Living In the Lap of Urban Luxury
By Victoria Namkung
ABOVE, FROM LEFT: Sue Hostetler's new book; Loree Rodkin's luxury apartment in Sierra Towers; Magnus and Karen Walker's refurbished warehouse in Downtown LA. BELOW: Sue Hostetler.
This month, writer and Kansas native Sue Hostetler releases her third tome, Majestic Metropolitan Living: Visionary Homes in the Heart of Cities (Clarkson Potter; $65), a gorgeous coffee-table book that takes you inside 19 urban homes with limitless vision. From a 16,000-square-foot château in Chicago with a master bedroom created from a former ballroom to an artist’s warren of studios in New York City crowned by a rooftop garden draped with wisteria arbors, you’ll undoubtedly be inspired to spruce up your own urban dwelling. We talk with Hostetler about the book, city living and the new home she’s building with husband and media entrepreneur Jon Diamond.
LOS ANGELES CONFIDENTIAL: What did you love about putting together Majestic Metropolitan Living?
SUE HOSTETLER: The owners featured in the book have incredible ingenuity and vision, and some of them really created incredible spaces out of nothing. One of the LA owners is this cool couple, Magnus and Karen Walker, who had the foresight to buy an old, dilapidated warehouse from the 1900s in a gritty section of Downtown. They’ve turned it into a funky, cool, singular 26,000-square-foot space where they work and live.
LAC: How did you decide which spaces to include?
SH: I tried to get a wild cross-section of people, owners, different genres and different interior styles. I looked for a wide variation of the more typical kinds of urban structures—the high-rise, the co-op, the townhouse and the loft—and then sprinkled in more nontraditional spaces like a former synagogue and a Russian consulate that were converted into homes.
LAC: Tell us about a memorable LA resident who’s featured in the book.
SH: Jewelry designer Loree Rodkin moved from a house in the Hollywood Hills with a pool and a yard to the iconic Sierra Towers, where she combined apartments and allocated space to fulfill her particular dreams. The master closet is one of the largest rooms and is more luxe than most boutiques on Rodeo!
LAC: Coincidentally, you’re in the middle of building a townhouse in New York’s East Village. What are you aiming for aesthetically?
SH: With the exterior we are trying to come up with a design that will be fresh and modern but will also fit into the visual architectural history of the neighborhood. We didn’t want to create a building that would stick out. The interiors feature a mix of poured concrete, beautiful wood and steel doors, so it maintains some grittiness.
LAC: According to your book, more people are moving to urban areas than ever before. Why do you think that is?
SH: In 1900 only about 10 percent of the world lived in urban areas; now it’s more than 50 percent. People find it’s a better place to land a good job, there are more cultural and sporting events and it can feel like a more intellectual place to be. A lot of the owners I featured have a love affair with their chosen cities. They’re very passionate about where they live and have gone to great lengths to stay there.
REPRINTED FROM MAJESTIC METROPOLITAN LIVING BY SUE HOSTETLER. © 2009 BY SUE HOSTETLER. PHOTOGRAPHS © 2009 BY PETER CHRISTIANSEN VALLI. PUBLISHED BY CLARKSON POTTER, A DIVISION OF RANDOM HOUSE, INC.