The couple’s Los Angeles home was originally designed by modernist master Richard Neutra and has been restored. Now known as the Singleton House, it was commissioned in the mid-’50s by industrialist Henry Singleton for a site on a gorgeous peak atop Mulholland Drive.
Views from the property last from as far as the Pacific to the shiny skyscrapers of downtown LA, all the way to the desert and San Gabriel Mountains.
When Ronnie, like her husband a passionate art and architecture enthusiast, originally saw the house it was in bad shape, though the Singleton family had done their best to maintain it.
After arriving in 1969, they first rented it out, then put it on the market in 2002, three years after Henry’s death.
The 4,700-square-foot house languished empty—its systems too dated (no air-conditioning, etc), its bedrooms too small and rooms too dark for contemporary families—until the Sassoons purchased the hidden gem. They were living between London and Beverly Hills at the time and bought the home as a journey for them to share, one they weren’t completely sure would be positive.
Indeed, just weeks after the closing, in 2004, part of the roof collapsed, and only a few months later a huge chunk of the property slid into a neighbor’s yard. But Cincinnati-born Ronnie, who had worked as a fashion designer and an advertising executive before she married Vidal almost two decades ago, was committed to the project and buried herself in a study of Neutra’s work. She reviewed images of the Singleton House taken by Julius Shulman (1910–2009), the preeminent architectural photographer of Los Angeles.
The Sassoons soon discovered that, due to dry rot and modernized code requirements, they would have to do drastic rebuilding. Working with contractor Scott Werker of GW Associates of L.A., they replaced damaged ceilings and added new terrazzo floors. They removed walls in order to create larger, brighter interior spaces. They added a master bedroom suite, which Ronnie designed with Werker and building planner Tim Campbell.
While the Sassoons still made use of Neutra’s original materials and elements to an astonishing degree, the changes were considered “abusive” by some design purists. Ronnie, however, continued.
When the renovations finished, the couple turned to decorator Martyn Lawrence-Bullard, a friend, for advice on the interiors, including upholstered pieces and textiles.
The Sassoons happily decamped from Beverly Hills and moved up to Mulholland.