La Dolce Vita

An idyllic hillside sets the stage for the picturesque estate of two film industry vets.

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    Rachel Heller

In a movie, a visitor might drive up to Dawn and Mitch Taubin’s Sherman Oaks home with a suitcase, a sun hat and an Italian-English dictionary, ready for a tranquil Tuscan getaway. In reality, the Taubins’ relationship with their abode isn’t much different. 

“We wanted a home that resembled an old country house in Italy,” Dawn says, gesturing to the wood and stone touches in the family room. “Plus, our location is great—Ventura Boulevard is easily accessible, but you really feel like you’re tucked away somewhere.”

Dawn and Mitch, both film industry veterans and owners of entertainment marketing company Cinema Vision, built their Longridge Estates residence 10 years ago with relaxation in mind. The 8,000-square-foot dwelling features large, airy rooms, ample outdoor living space and lushly landscaped grounds that beckon guests to breathe easy. 

The couple never planned to design their own house. They had been living in Tarzana and hoped to find a more convenient spot in Sherman Oaks, closer to work and their daughters’ school. Yet their two-year search for a Longridge-area listing yielded only an abandoned lot where a partially-built structure languished behind a fence. “When we looked at it, you had to wade through weeds to get in,” Dawn recalls. “It was just sitting here, on beautiful Longridge, for years.”

The Taubins took it as a sign. “We were just happy to find a piece of property,” Mitch says. “At that time, the houses in this area almost never went on the market. You had to really luck out to get anything. So the idea of building a house all of a sudden became attractive.” 

They leveled the half-finished frame and started over, fashioning a resort-like estate suited for frequent entertaining. The spacious foyer, for example, is something of a chameleon. On Thanksgiving, when the Taubins host Dawn’s extended family for a holiday meal, it serves as a banquet hall. “We just move the furniture and set tables—it works really well,” says Dawn, formerly the president of marketing at Warner Bros. Pictures. “We’ve had sit-down dinners for 30 right here in our entry hall.”

Another hot spot for gatherings is the kitchen. As self-described “kitchen people,” Dawn, Mitch and their daughters, Kendall and Lacey, often spend family bonding time whipping up a meal or sitting at the elevated island that overlooks the cooking area. French doors line the room, letting in light and verdant views of the backyard. 

“We wanted this to be an elegant house that was comfortable, so when people come in, they don’t feel like they can’t put their glass down or put their feet up,” Mitch says. 

Decorating the dwelling was a family affair. Dawn shopped for furniture with her mother and employed her sisters to help pick out paint colors. Over the years, either Dawn or Mitch were away on a business trip so frequently that many of their home accessories were agreed upon remotely. “Thank goodness for iPads and iPhones. One of us would find something, and we’d send each other pictures and say, ‘What do you think of this?’” Dawn explains. 

The residence hugs the backyard—the jewel of the property: a sloping green space that sprouts colorful blooms in the spring. Guests can gaze at the yard from nearly every room through large windows or from the generous balconies. 

This may be the Taubins’ dream home, but moving in was far from a dream. The couple sold their previous home, only to learn that the new abode wouldn’t be ready by their early autumn move-in date. “We had to rent our house back from the people who bought it,” Dawn says.

Yet by the time Thanksgiving rolled around, the new owners wanted their digs cleared out. The Taubins put their belongings in storage, boarded the cats and moved with the dogs to an apartment. They finally moved into the home the week before Christmas, but their holiday wasn’t what they had imagined. 

“We had many days with no hot water. It was like camping out,” Dawn says. “But once we got through that, it has all been lovely. I love the privacy here. It’s incredibly peaceful. Our whole family leads very busy lives; it’s nice to come home and go, ‘Ahhh!’”