It started with the windows. Fourteen years ago, WME partner and motion picture department head Adam Venit and his wife, Trina, bought a 13,000-square-foot residence in a gated community on a Beverly Hills ridgeline. It turned out that the house, a spec project, was built with no weather-stripping on any of the windows or doors. So in 2013, recalls Trina, “we started with one room and redoing a couple of windows, and the rest is history. It turned into a total home renovation.”
Renovation may be too insubstantial a word for it. The couple ended up not only gutting the entire place, installing a larger pool and adding a 2,000-square-foot wing but also embarking on a creative journey together that saw them abandon their traditional Tuscan style and embrace contemporary design and art in exuberant, showstopping ways. “It used to be a big, white Tuscan box. It was built like a McMansion,” recalls Adam, 54. Now their home — the redo was completed two years ago — is richly layered with bold patterns and color, an ever-growing art collection and an overall sense of playfulness befitting an agent who has represented Adam Sandler for 28 years, from the bar stools in the living room shaped like derrieres (Trina won’t say from whom they are molded) to the peacock feather-covered powder room. “It’s the most detailed house I’ve ever been in,” says Creed actor Michael B. Jordan, one of Adam’s clients. Adds Million Dollar Listing star Josh Altman, a friend and neighbor: “They haven’t been afraid to take chances. I told Trina she is one of the best interior designers who’s not doing it professionally and have asked if she would help with my own house.” Pieces in their art collection include a video work by Jennifer Steinkamp of flowers blowing in a breeze, works by their friend (and Adam’s client) Shepard Fairey and a series of large-scale photos of a Japanese forest by Takeshi Shikama that line the main hallway downstairs. “Because our house is so colorful, the hallway is like the decompression zone,” says Trina, 48. Jokes Adam: “I stay out of the way — my wife created most of the house. She’s artistic and ethereal in her thinking.” Trina, who worked with a team that included architectural firm Abramson Teiger Architects and designer Lara Fishman of Storm Interiors, commissioned a slew of custom creations for the property. Out on the patio, rather than a typical pergola, there’s a bronze structure shaped like a tree that shades the outdoor kitchen; created by sculptor Gerard Basil Stripling, it features both lighting and misters. “This is one of the coolest things Trina did. She didn’t want to just do something normal, you know?” says Adam.
To give pop to the media room, Trina engaged artist Mike Stilkey to create one of his signature installations, in which he paints a tableau on the spines of dozens of shelved books. Stilkey’s painting is meant to represent the Venit family, depicting a couple dancing and five birds in flight, signifying the couple’s five children. They’ve had two together — Matthew, 14, and Olivia, 16. Adam also has two kids from a previous marriage, twins Michael and Sarah, 24; and Trina has a daughter from a previous marriage, Madison, 26. “This house is full all the time. I love it, love having noise and lots of kids,” says Trina. “I think, maybe selfishly, I wanted to make the house fun so our kids would always want to be here, like, ‘OK, you have no reason to leave. There’s a pool table. There’s ping-pong.’ “
The nine-bedroom house (three have been converted into a yoga room, gym and playroom) accommodates her husband’s work in stylish surroundings as well. The new wing not only added the media room — featuring a 100-inch TV and a cathedral ceiling covered in acoustic wood panels laid out in a puzzle pattern — but also a spacious green leather-lined home office for Adam, who has been at WME since its inception in 2009 and previously worked at Endeavor starting in 1996. Before that, CAA, where he began in the mailroom alongside Ari Emanuel. He found his first job in the industry during his undergrad years at UCLA: “There was a handwritten 3-by-5 card in the university’s career-placement center. It was before computers. It said, ‘Work for a Director.’ I was going to write the number down, but I was smart enough to say, ‘Well, if I take the card …’ It was my entrée to Hollywood, and I worked for Ron [Howard] for four years — for free, by the way.”
Today, his starry client list includes Gal Gadot, Sylvester Stallone, Kevin James, Vince Vaughn, Steve Martin, Dustin Hoffman and directors Shawn Levy and Marc Forster. When he’s rolling calls from home — some of his more recent deals include convincing Stallone to let Ryan Coogler make Creed, putting together Sandler’s four-picture Netflix agreement and negotiating Gadot’s compensation for the Wonder Woman sequel — the agent sits in a green velvet-upholstered vintage Edward Wormley for Dunbar chair behind a curvilinear Ceccotti “Bean” desk. On how her husband conducts business, Trina says, admiringly: “I’ll say, ‘I love the fact that you just really fought hard for that person to get vacation time.’ Or, maybe it was a woman who was pregnant, an actress, who needed extra time with her baby. So he was working hard to make sure that that happened because it wasn’t about the money; it was about that person’s happiness. I remember Adam saying, ‘Well, selfishly, I want them to be happy because you know it comes back to me.’ But I don’t think that’s selfish at all. I think that’s beautiful.”
