He’s not a household name in the vein of Hollywood celebrities, but Jeff Hammes is indisputably a captain of industry. As the longtime chairman of Kirkland & Ellis until his retirement last year, he presided over a blockbuster legal organization that astonished Wall Street with its rapid growth in recent years. Today, Kirkland is the world’s highest-grossing law firm, with $4.2 billion in 2019 annual revenue and more than 2,300 attorneys worldwide.
Back in fall 2017, Chicago-based Hammes and longtime wife Linda paid $14.8 million for a vacation home in prime Beverly Hills, sited on one of the best streets in the so-called Flats neighborhood. At that time, the property contained a stately Gerard Colcord-designed 1920s Gothic Tudor Revival mansion with elegant but decoratively dated interiors.
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This week, Hammes flipped the property back onto the market with a $21 million ask, and snazzy marketing photographs reveal he recently completed a radical, full-scale contemporary remodel of the estate. Though the home’s partially ivy-clad exterior remains largely unchanged — save for a new coat of paint — the interiors are now strikingly modern, and the landscaping has also been redone.
A double-height foyer flaunts its grand wooden staircase and black-and-white checkerboard marble floors, and connects to a casually comfy living room with contemporary furnishings and a triple set of French doors that open to the back terrace. The revamped dining room’s newly whitewashed walls are set off by mustard yellow curtains on the windows, and the chef’s kitchen is practically all-new but retains its punishingly expensive La Cornue range.
Perhaps Hammes’ most dramatic interior change was his redo of the mansion’s wood-paneled billiards room, which now functions as a sophisticated movie theater. There’s a projector screen, blackout window treatments, and the wood trim has been painted a particularly vibrant shade of teal. Other fanciful new spaces include a glass-enclosed wine closet, main floor powder room with a psychedelic wallpaper treatment, and upgraded master suite with an all-new, lavish spa-style bath. There’s also a gym, and a breakfast room that opens to the estate’s gardens.
The property’s pancake-flat lot spans a full half-acre and packs in all the requisite amenities: a lap-lane pool with inset spa, stone terraces for sunbathing, a half-court sports court, and a lush array of gardens and mature trees, some of which were trucked in — surely at great expense — during Hammes’ ownership. Naturally, the entire estate is walled, gated, and hedged for privacy.
Behind the pool, a two-story guesthouse packs in a bedroom, two additional baths/changing facilities, and a second kitchen. And at the far rear of the lot, attached to the guesthouse and accessed via a discreet back alleyway, lies a four-car garage.
The Hammeses continues to reside primarily in Illinois, where they maintain two major homes: the couple’s longtime main residence, a 1.2-acre suburban estate in Glencoe owned since 1996, and a $4.15 million in-town pied-à-terre on Chicago’s Gold Coast, a towering Italianate mansion they acquired in 2014.