Greta garbo house

Keywords: home renovating, home interior design, home improvement
Description: If you're looking for ideas for home renovating, check out how Greta Garbo's legendary home was remodeled.

The boxed-in abode of Hollywood's most glamorous recluse is reincarnated as a wide-open modern masterpiece

Sassaman's first order of business was to more than double the space to 5,500 square feet – more typical of homes on today's L.A. market. "The additional space was attained by erecting a second story and pushing the home out toward the view," Sassaman says. "The hilltop view was stunning but the estate didn't take advantage of it because the house had been built to keep the inhabitants in and the press out." In a paradoxical shift, Sassaman added windows and full wall glass panels. "We added as much glass as city code would permit, and this tactic transformed the home from dark and secluded to open and airy." But perhaps the greatest addition came with the surreal infinity pool. "Because the home is positioned on the edge of a hillside, the pool had to be built on the hill slope in order to create the illusion that the house was sitting on water," says Sassaman. "The pool was much more difficult to do than the home itself; yet when the infinity knife-edge pool appears to drop off into the city—wow!"

Although some rooms, including the kitchen, were kept in their original location, others were flip-flopped for better functionality. Garbo's infamous pink adobe patio was totally enclosed and converted into a neutral-hued living room with panoramic views of the city and of the new infinity pool just outside its doors. Garbo's bedroom became the home office, and a master suite was installed on the newly constructed second floor. The lower bedroom and bath, previously a guest room during Tab Hunter's residency, became a gym. Another outdoor patio area was enclosed and added to the kitchen, providing more space to cook, dine, and entertain. Sassaman methodically tweaked each space, including halls and staircases, to ensure that all were afforded a nice view.

Though Sassaman made many modern updates, it was important to her to hang on to the flavor of Garbo's home, so she kept the home's unusual curved lines. Though working along curves was difficult, particularly in the bathroom where cabinetry had to be installed, Sassaman managed to make it work. The curved fireplace in Garbo's original master bedroom was retained, as was the home's sinuous exterior. Both were updated with stucco, a more sensible pick than tile or stone, which would have been tough to work with along the curves. "By keeping the curvaceous shape of the home and improving upon that style, I worked to meld the worlds of yesterday and today together."

Sassaman made great strides to associate the house with its alluring first resident. While building the pool and retaining wall in the backyard, she stayed in the house to get a feel for what it was like to live there. "I loved living there with the expansive view of the city and ocean," confesses the designer. And while it's been years since the sexy starlet occupied the home, in name, at least, the home still remains hers; the current homeowner, a young Russian film maker, loved the home's history so much that he bought it under "Greta Garbo LLC."

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