Enter Francesco and Bee Carrozzini’s dream home in LA
Despite its relatively modest scale, the iconic home of John Elgin Woolf which is the director’s home in Los Angeles Francesco Carrozzini and his wife, producer Bee Carrozzini, packs a powerful and seductive punch. Built between 1939 and 1942, it is no coincidence in the heyday of Hollywood’s Golden Age for actor and television editor Robert Seiter, then extensively remodeled and enlarged by Woolf in the 1960s for Dr. Henry Dodge, Jr., the residency perfectly encapsulates the romance and theatricality that defines the Hollywood Regency style. Woolf, a good-natured southerner who established himself as a social element and a creator of taste among the inhabitants of Tinseltown beautiful world, was one of the main ancestors of the Hollywood Regency – and arguably its greatest maestro – renowned for his artistry in blending the idioms of French Neoclassical, Greek Revival and Modernist design into an intoxicating olio evoking the sunny life of southern California, just as graceful and glamorous. His talents drew a loyal following among Hollywood’s elite, with a client list that included Cary grant, Judy Garland, Errol Flynn, Barbara Stanwyck, Loretta Young, and Ziegfeld singer and actress Fanny Brice, one of her first champions.
“As a European coming to America, there is a dreamlike aspect to Hollywood that I have always found very convincing. This house captures that fantasy, ”explains Carrozzini, the son of Italian origin of the late fashion sibyl Franca Sozzani. Carrozzini began his career as a photographer and music video director, working with Lenny Kravitz, Jay-Z and Beyoncé. His 2016 documentary about his mother, Franca: Chaos and Creation, marked a turning point towards cinema. He currently directs The hanging sun, an adaptation of the best-selling novel by Norwegian author Jo Nesbø Midnight Sun.
Carrozzini bought the Seiter / Dodge residence from hotelier Sean MacPherson in 2017, the year before he and Bee got married. Rhapsodier on Woolf and his entourage in The New York Times in 2002, MacPherson wrote: “The woolen houses are great ladies. At first their drama and glamor seems almost frivolous, but upon closer inspection, we discover that every detail has been meticulously calculated. MacPherson further noted that his own Woolf house was “designed like a little palace.”
By the time Carrozzini arrived at the scene, the grande dame was in dire need of a facelift, and the only intrigue unfolding at the palace was the punished state of affairs – what he calls “the main dish of the house ”—and the white plaster walls. Nevertheless, its basic layout, architectural flourishes, and abundant charm have remained largely intact. The defining feature of the two-bedroom house is its alluring eastern façade of curvilinear glass walls that cradle the U-shape of the pool, a feature that was added in 1950 and subsequently reimagined by Woolf in its current form in the framework of the 1960s renovation. The glazed wings extend outside into brick-paved porticos that flank the voluptuous swimming pool.
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After a meticulous restoration of the parquet, Carrozzini focused on the renovation of the living room walls and their curved moldings in the form of a proscenium, which frame the library niches, the integrated bookcases and the central fireplace located so spectacular at the top of the curve. walls. “I spent a month choosing the perfect white,” says Carrozzini. “This project was not intended to make major changes that would affect the integrity of the architecture. It was a real restoration. Each choice had to be the right choice, ”adds the director. It also emphasizes the inherent appeal of the comfortable ovular bath and modest kitchen, elephantine-scale silent reproaches of contemporary luxury construction.
Carrozzini has equipped the house sparingly, deploying period furniture (notably a suite of Osvaldo Borsani chairs) in sober sets that rely on the architectural brilliance of the building. Its countless connections to the worlds of art, fashion and photography resonate in a collection of select pieces by Mario Schifano, Paolo Canevari, Helmut Newton, Richard Avedon, Robert Capa, Thomas Struth and Man ray.
“There is a soul in some places,” says Carrozzini, pacing the dream lair, which is now – thanks to his advocacy – officially listed as a Los Angeles Historic and Cultural Landmark. “Even without anything in it, this house has so much character. All I did was secure his future.