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Former home of late Williams-Sonoma chief executive hits market

A Holmby Hills estate once owned by W. Howard Lester, the former chairman and chief executive of gourmet cookware retailer Williams-Sonoma, has come on the market for $58.75 million.


The gated residence, accessed by an olive-tree-lined drive, sits in seclusion, surrounded by mature trees, koi ponds and gardens on 1.3 acres of grounds. A Mediterranean-style main house designed by architect Robert Sinclair sits at the heart of the property. A bridge from the main house leads to a two-story guesthouse.




Beyond the arched front entry, the main house features such details as limestone floors, Venetian plaster walls, groin vault ceilings and colonnades inspired by 14th century Italian gothic architecture. A brick barrel ceiling tops the chef’s kitchen, which is anchored by a marble island. A staircase leads down to a wine cellar, a screening room, a billiards room and a lounge trimmed in gold leaf accents.


There are seven bedrooms, including two staff rooms, eight bathrooms and four powder rooms in the main house. The guest house, which holds a gym and sauna, has another bedroom and two bathrooms.




A swimming pool, a spa, a pavilion and a dining patio are among outdoor amenities. A large motor court sits off the front.

Lester, who died in 2010 at 75, bought the San Francisco-based cookware company in 1978 for $100,000. Under his direction from 1978 to 2001, he expanded the company from four retail stores to more than 600 while generating more than $3.4 billion in sales.

The property last changed hands in 2012 when Lester’s estate sold it for $23 million, records show.

Linda May of Hilton & Hyland is the listing agent