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A reality real estate star’s living room hits new heights | My Favorite Room

Jason Oppenheim
Jason Oppenheim in the living room, the favorite room of his Hollywood Hills home.
(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

Jason Oppenheim has made a career — and a Netflix show — out of selling houses; but when it came to creating the timeless home of his own dreams, he learned there’s a hefty price for perfection.

The “Selling Sunset” star said he wanted a home that would “stand the test of time and look good for decades.” In his industrial, barn-like living room, that included an 85-inch, 300-pound, $65,000 television and entertainment system that lifts from a subterranean bunker, and a $3,000, two-month project rewiring a 1942 rotary phone from a U.S. Navy ship.

Two years and three times his original budget later, the final cost for the Hollywood Hills home’s reno was $5 million, on top of the $3.5 million purchase price.

“As a real estate broker and a licensed contractor, I thought I would have been able to budget more accurately,” Oppenheim said. “I’m a pretty obsessive person, especially when it’s something for me, and I’m extremely meticulous — so if you combine all those, it creates a great property, but it drives a lot of people crazy, costs a lot of money and takes a lot of time.”

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A fan of “loft spaces, concrete and a kind of brutalism in architecture,” Oppenheim tends to gravitate toward a darker industrial style with a lot of organic finishes, such as brick, wood and metal — “materials that are long-lasting and durable,” he said.

The 12-foot ceilings are sheathed in long planks with a massive center beam “to look like a log cabin,” with large, circular bronze and brass fixtures and specialty bulbs from Buster and Punch hanging from above.

A collection of vellum-bound vintage books, 300 to 400 years old, are dispersed throughout the space.

“Sometimes I really do judge a book by its cover. I can’t read Latin, which most of them are, but there’s just something about holding an old book and thinking about who touched it or made it,” he said.

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Why is this your favorite room?

I built this specifically for myself, so it’s very much my style. I like a lot of industrial finishings, vaulted ceilings, brick, metal, a lot of wood and a very open space. I also like an area to entertain and it’s got the bar, television and the fireplace, so it’s a really nice place to socialize.

Fireplace
A fireplace has a window to the outside.
(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

I love this fireplace.

The fireplace is grandfathered in as a wood-burning fireplace, which is unique; I just opened it up to make it a 6-foot fireplace, which for me is the centerpiece of the room. That’s why I have the television coming up from under the ground. I saw a restaurant that has these wood stacks next to the fireplace, so that gave me that idea. All the herringbone brick I did piece by piece in the fireplace.

Antique books
Antique Latin books and whiskey decorate the walls by a bar.
(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

Tell me about your bar.

I created an extremely industrial bar that’s made of steel with copper finishings and brass accents. The bar wall is wrapped in leather behind it. I chose all the bottles because I think they’re beautiful, not necessarily because of the alcohol. The neon lights are of my favorite poem by Robert Frost. Super custom-made.

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Leather and earthy tones
A minimalist leather and earthy toned look inspired the home.
(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

I love the expansive wood floors and ceiling.

I don’t like drywall so I tried to use other finishes, like a ceiling finished with wood. I took apart the pillars and put steel attached to these huge brackets so I could create such an open space. This room spans almost 100 feet, so in order to do that, I had to pour 13 footings under the house and have massive steel posts and beams all through the ceilings and behind the brick that you can’t see.

Coffee table
The coffee table is by Environment Furniture.
(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

You’ve got some great furniture.

The bar stools are Anna Karlin out of New York; she’s one of my favorite designers. The metal bag-shaped magazine holder is Bottega Veneta, the pillow is Hermes, the couch is Restoration Hardware, the rugs are all vintage rugs and the coffee table is by Environment Furniture, recently bought up by Cisco.

Windows
Large windows line the walls.
(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

What is your favorite memory in here?

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The first time I was able to show off this finished house was when we filmed “Selling Sunset” here. I brought the cast, which are also my friends, and had a pool party. After spending all that time, energy, money and the stress to get it to where I wanted it, and to be able to have my friends over for the first time, felt great.


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