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Wooden it be Fab

A generation welcomes the sunshine in: Donald Hensman blazed the way at his Hollywood Hills bachelor pad

Photograph by Tim Street-Porter

Earthy materials, artisan flourishes, communal spaces—the Age of Aquarius was in full swing. Redwood, which evoked Bay Area cool, figured prominently, especially in the work of architects Donald Hensman and Conrad Buff. The Hollywood Hills house that Hensman built for himself in 1975 has a free-flowing kitchen-dining-living space with views of the Valley and the city. When Mike Rielly bought the place in 2004, it was listed as a teardown. Determined to restore it, he left his job as a sports agent and spent about two years casing the state—to Mendocino for redwood door fabricators, to Monrovia for the original tile makers—before his quest was complete.

 

wooden1HIDE & SEEK
» A skylight illuminates the kitchen, which has a sunken floor and teak cabinetry that conceals appliances and keeps the sink from plain view. The cane webbing on the cabinet doors is a replica.

 

 

wooden2LIGHT SHOW
» Artist Judy Jensen made the stained-glass panels at the entry. Pool water flows into two rivulets, which reflect the sun onto the glassworks.The bridge leads to a massive deck. 

 

 

wooden3OLD GLORY
» Rielly replicated much of the interior from photographs Julius Shulman shot in 1976 (Hensman had died in 2002). Rielly’s one embellishment was adding quartzite tile to the front of the fireplace.

 

 

wooden4SLEEP TIGHT 
» The 1,508-square-foot house has a single bedroom with a large bathroom suite. The terrace on the Valley side, which looks down on Universal Studios, has a low wall with a cantilevered bench. 

 

 

Photograph by Tim Street-Porter