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LEAVE IT TO ALEC GORES to turn everything he

touches into gold. Since 1992, the chairman of the Los

Angelesbased Gores
Technology Group has completed over 35 deals worth
more than $1 billion, including the acquisition of the
troubled Learning Company from Mattel, which left
his peers gasping and wondering what he would try
next. I work best when I am in a corner: explains
That maxim served him well In the creation of his
new residence in one of Los Angeles exclusive gated
communities. He began by buying a lot that many
people would have passed up. It was tucked into a
corner, right up against a hillside, with no views.
Exactly the kind of challenge that pushes Gores into
After interviewing six architects, he chose Richard
Landry, whom he paired with interior designer Donna
Livingston. I had seen some of Richards work
published and felt he could do what I wanted: says
Gores, who adds that his dream was a Tuscan-style
house that felt like it had been around for a while:

Architect Richard Landry re-created a Tuscan villa

in Los Angeles for Alec Gores. Left: An arched
colonnade covers the outdoor sealing area. Above:
The entrance has on elegant curved stairway.

Interior designer Donna Livingston worked with Landry to create a comfortable family environment. The great rooms
walnut truss ceiling was distressed to give it an aged look, and the plastered walls have a Venetian finish. The
fireplace mantel came from France.

To begin, Landry and landscaper DW/LA Landscape

Architects brought in bulldozers to cut back the
hillside and install retaining walls. This judicious use
of hidden assets was the architectural equivalent of a
Gores business fix. It got the design team out of a
difficult corner and onto a level playing field. It made
space for a poolhouse, a generously landscaped
terrace, and a childrens play area. Those additions,
in turn, created attractive views from inside the house
looking toward the hilly backdrop. It was the kind of
innovative thinking that Gores appreciated about
Landry: The chemistry was good from a personal
point of view: Gores says. He was strong. I got
along with hint

Alec is a man of quick decisions, adds Landry

Hes a true entrepreneur. He was one of the few
clients who actually asked me if there was anything
in the project that I would like to change as we
went along. Its rare to find an owner who wants to
initiate change orders by the architect.
Today, standing by the pool in the garden, Gores
gazes at a modern replica of a picturesque casa
that, in typical Italian rural style, appears to have
been added onto over centuries. It is clad in Santa
Barbara rubblestone and French limestone, with
carefully integrated precast concrete detailing. The
changing roofline is covered with authentic
cylindrical terracotta tiles and embellished with

The openplan kitchen has a breakfast area, walnut cabinets, and granite counters. Gores pHvate chef works fron. a professional stove.

Instead of a formal living room, Gores requested a multipurpose library with a wet par and fiat-screen TV
Landry installed an intricate walnut coffered ceiling, paneling, and parquet floor. Livingston added the
antique Portuguese armchairs hairs and velvet-upholstered sofas.

four tall chimneys, which serve the hearths in the library,

great room, outdoor loggia, and master bedroom. A
wrought iron Romeo and Juliet balcony on the second
floor connects the master bedroom to the garden via a
Gores talent for prophetic anticipation in business also
marks his lifestyle. Like many people postSeptember
11, Gores is thinking closer to home these days. Landry
confirms the trend: Executives today want to come
home, put on a pair of shorts and a T-shirt, and join their
children in some activity: They also try to work at home
more often, which calls for a reevaluation in living: fewer
formal dinner parties with clients and business associates,
more get togethers with family and friends. Gores, a
lavish party- giver, hosted 600 people in the house over
And his natural instinct for paring down and capitalizing
on whats in hand, the cornerstone of his financial rescue
operations, is evident in the arrangement of rooms.
Although it is spacious, the 12,000-square-foot house has
no formal living room. Why waste space on something
you never use? he reasons. Instead, the librar3 with its
Above: A marble fireplace mantel and French doors
that overlook the garden are highlights of the master
bedroom, which has a large sitting area. Left: Landry
designed a vaulted ceiling for the upstairs hallway,
where wood columns frame the artworks.

fireplace, wood bookshelves, wet bar, flat TV screen, and

antique desk with a 2O-line phone system, is a comfortable,
multipurpose room that redefines the contemporary life of
the 21st-century businessman. Informally formala
leitmotiv of design todaythe library was given a
framework of a walnut parquet floor and intricate coffered
ceiling by Landry, and filled with upholstered sofas, antique
Portuguese armchairs, oil paintings, leather-bound books,
and a marble mantel by Donna Livingston. Outside, beyond
its triple pairs of French doors, is a second, more casual
living room under the covered loggia, where a radiantheated floor and fireplace make it usable yearround.

the house) also breaks with convention, while making the

best use of square footage.

Traditional influences abound throughout the residence,

which at the same time breaks with convention. Unobserved
by guests, but at instant service to Gores, for instance, is a
miniature electronic wall panel that adjusts lighting to three
different levels or brings up a surround-sound audio system
at the flick of a finger. Still, despite having made his name
in the high-tech arena, the CEO said he didnt want to go
overboard with technology at home. Instead, a concerted
effort was made to turn every room into a friendly, family
space. Putting one of the six bedrooms downstairs (with a
barrel-vaulted ceiling and delightful balcony on the front of

Gores career epitomizes the American dream. His parents

arrived penniless from Israel and settled in Michigan. Like
many self-made men, Gores has created his own heritage
his house is his legacy for his children. Donna Livingston
installed a luxurious moss-colored mohair fabric on the
walls of the library, a decorating idea she noted during a
personal audience at the popes private apartment in Rome a
few years ago. I was just waiting for the opportunity to do
it; she says. An apt blessing to bestow on a new dynasty.

Next to the kitchen is the great room (todays upscale den),

a heroic space with a distressed wood truss ceiling that rises
over 15 feet. It looks as though it has been there forever,
says Marc Welch, Landrys associate architect in charge,
who researches the historical details that characterize
Landry Design Groups European-influenced projects. The
wine cellar was positioned behind wrought iron doors on
either side of the dining room entrance, And the basement
was turned into a stateoftheart home theater.

Landry Design Group, 3 10.444. 1404,;

Donna Livingston, 310.273.1855

A radiant-heatedfloor and afireplace allow Gores and hisfamily to use the covered loggia as arm outdoor living area year-round.