff or final game. Jimmy is an NBA superfan and somehow manages to get courtside seats at pretty much every important late-season NBA game. He always wears amazingly weird/cool outfits like the one you see in the first photo.

The donation is the first of its kind for LACMA, and includes not only the home and the interior furnishings but several other buildings on the property, as well as Goldstein's private art collection and other items. Although the donation will not fully go into effect until after Goldstein's death, LACMA plans to begin hosting limited tours and other events in the home. According to Curbed, LACMA would eventually like to use the space to for fundraisers and exhibits in order to showcase the home's unique architectural characteristics and educate the public about Los Angeles' rich architectural history.

Articles Written by Beth McDonald
Beth is a New England-based business and healthcare freelance writer. Prior to beginning her freelance career in 2015, she spent over six years as a business writer for a corporate valuation firm outside of Boston. Before that, she was editor-in-chief of her university student newspaper. When she's not writing, she's probably reading, hiking with her dog, or cleaning up after her latest DIY disaster. Follow Beth on Twitter.
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