The Benedict Canyon property that developer Jerry Gureghian and his partners acquired in May of last year had a rooftop bookended in a style reminiscent of Balinese pavilions, which may have been because of the previous owner's connection to Indonesia.
That gave Gureghian and his co-developers, brothers Ty and Ravi Bhojwani, a spark of inspiration.
"I envisioned it as an Aman resort," said Gureghian, referring to the luxurious Singapore-based boutique hotel chain. "I wanted it to have serenity."
But first, a major overhaul was needed. Including the permits — and replacing the sewer line, plumbing, electrical, putting in smart home technology and adding 1,500 square feet of living space — the revamp took about a year and cost roughly $1.3 million.
Built in the early 1950s, the now 4,300-square-foot house previously had 8-foot ceilings, narrow corridors and old-fashioned bathrooms and kitchen.
"The entrance was through a long, dark hallway, which made you feel like you were going through a tunnel," Gureghian said. The wood paneling had a vaguely nautical theme, and the wood flooring had turned orange.
"And although it had the pool and the garden, it was closed into itself. We wanted to open it up so the house could be enjoyed from all sides," Gureghian said.
What the house had going for it was that it was on half an acre, more than half of which is on flat land, 10 minutes from the heart of Beverly Hills.
"It wasn't one of those houses bunched up on a smaller lot, and that gave us the ability to add space," he said.
The new owners ended up adding 40% more space, including a new 800-square-foot family room, which was given a double-height ceiling and opens out onto the pool.
They also expanded and re-outfitted the kitchen and added an office/guest suite and a larger double master suite with his and hers walk-in closets and separate bathrooms.
Throughout, they used natural stone and wood finishes and put in large windows and French doors to convey an indoor-outdoor sensibility.
Some parts of the house had to be dismantled almost to the studs; a new roof and new pale wood flooring were installed. Ultimately, the house went from three bedrooms and four bathrooms to five bedrooms and seven baths.
"It often happens on these projects that you discover something about the house you didn't know," said Gureghian. "In this case, we discovered that we could double some of the ceiling heights to create a grand entrance."
Outside, the pool and front and back yards were completely redone: The pool was re-tiled and re-plastered, and landscaping included adding tropical plants, palms and bamboo.
Gureghian said he wanted it to feel like the occupant was lounging at a resort.
"We wanted to keep the whole Zen thing," he said, "with a bit of Giorgio Armani thrown in."
2511 Benedict Canyon Drive in Beverly Hills is on the market for $4.195 million through Rodeo Realty.
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