Medline’s Jim Abrams Buys Matthew Leizer-Designed Midcentury ModernVariety — James McClain
Last year, Chicago-based healthcare manufacturing power couple Jim and Wendy Abrams paid $9.3 million for a painstakingly restored midcentury modern home in Beverly Hills. The sunny Rex Lotery-designed structure, the so-called Kritzer House, lies in the Coldwater Canyon area of town and includes soaring walls of glass, skylights and dozens of clerestory windows.
The Abrams apparently like their new 90210 digs so much that they’ve dropped another $7 million to acquire the house next door, another midcentury time capsule built in 1961 and designed by the arguably underrated architect Matthew Leizer. The house was long owned by an elderly widow who died in 2019 and purchased the property with her TV producer husband almost exactly 50 years ago — for an unfathomable $175,000.
Like its Kritzer House neighbor, the Leizer house is set high above the road, at the end of a steep, long driveway bordered on either side by an ivy garden. The flat-roofed house has a teal-handled double door entryway that opens into a skylit foyer, which is bisected by two atriums. Immediately to the left is the wood-paneled den, equipped with a fireplace and bar, which opens at one end to the outdoor swimming pool and poolside courtyard; at the other end, the room opens to a monolithic central courtyard topped by massive skylights.
To the right of the front doors lie two gravel-covered “zen gardens” bisected by the dining room, while a carpeted colonnade runs from the front entrance between the dining room/zen gardens and the skylight-covered central courtyard.
But perhaps the home’s wildest room, at least in terms of color, is the dated kitchen and adjoining breakfast area, which are outfitted with zany wallpaper that’s a bit too “Golden Girls” to be currently en vogue. Behind the kitchen lies one of the home’s three bedrooms, currently done up as a combo library/office with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and florescent orange wall-to-wall carpeting.
The other two bedrooms are located on the far side of the house, one of them previously occupied by a live-in maid and the other by the mistress of the property. The sizable master suite opens to the central courtyard and also features dual dressing areas bisected by a terrazzo-slathered bathtub and shower combo.
Outdoors, the nearly half-acre property’s backyard isn’t as big as one might expect, though it includes a sizable swimming pool surrounded by a brick terrace and rock garden. Towering pine trees surround the property, giving the yard a Colorado vibe despite the prime L.A. location.
Thanks to their association with the manufacturing and distribution juggernaut known as Medline, the Abramses have quietly become two of the most powerful people in the healthcare industry. As COO of Medline Industries’ multibillion-dollar international operation, which provides hospitals, physician offices and other healthcare outlets with critical care products, Jim Abrams presides over 23,000 employees worldwide. Wendy Abrams, for her part, is a member of the billionaire Mills clan, the family who founded Medline, and the sister of current CEO Charlie Mills. She’s also a noted philanthropist and top donor to a wide array of Democratic candidates and causes.
The Abrams’ new $16.3 million, two-property Beverly Hills compound now includes more than 9,000 square feet of midcentury living space, but it still pales in size comparison to their main residence back in the leafy suburbs of Chicago. Back in 2007, the couple paid $17.6 million for a 17.5-acre lakefront estate in Highland Park, one of the biggest residential deals ever inked in the Chicago area.
Launch Gallery: Inside Jim and Wendy Abrams' Midcentury Time Capsule