A historic Spanish-style house, once owned by Benny Goodman, is the perfect fit for a creative modern family
Written by Abigail Stone
Photography by Paul Jonason
Presented by Anthony Marguleas of Amalfi Estates
List Price $6,195,000
There are certain homes that, though within moments of top restaurants, convenient thoroughfares and excellent schools, make you feel as if you’ve stepped back in time. The house at 945 Corsica Drive, situated on a quiet tree-lined street, moments from Pacific Coast Highway and Sunset Boulevard, is one. The curvaceous home, once owned by legendary jazzman Benny Goodman, was built in 1928. With its stucco exterior and clay tile roof, it’s a stunning example of classic Spanish Revival architecture that once marked the residences of entertainment’s elite. Arched doorways, wooden beams and carved moldings carry the style inside. The home’s graceful French doors, exuberantly tiled fireplaces and wrought iron details are hallmarks of this warm and inviting design.
In contrast to many of the houses built in this mode, whose interiors are dark and cramped, this one, with its spacious rooms circling around a central courtyard, is a revelation. Seamlessly divided into two wings, the home’s ingenious floor plan is tailor-made for the needs of a modern family, balancing casual comforts with refined elegance, informal entertaining with catered suppers, spirited holiday gatherings with quiet business dinners.
Underlining the home as the perfect setting for daily, casual family life, the side door, closest to the driveway, opens straight into a capacious great room. Combining den, dining area and spacious chef’s kitchen in one, this is the home’s hub. It’s the place where the family gathers for dinner, piles onto the sofa to watch television or, on chilly evenings with a fire crackling in the wood-burning fireplace, catches up on the day. A bedroom suite, off to one side, is an ideal spot for guests, and there’s a generous home office tucked just around the corner. Large doors open this warm family room onto the home’s interior courtyard, its grassy expanse of lawn and exterior kitchen offering an ideal setting for weekend barbecues and impromptu pool parties. There’s a covered pergola for outdoor dining, and a deck with plenty of space for lounge chairs by the graceful pool, where cool blue water is enhanced by a surround of terra cotta tile. Upstairs, the home’s two wings offer a subtle separation between the master suite and two junior suites, each resplendent with generous closets, tiled bathrooms and large windows overlooking the back of the house.
When the occasion calls for formal entertaining, the home morphs to show its elegant side, with an ornately carved wooden front door, ushering guests into the home’s formal wing. Terra cotta tiles cover the entryway floor while fanciful Spanish tiles highlight the stairway, where the soft curve is emphasized by a graceful wrought iron banister. An arched doorway frames the entry to the formal living room with its magnificent wood ceiling, polished floors and large Gothic window overlooking the front lawn. French doors connect this room with the outside, and when the weather turns cool, the majestic wood-burning fireplace adds warmth. After cocktails, the evening moves to the dining room, its floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking a courtyard illuminated by moonlight.
Across the courtyard, the home reveals its profound musical legacy. Here is the music studio that’s lured musicians and composers to its doors. Built by Benny Goodman as his practice studio, the space has been expanded and updated. From microphone panels in the bathroom to motorized speakers, double doors, automatic screens, hidden diffusers and bass traps, the state-of-the-art recording studio rivals the amenities of any professional counterpart. Whether the goal is to record a film’s ADR, lay down tracks for an album, mix sound for a thriller, or tweak the sound effects on a series, this space ensures that the biggest challenges on the commute to the office are a few dozen steps through the morning dew. And, if sessions run through the night, a kitchenette, complete with a slender dishwasher makes the studio independent of the main house.
Home and work; formal and informal; family, friends and business colleagues—945 Corsica Drive promises the perfect balance for all aspects of a family’s modern, creative, busy and fulfilling life.