The pair’s fun-loving and in-love personalities come through in Trina’s Instagram postings, such as a video she shared earlier this year of Adam bench-pressing her entire body and another one of them making pancakes in a pinup-girl design with a PancakeBot printer. They also take seven minutes each day to meditate, usually in a room on the second floor dedicated to silence and reflection, where a chandelier by South African lighting manufacturer Willowlamp forms a mandala when looked at directly from below. Trina has been meditating for a few years now, ever since Adam’s client Russell Brand took her to a Kundalini yoga class with longtime teacher Tej Kaur Khalsa; Adam just got into it. “It really changed my life,” says Trina. “It’s kind of funny now because Adam will be the one to say, ‘Let’s go meditate.’ “
The couple, married for 18 years, met when Adam (who grew up in Cleveland) visited the set of the 1997 TV movie Bad to the Bone, starring his then-client Kristy Swanson. Trina (who was raised in upstate New York, Anaheim and Tempe, Arizona) was working on the film as a makeup artist for special effects. A large group went to dinner one night. “Adam was just a funny guy,” recalls Trina of first meeting him. “At the time, he was married.” Says Adam, “Nothing happened.” A year later, Swanson told Trina, “You should date my agent. He’s not married anymore.” To this day, Trina likes to poke fun at Adam for what he said when he called — two weeks later — to ask her out. “He says, ‘I’d like to take you to coffee,’ and I thought, ‘That’s a really classy thing to say.’ Then he goes, ‘Yeah, ’cause I’d really like to get the ball rolling.’ I just think it’s so funny.” Adam adds: “She’s beautiful and cool and very different from me. I was excited about it.”
Nearly two decades later, they’ve created a blended family. Trina’s ex-husband came along with them on a trip to Israel for the bar mitzvah of Adam and Trina’s son. And Adam’s ex and her crew will be their guests for Thanksgiving. “This year we’re inviting Adam’s ex-wife, her new husband and her new husband’s children from his previous marriage,” says Trina.?In the years since they’ve met, Trina stopped working as a makeup artist and has embarked on a variety of pursuits, including starting and running an organic baby-food company for four years and producing a documentary and coffee-table book, both titled Aroused, about women in the porn industry. She’s now designing her own studio in their home, which, when completed, will have three walls covered with a blown-up photo of a lake in Scotland. “I like to sit on the floor and write and draw and sculpture. I really want it to be a place where I’m going to be able to leave my art supplies out.”
The pool area and outdoor dining room (which is surrounded by a multicolored metal mesh curtain) is where a lot of the couple’s entertaining takes place. “My wife and I love going over to visit Trina and Adam and their kids,” says Million Dollar Listing‘s Altman, “especially evenings around the pool. It twinkles with fiber-optic lights imitating the Milky Way. It’s one of the best pools in Los Angeles.” Adds Fairey, “Adam and Trina are aesthetes, but they also like to entertain and surround themselves with creative movers and shakers. I’ve had some amazing evenings at the Venits for their spectacular dinner parties with some incredible people, including Dustin and Lisa Hoffman, Sylvester Stallone, Russell Brand, Elon Musk. Adam and Trina are both unpretentious, so despite the impeccable design and curation, the house feels warm and not stuffy.” Demi Moore, a friend of Trina’s, says: “As I have watched Trina delve deeper into her spiritual path, I have seen her surroundings reflect a bolder, more confident, colorful and playfully expressive dynamic. The throughline for them is and has always been about family and loved ones. You feel that welcoming generosity the moment you walk through the door.”
Just don’t ask them about the construction of the pool. It was a headache. “When we bought the house, the pool was tiny and way too small for the house,” remembers Adam. “We were in Bali and were talking about redoing the house, and we saw this zero-edge pool, which has no coping [the cap for the edge of the pool], and it was infinity on the back. I was like, ‘That’s really cool.’ ” Little did they realize the amount of engineering that would be required to create it. “You have to be completely level, right?” says Adam. “Because if you’re more than an eighth of an inch off, the water will lap one way. The whole point of zero edge is that it’s a conceptual masterpiece. Well, how do you get incredible stability? Eighteen 16-foot pilings into the ground. Our backyard looked like they were putting an on-ramp onto the 405.” At some point, they found out that their contractor wasn’t licensed; the couple then scrambled to find a new one. “We were past the point of no return,” says Adam. “Great end of the story: It’s awesome. And if we have a massive earthquake, you’re going to want to run to our pool.”
Across the street from their house — the property covers 7.5 acres — the couple also created a small park complete with basketball court and playground. Anyone on their street is welcome to enjoy it. “Considering the size of the houses, how many gates there are, we know our neighbors really well. It’s just like the warmest, kindest, loveliest group of people. We’re very tight here,” says Trina, who admits she felt trepidation about moving to the community. She worried Beverly Hills would be less friendly than Encino, where they previously lived. It turned out to be the opposite. “In Encino, we didn’t know our neighbors,” she says.
Both say they feel lucky every day to live in such a place. “I didn’t come from too much,” says Adam. Adds Trina, “I definitely didn’t come from much.” Continues Adam, “I think we both really like our life and enjoy it and try really hard to make sure we keep liking it because we all know so many people who are super successful and aren’t really happy. You know, the more you complicate your life, it takes a real effort to have fun. We don’t ever want to lose that.”
This story first appeared in the Oct. 18 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.