“I live for myself and I answer to nobody.”
– Steve McQueen
His bad boy image, rugged masculinity and reserved vulnerability made Steve McQueen a screen idol and the highest-paid actor of his day. With iconic roles in movies such as Bullit, The Thomas Crown Affair, The Great Escape and The Getaway, he set the bar high for American men. McQueen was idolized not only for his daredevil swagger but for his impeccable style. His look was simple but confident.
Steve McQueen’s enduring classic style shows up in spades in his former Hollywood Hill’s home on Solar Drive.
The undisputed King of Cool earned his reputation both on and off the screen. McQueen lived fast. He loved fast cars. And he loved fast motorcycles even more.
McQueen was a perfect fit for the southern California lifestyle with its wide open spaces and promise of freedom. The nascent California counter-culture welcomed his rebellious persona with open arms.
In 1960, McQueen and his wife, Neile Adams moved into this mid-century home on Solar Drive. The house is sited on a ridge that overlooks Runyon Canyon with the Valley on one side, and the Pacific Ocean on the other. Even today, Solar Drive is a bit rough around the edges. The street is narrow, not well-marked and a little out of the way.
I expect that is exactly how Steve McQueen liked it. On this Nichol’s Canyon ridge, you’re close enough to see the city below without actually having to be in the thick of it.
The post & beam design features a low-slung flat roof typical of the period. These designs sought to strip away all the unnecessary ornamentation allowing the geometric aesthetic speak for itself. The open floor plan covers nearly 3,600 square feet of living space. The three bedrooms and three bathrooms are well-proportioned and balances with the rest of the space.
The previous owner was Wes Craven, most famous as the director of the classic horror film series, A Nightmare on Elm Street. Sadly, Craven passed away in August of last year.
Since McQueen’s ownership the Hollywood Hills home has been updated with modern finishes, which lends a more genteel and luxurious feel to the property.
In keeping with the mid-century philosophy, the home incorporates a seamless indoor-outdoor experience that’s magnified by the expansive views toward either horizon. In it’s current incarnation, the outdoor areas also include a swimming pool and koi ponds.
Some sixty years on, the home has aged well. If anything, it’s acquired a more dignified feel as the years have past. But underneath, beats the heart of a true American classic, just like Steve McQueen himself.
Listing courtesy Douglas Elliman and The Altman Brothers.