Taylor Swift has claimed victory in her brief foray into municipal bureaucracy — winning landmark status for her estate outside of Los Angeles.
The Beverly Hills City Council approved the pop star’s request to make the 1934 home she bought from the heirs of iconic Hollywood producer Samuel Goldwyn a historic city landmark. The five-member council, including the mayor and vice mayor, voted unanimously for the designation at its Tuesday night meeting, the final hurdle for Swift’s public application.
“I think this is a true community gem and really so thrilled that this will be landmarked and preserved,” said Mayor Lili Bosse, thanking the owner (i.e. Swift) for restoring the home.
It’s hard to believe owning a historic landmark is the singer’s “Wildest Dream" — but she sure has invested a fair bit of time and money in the project.
Swift, 27, bought the four-bedroom home from the Goldwyn family in 2015 for $25 million through a trust linked to her managers in Nashville, Tenn., according to property records, and has spent an undisclosed amount hiring architects to survey and restore the property to its original condition.
Swift commissioned a historic assessment from architects Barbara Lamprecht and George Taylor Louden on the Goldwyns’ long-time home shortly after purchasing the property. Goldwyn co-founded Goldwyn Pictures, which later merged into Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, or MGM, known by the iconic roaring lion in the intro credits to its films.
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The architects’ report dated May 2016 explains that Goldwyn and his wife, Frances, hired renowned architect Douglas Honnold to build the Georgian Revival house. In a cost-saving measure reminiscent of the Great Depression, the Goldwyns brought in set designers from various MGM productions to help with construction, according to the assessment.
Historic features, virtually untouched since 1934, include the tennis court, the pool, a curved patio sitting area and stepped terraces — even the spattering of mature trees on the property.
Swift, who has homes in New York City and Nashville, is also reportedly in the middle of renovating her Tribeca penthouse.
It’s not clear what her motivation is in taking on a restoration project in Beverly Hills. Some have speculated she’s seeking a historic designation to boost the value of the home, but landmarks can work the opposite way. An official designation means that future construction requires special approval from the city, so as not to damage or alter the historic integrity of a property.
To honor that, Swift has launched a meticulous operation to rehabilitate the property, including restoring wooden decorative elements to the exterior, like lattice panels and wooden finials, and reconstructing the front of the pool cabana to its original design.
Monique Schenk, an architect working on the project, said at the City Council meeting that workers had carefully detached the wisteria growing on the front of the home while they worked on the exterior and have now returned the vines to the facade. "It’s blooming and it’s really exciting to see that,” Schenk said.
The architects have also preserved the original plaster moulding on a curved interior staircase, installed a slate-like roof in place of asphalt, and added copper gutters.
“Really, when this project’s done, hopefully this year sometime soon, it’s going to be really spectacular,” Schenk said at the meeting. “We’ve preserved and maintained a lot of the elements, and those that were deteriorating, we’ve replicated.”
A publicist for Swift did not return a request for comment.