The Art of Living

If one were to picture an estate fit for angels, then likely they would conjure up images of a lavish Italian palazzo on lush grounds filled to the brim with fantastic works of art and finished with the utmost attention to detail. There is no room for doubt that it would take an artist’s eye for beauty and the dedication of someone who can tame the wildest stallion to create such a masterpiece. And in Studio City, that is just what Italian artist Giorgio Tuscani and noted horse trainer Danny Gerardi created—an estate that is fit for angels, inspired by angels themselves.

But don’t think that creating this celebrated villa was an easy process. Gerardi and Tuscani spent more than a year searching for the perfect home between Beverly Hills and Studio City. It was a long and arduous task, but the partners wanted something that spoke to them. And then, with the help of realtor to the stars Moe Abourched, founder of MSM Luxury Estates and a star in his own right, they found it in the Fryman Estates neighborhood of Studio City.

The estate, which was under construction and awaiting a buyer, called to Gerardi and Tuscani from the road. “It has amazing street presence,” explains Gerardi. “I loved the exterior design, and how it sat up on a hill. When we went inside, we loved the floor plan. I knew the minute I saw it that I wanted to buy it.” They contacted Abourched and put in an offer the following morning.

Being that the home was under construction, Gerardi and Tuscani had the opportunity to do more than simply pick out some decorations to adorn a finished product; they had a hand in the creation of their dream home. “The house had been drywalled, some of it had been painted,” explains Gerardi. “We redid everything. We knocked the ceilings out, changed hallways and closets, created big niches for artwork, and went from there.”

The result is an artistic rendition of a palace for angels, which is why the estate is called The Angel Estate, Palazzo Di Sogni, meaning “The Palace of Dreams.” Not only is it the home to Tuscani’s art studio, where he creates his stunning drawings, paintings, and mixed media works that often depict angels, he and Gerardi took the time to make the home itself a work of Italian art in the most literal sense.

The inspiration for the design was the 14th-century Medici Castle in Florence. “When we were in Italy, I fell in love with that home,” explains Gerardi. “So we had ceilings made inspired by the designs in the castle, which you will see in the dining room, kitchen, media room, billiard room, and living room.” To do so, they brought in an expert Italian designer, who, with his team, spent an entire two weeks installing the intricate ceiling, which Tuscani then hand-painted, sometimes incorporating angels into the design. The attention to detail does not stop there; throughout the home, one will find hand-painted frescoes and ceilings with glorious traits. In total, Tuscani spent more than a year lovingly creating this masterpiece, applying plaster by hand—sometimes up to five coats then sanding each layer and burnishing it—to the various rooms.

The pair then outfitted the home with art-inspired imported elements found during excursions across the country and around the globe, including stunning chandeliers (with one coming from a Paris opera house), 16th-century sconces, and an original fireplace from Notre Dame Cathedral. The drapes and bedding materials are the only aspect that their dear friend Lauren Elia of Elia Design Group helped them perfect. “Everything else we did ourselves,” explains Gerardi. “Most of the materials are from Italy, as is the furniture. Even the newer handmade furniture came from Italy.”

The result is a home that goes beyond your traditional trophy property; it is a stunning manifestation of the duo’s love of art and Italian design, and the art community and art lovers alike took notice. In 2008, the estate served as a home for showcasing of Elizabeth Shatner and Giorgio Tuscani’s art called Heart and Soul. (Elizabeth is the wife of actor William Shatner.) Mr. Shatner and Gerardi have been friends for more than 22 years, and Gerardi has trained all of the. Shatners’ horses here in southern California. Prior to this showcase, Tuscani had focused on privately commissioned works, and this event was one of his largest and most successful art shows. “We had more than 350 people attend, and 100 percent of the paintings sold,” he says. “The house was the perfect backdrop for my artwork, because everything was in place. For example, the artwork I created was over the fireplace, or in the bedroom or living room, so the buyer didn’t have to envision how the painting would look in his or her own home. I had deleted that process for them.”

With such a passion for the estate that they so diligently crafted, it seems surprising that they would be willing to part with it, but Tuscani equates it to selling one of his paintings. “We love this house. It’s a gift, and it’s time to let somebody else share in this dream that we have created….I have a hard time letting go of my artwork, but I know someone who does buy it will love it as much if not more than we do. That’s how we let go of our prized possession. It’s never really ours to have, it’s ours to share.”