A Frank Lloyd Wright Home Once Owned by Diane Keaton Gets a Dramatic Renovation

When Justin Krzyston of Los Angeles–based Stonehurst Construction took on the renovation of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Samuel-Novarro House, the stakes were especially high. “This was one of the most challenging projects I have worked on due to its being a historic cultural monument and to the old age of many of the original finishes and fixtures,” says Krzyston. Commissioned in 1928 by Ben Hur star Ramón Novarro for his secretary Louis Samuel, the 2,700-square-foot, four-level home includes a pergola, a music room, a swimming pool, and multilevel terraces. After Novarro learned that Samuel had been embezzling funds to pay off the home, the actor took ownership of it and lived there through the 1930s. The house has seen its fair share of star inhabitants since then: Both Christina Ricci and Diane Keaton have owned the property. In the fall of 2008, Krzyston was hired to restore the home after years of neglect. Built into the hilly landscape—and given its copper accents and multiple floors and terraces—the house proved a renovating challenge. “The exterior copper was one of the most difficult things to maintain,” says Krzyston. “Additionally, the large retaining wall that held up the iconic pool was cracking and failing, and I had to reinforce the wall and make sure the pool did not end up down the hill on the street!”


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