Photo by Iwan Baan
A few years back, when I was an agent with Crosby Doe Associates, a boutique real estate company specializing in architectural properties, we visited Silvertop for a tour. The long-time owner, Mrs. Jacklyn Burchill, was there to speak with us. We were very lucky to have met her as she passed away not too long afterwards. The project was commissioned by industrialist and engineer Kenneth Reiner as his home. Silvertop was Lautner's first major use of monolithic concrete as a sculptural as well as architectural component. The construction continued for nearly seven years and was mostly completed by 1963. Unfortunately, Reiner never lived in the home. He suffered financial troubles and ended up leaving the home vacant. It was rescued in 1970 just as the home went into foreclosure by Dr. Philip and Jacklyn Burchill. The Burchills wisely hired John Lautner as a consultant to help finish the home. They raised their family there and sold it in 2014.
Crosby sold the home to neighbor Luke Wood, the president of Beats By Dre, a long-time Silver Lake resident, who restored the home with Lautner's vision. He hired Architect Barbara Bestor.
Bestor dug into all of the relevant archives and working with an architectural historian to make sure her work was sensitive to the original intent. Evidently, Luke Wood had just sold his company to Apple a day or two before the listing went on the market. He told me he looked at his wife and said we have the means, let's go for it. And so they did! After a couple of years renovation coming in at $8 million dollars, the home was restored to it's former glory. I was lucky enough to go to the cocktail party to celebrate the opening of the home. I met and spoke with Architect Barbara Bestor and with owner Luke Wood and his writer wife, Sophia Nardin. It truly is an amazing home. I think it's my favorite in all of the Lautner builds. It's really wonderful when a family takes on this challenge and restores such a masterpiece of architecture.