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Back in 2002, John McIlwee and Bill Damaschke bought a historic John Lautner-designed residence towering high above Los Angeles. The couple never intended to purchase the modernist-style home — per an article in The Wall Street Journal — but they went on to visit the eye-catching cantilevered structure, and subsequently wound up with the deed to what was then an almond-shaped fixer-upper that resembled something straight out of The Jetsons.
Now the showbiz pair — McIlwee a longtime entertainment business manager, and Damaschke a Tony-winning Broadway producer — have decided to sell their unique and updated Hollywood Hills home off Mullholland Drive, asking a whopping $16 million.
That’s almost $15 million more than they paid actor/director Vincent Gallo for the property, which made an appearance in the 1989 film Lethal Weapon 2. But the pair did undertake an extensive restoration of the premises during their tenure, working with the interior design firm Marmol Radziner — known for its renovation of Richard Neutra’s Kaufmann House in Palm Springs — to bring it as close back to its original state as possible.
Originally built in the early 1960s for film composer and arranger Russell Garcia and his wife Gina, and aptly named the Garcia House, the two-story structure features three bedrooms and a matching number of baths in just over 2,500 square feet of living space crafted by interior designer Darren Brown.
Perched atop a steep and heavily wooded hillside parcel spanning over an acre, the dramatic home is distinguished by a signature parabolic roof, 50-foot wall of colorful stained-glass windows — hence its other nickname, The Rainbow House — and 60-foot concrete caissons elevating the structure high above the canyon below.
A large balcony and sweeping spiral staircase also are part of the home’s appeal, while a hillside garden designed by landscape architect John Sharp leads via a meandering pathway lined with agave, cacti and a huge rubber tree down to an ellipse-shaped pool that was tacked on around 2008 using Lautner’s original sketches.
A lava rock entryway opens into interiors adorned throughout with the original terrazzo floors. From there, a sunken living room displays a massive stone fireplace, built-in banquette seating, stained walnut cabinetry and walls of glass. Other highlights include a media room and curved dining area topped by a custom chandelier original to the house, along with an updated kitchen that retains the original sink and boasts newer Dacor appliances. The aforementioned spiral staircase separates the living area from the main bedrooms, which include a master suite outfitted with a seating area overlooking the L.A. Basin.
According to The Wall Street Journal, McIlwee and Damaschke are selling because they are spending more time in New York, where they maintain a Tribeca home. They also own Gerald and Betty Ford’s former Rancho Mirage getaway.
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