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My Favorite Room: Napoleon Perdis will miss lounging above L.A.

My Favorite Room: Napoleon Perdis will miss lounging above L.A.
Perdis sits in his lounge in his four-floor Hollywood Hills mansion, where he liked to take tea and read rare books. (Michael Lewis)

Leaving Los Angeles has been hard for makeup mogul Napoleon Perdis.

The entrepreneur, who was raised by Greek immigrants in Australia, spent more than a decade in California before deciding last year to move to Europe. He closed his flagship Beverly Hills cosmetics store, shut down his warehouse operations throughout the state and withdrew his products from department stores.

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Now he's building a home for his wife and four daughters in Greece while pining for the lavish property he left behind in the Hollywood Hills.

"If I had stayed in the states, I never would have sold it," Perdis said. "That was the home of my dreams."

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The Mediterranean-style mansion on Mulholland Drive has six bedrooms and 8.5 bathrooms spread across four floors. His security system was vetted by former members of the Israeli military, he said.

Perdis remembers perching in designer chairs in his lounge while admiring the tribal art scattered around the room, the Salvador Dali painting above the fireplace or the reflection of L.A. in a massive mirror.

The home, which is represented by Hilton & Hyland, is now on the market for $3.75 million.

In Perdis' lounge, which boasts vast views, “you’re on top of the world, above the pollution in the fresh air.”
In Perdis' lounge, which boasts vast views, “you’re on top of the world, above the pollution in the fresh air.” (Napoleon Perdis)

Why was the lounge your favorite room?

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When you sit in there, you have the whole of Los Angeles at your feet. You can see out past the vast, glorious city into Catalina. There's a sense of people always around you, and yet you're on top of the world, above the pollution in the fresh air. I love the wildlife up there, the deer, the coyotes running, the hawks. We were in such a global city and could still live that natural, organic life.

How did nature play into the room's design?

We had the interior done in a way that reflected the green from outside. There was this white deck that reminded me of the Aegean. And we had this phenomenal Chinese feng shui, with the mountain behind us fortifying us, the pool below representing a stream of money and the whole valley below in a "V."

What would you do in the lounge?

We would relax, watch TV, read Shakespeare sonnets and Byron by the fireplace. I am an avid collector of rare books. And I'm a bit of a dinosaur in that I love newspapers. We'd have our morning or afternoon tea — we're very Anglo-Saxon in that way. When we had guests, the room was large enough that you could have formal, beautiful entertainment. Like one of my friends said, it was one of those rooms that never gave you mental claustrophobia. We actually had a beautiful cleansing ceremony there recently.

Any special memories in the room?

We had a big photo shoot with Richard Bailey, who was this huge international photographer, and Melissa George, who was still on "Alias" at the time, for the cover of Vogue Australia. It was my first time on the cover of Vogue. We had hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of jewelry from Cartier, Bulgari and Tiffany there.

We also had a more private moment when we welcomed all of our friends when we arrived in Los Angeles. We had 120 people or so — the kids had their friends over, too. We did a Napoleon Bonaparte champagne salute (opening the bottle with a sword) in that room. It was just spectacular.

Why move back to Greece?

We wanted the kids to learn Greek and understand the Greek Orthodox religion and then ultimately go back to Australia. We had to move on. But my family and I were in tears for weeks. It took us three, four months to recover, I'm not ashamed to say.

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