Tinseltown queen bee and Oscar favorite Meryl Streep sold her midcentury modern home in the Hollywood Hills to baseball’s heavy hitter Alex “A-Rod” Rodriguez for a cool $4.8 million in 2014. The gorgeous light-filled residence was a celebrity-steal for the ball player and moved him up in the world and into a house packed with elite star cred.
There are few actors out there with more groundbreaking roles under their belts than Streep – from the ultimate tearjerker that’s Sophie’s Choice to comedy-drama The Devil Wears Prada and later, Margaret Thatcher biopic The Iron Lady. When it comes to versatility, this three-time Academy Award-winner broke the mold.
To baseball fans, Alex Rodriguez is a household name. Currently third baseman for the New York Yankees, he previously played for the Texas Rangers and the Seattle Mariners. A-Rod’s career, however, suffered a setback when he was suspended for the whole 2014 season for his alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs.
With the past behind him, Rodriguez was clearly ready to set up home in the 3,605-square-foot modern masterpiece known as the Honnold & Rex Research House. The property, which dates back to 1954, was built as part of a research experiment looking into then-new and visionary building materials and design modes.
Streep had only just the previous year bought the home with her sculptor husband Don Gummer for $4.5 million. They turned around and listed it for an eye-watering $6.75 million – a 50 percent markup. Evidently, there were no takers, because A-Rod nabbed the show home at an almost $2 million discount in August 2014.
Close your eyes and imagine your dream house. Okay, open them. No doubt you fantasized about an entrance area featuring an antique running fountain, a glam patio built for long nights of entertaining around an open fire pit, and a pool and spa that could put a luxury hotel to shame. Welcome to A-Rod’s new crib…
Inside the class-act casa, floor-to-ceiling windows flood the rooms with natural light. Sanded wood floors add to the bright, airy feel, while the modern furnishings – yes, they’re included, too – look like they’ve leapt off the pages of Architectural Digest.
Nights can get chilly in the Hollywood Hills. Luckily, Rodriguez’s new home has a fireplace – and it’s fit for a style king, enhanced by a wall of geometric rough hewn stone brickwork. A wispy modern chandelier made up of glass orbs is suspended in front of it and nicely contrasts the heavy stonework.
To the right of the fireplace is another sitting area– yes, one is never enough. And behind the sofa, there’s a dining area, where A-Rod can entertain his new celebrity neighbors. The house is located on the lower portion of Sunset Plaza, an area renowned for its star power, and has counted among its residents Demi Moore and Paris Hilton.
Adjacent to the additional sitting area, floor-to-ceiling glass doors draw visitors out onto a patio space and a pool. We hope Rodriguez’s guests know enough not to sit on his new Pantone-perfect beige sofa with their wet Speedos.
In the 1992 film Death Becomes Her, Streep’s character took an epic tumble down an elegant yet foreboding flight of stairs. We doubt that happened when the actress lived here. This walnut staircase not only looks safe and pristine, but it also cleverly conceals a large storage area – perfect for tucking away out-of-season baseball uniforms.
The light in the Hollywood Hills is A-list light. The Honnold & Rex Research House makes the most of this with skylights aplenty. And, with its clean white walls and abundance of streaming California sunshine, it’s the perfect place for art collector Rodriguez to show off his acquisitions.
The large, well-equipped kitchen is perfect for the sort of haute cuisine cooking and baking Streep’s character did in the 2009 romantic comedy It’s Complicated. The small four-person counter dining area with its tangerine-orange chairs offers a pop of color within an otherwise subdued palette.
Now in his 40s, Rodriguez likely welcomes some down time sacking out in front of a TV. He recently admitted: “Look, at age 40 with two hip surgeries, I’m day-to-day.” So when he’s not on ESPN, Rodriguez can flip on ESPN. The house’s lounge area features a wide-screen TV with storage area underneath for quick tidy-ups when the guests arrive.
Remember that A-list light? Well, with its expansive windows, the master bedroom capitalizes on it. A-Rod can be sure that from now on he’ll wake only to the warmest rays of sunshine dappled through the surrounding foliage.
Everyone knows that the key to a successful relationship is separate sinks, so if Rodriguez ever decides to settle down, he can relax: the master bathroom not only features a contemporary design and spa tub, but also comes complete with his and hers wash basins.
Friends never let friends drive drunk. Should A-Rod’s guests be unfit to drive home, they can spend the night in the property’s guest bedroom, which has its own private al fresco area.
During long summer nights on the patio, Rodriguez can stoke the exterior fire pit. There’s plenty of seating and lush vegetation all around for a real campfire feel. Break out the marshmallows!
Streep bought the Honnold & Rex Research House from architectural conservator Xorin Balbes, who updated the property’s design and set-up before selling it on. The furniture was also part of the package back then. We get the feeling high lifers aren’t ordering couches from IKEA like the rest of us.
Although the Hollywood hideaway may not be a mansion by Tinseltown standards, Alex Rodriguez has done pretty well for himself with this stylish, design-savvy property. Hopefully, Streep isn’t regretting her decision to sell it too much…