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In Hollywood Hills, big plans are in store for Neutra’s Chuey House

In Hollywood Hills, big plans are in store for Neutra’s Chuey House
Designed by Richard Neutra, this architectural estate sits on 1.5 acres overlooking the city and ocean. (Pacific Union International)

The once-uncertain fate of a Richard Neutra-designed home has crystallized in the Hollywood Hills.

Perched on a 1.5-acre knoll, the glass-and-steel estate hit the market last year with plans in place to relocate the entire house should the buyer simply want the land. However, the historic home just sold for $5.575 million, and the new owners are keeping everything right where it is.

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Built in 1956 for painter Robert Chuey and his wife, poet Josephine Ain Chuey, the single-story house offers two bedrooms and one bathroom in 1,896 square feet. It boasts classic Midcentury style, with indoor-outdoor living spaces and long walls of glass that bring in unobstructed views of the city and ocean.

The buyers, developers Eric Choi and Philippe Naouri, are planning to restore and expand the architectural gem. In a statement, they said they’re “committed to preserving the existing house in a planned restoration which will see the original modernist building brought back to life.”

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For the restoration, which is expected to take two years, they’re bringing in New York-based designer Tim Campbell, whose past work includes Neutra’s Singleton House and a Ralph Flewelling-designed home for Diane Keaton.

“The house is in pretty bad shape,” he said. “Lots of the original architecture is gone or fallen away.”

Neutra staples — such as the reflecting pools and spider-leg ceiling beams that protrude to the home’s exterior — are gone. Campbell plans to restore these, as well as return the altered interior to its original state and add all-new mechanical work.

“It starts with research and uncovering what was originally designed,” he said. “We’re figuring out how to put it all back together and sensitively add on to the property.”

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The trio met with the Los Angeles Conservancy to lay out their plans and get the organization’s blessing, and though they’re still in the planning stages, Campbell expects to have full support.

When the previous owners listed the property for $8.3 million last year, it came with an agreement from the conservancy that the home would either remain in place or be moved to a new location. In a market where land itself can offer far more value than the home it holds, a 1.5-acre knoll in Hollywood Hills West with 360-degree views would be a developer’s dream.

The home’s concrete slab foundation would’ve made relocation an extremely arduous process, but according to Campbell, that was never an option for the developers.

“It’s very fortunate that the persons who bought [the property] are going to lovingly refurbish it in collaboration with the conservancy,” real estate agent Neville Graham said.

Graham, a broker with Compass, held the listing with Elizabeth Donovan of Westside Estate Agency. Graham and Donovan also represented the buyers.

The Chuey House is not the only architectural home Choi and Naouri are working on at the moment. The developers are currently restoring a Rex Lotery-designed residence in Trousdale. Their past projects include estates designed by Craig Ellwood, Hal Levitt and Robert Earl.

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