Where Howard Hughes Was Underfoot

Built in 1926 for a wealthy socialite by the architect Roland Coate, the house was first rented and later bought by Mr. Hughes, who was drawn in part by the Wilshire Country Club’s golf course (its manicured fairways run right past the backyard).

The decade or so that Mr. Hughes lived here was a pivotal time: He produced the films “Hell’s Angels” and “Scarface,” set a transcontinental airspeed record and romanced Katharine Hepburn.

As much as Mr. Shah, 47, a former movie producer turned restaurateur, was intrigued by the Hollywood lore, he and his wife had a more prosaic attraction to the house: with three children and another on the way, they needed space.

The couple were living in Beverly Hills when Ms. Shah, now 35, remembered an acquaintance telling them that his house was too big for him and he was considering a move. “So I emailed saying, ‘Would you sell me said house?’ ” she recalled. “I hadn’t even seen it. It just all came together in my head.”

It came together on paper, too. In 2011, the couple paid $6.3 million for the roughly 9,000-square-foot house and embarked on an extensive renovation that included a small addition and cost around $300 a square foot.

The chief problem, as they saw it, was the outdated, chopped-up floor plan, with old-fashioned servants’ quarters that were removed from the main living spaces. “We couldn’t be an entire half-acre away from our children,” Ms. Shah said. “And we entertain a lot, so we wanted to make the common spaces a little more open. We just modernized it and tried to make it a little brighter.”

When it came to furnishing the rooms, they also favored their own eclectic tastes rather than trying to conform to the historic style. The couple transformed a pool room into a ’70s-style plywood rec room and redid Mr. Hughes’s former wood-paneled study in striking black lacquer. “We’re fun people,” Ms. Shah said. “That sort of old…

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