Hearst heiress sells Lautner’s famous Wolff House to Louis Vuitton’s director for $11 million

Walls of glass run from floor to ceiling in the John Lautner-designed Wolff House.
(Darwin Nercesian)
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Nicolas Ghesquière, the creative director for French fashion house Louis Vuitton, just bought one of the most stylish estates in L.A. The designer has quietly paid $11 million for John Lautner’s iconic Wolff House in an off-market deal, real estate sources told The Times.

The sellers are Amanda Hearst, great-granddaughter of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst, and her husband, director Joachim Rønning. They made a hefty profit on the property after buying it two years ago for $5.9 million.

The Midcentury gem was built in 1961 by Lautner, a prolific architect whose bold, dramatic creations regularly star in the silver screen. His myriad works include the legendary Bob Hope house in Palm Springs and the Silvertop estate in Silver Lake. His personal residence traded hands two years ago for $1.67 million, or $80,000 over the asking price.


The Wolff House is one of Lautner’s best, as the striking Modernist marvel hovers above the city on an ultra-steep lot in Hollywood Hills. A confluence of natural materials and sleek modern features, the house wraps around a mammoth Eucalyptus tree that cuts through the center of the space.

Scenic living spaces combine stone, copper and glass, as 16-foot windows take in the leafy grounds and city below. Another highlight comes in the spiral staircase, where warm wood steps wind within a curved wall of stone.

Four bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms complete the main house, and a guesthouse commissioned in 1970 adds three bedrooms and two bathrooms. The primary suite expands to a private terrace, and the lower level opens outside, where a cantilevered swimming pool is perched at the edge of the property.

In 2006, the famous estate was a designated a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument.

Ghesquière worked at Balenciaga, where he was named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2006, before joining Louis Vuitton in 2013.

Hearst and Rønning were married last year at Hearst Castle in San Simeon. Hearst formerly served as an editor at the fashion magazine Marie Claire. Rønning, a native of Norway, has been directing films for two decades with credits including “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” and “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.”