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Mansion built by Williams-Sonoma CEO up for sale

Sarah Firshein
October 11, 2012


When W. Howard Lester died in Nov. 2010—a few short months after his 30-plus-year tenure as CEO of Williams-Sonoma had ended—he left behind The Mapleton Estate, a 20,000-square-foot mansion in Los Angeles' exclusive Holmby Hills neighborhood. Now the Med-style villa, which has "the romance of a Medici palazzo," according to a 2006 Architectural Digest feature—is on the market for the first time since Lester's death, at a $29.95 million price tag.

Lester, who expanded Williams-Sonoma from a four-store company to a 600-store one and took the kitchenwares, housewares, and furnishings brand public in 1983, bought The Mapleton Estate in 2004 and hired local interior designer Mark Boone to jazz up the decor.

The seven-bedroom home already had porticoes and loggias, dramatic ceilings (vaulted, coffered), stone flooring, and a truly beautiful kitchen, natch; Boone filled it with "museum-quality antique rugs," transitional Italian-inspired furnishings, and pieces from the family's extensive art collection (a de Kooning here, a Sol LeWitt there).

Next: the wine cellar, and more.

Boone also added a wine cellar, a Deco screening room described in Arch Digest as "an old-fashioned movie house from the '20s or '30s" (complete with damask walls), and a billiards room that "feels more like a classic gentlemen's club, with carved plaster ceiling tiles and snooker chairs."

While those chairs (and that art!) may not be included in the price, the guest house—reworked by Boone to resemble "a suite at the Hotel Bel-Air"—most certainly is, as is the pool and rose garden on the 1.4-acre grounds.

Also in the realm of properties of home-store barons: the suburban Chicago home of Crate and Barrel founders Gordon and Carole Siegel hit the market for $6.9 million last May and has since been price-chopped to $6.499 million.