Robert and Krystal Rivani posed side by side in medieval garb, she in a gold-trimmed cape and tiara-style headband, he in black fur, armored gloves and a gold crown. Carrying long, ornate swords, they looked stern.
The resulting oil painting would hang in the Great Hall of his elaborate California home, Castle Rivani.
The couple, both 32, have spent several years and approximately $4 million turning their Beverly Hills castle-style home into a novelty-filled paradise that reflects their love of fantasy and magic. The living room contains a replica of the spiked Iron Throne from HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” The bar has a “Harry Potter”-themed apothecary cabinet, and the back patio is inspired by “Alice in Wonderland.” There is also a jungle room with walls covered in fake vegetation.
“Being ‘extra’ means everything to us,” said Ms. Rivani. “It makes life fun, interesting and memorable.”
Mr. Rivani, a real estate and hospitality investor, grew up in the Westwood area of Los Angeles. He was a “Harry Potter” fan when he was a kid, he said, and loved escaping into the fantasy world of witchcraft and wizardry, spending hours in line to get movie tickets when they came out. He met his future wife at a nightclub in Hollywood when they were both in their early 20s, and Ms. Rivani also took an early interest in Harry Potter, saying she found images of her inspiring her for parties and events. The pair developed a similar crush on “Game of Thrones.”
The two married in 2018 and bought their Beverly Hills home in December 2019 for $13.77 million. The approximately 15,000-square-foot, seven-bedroom home, which sits on 1.7 acres, had been owned by businessman David Gebbia and his ex-wife, Carlton Gebbia of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.” Built by Gebbia’s construction company and completed around 2014, the house was originally designed to blend Gebbia’s Gothic tastes with her husband’s penchant for Italian romanticism, Gebbia said. It has a decorative stone facade with intricate carvings and arched windows in the style of a church.
A devout Wicca, Mrs. Gebbia filled the house with carvings of crosses, wooden gargoyles, an altar, and a confessional. After Gebbias split, the house went up for sale and the interior was stripped of some of its more unusual decorations to help attract a broader group of buyers, Gebbia said. However, the property, which was initially listed for $22 million in 2018, remained on the market for almost two years and underwent several price cuts before being sold to the Rivanis.
“It was definitely a one-off sale,” said Josh Altman of Douglas Elliman, one of the listing agents. “But, as we always say in real estate, it only takes one buyer.”
The Rivanis loved the gothic aesthetic of the house. “I always joke that if you like living in a glass box, you’re boring,” said Mr Rivani. “It was so unique to see this style of house in Los Angeles. It’s more like a castle in Scotland or London.”
Rivani, a college dropout, started rolling out high-end sneakers in his teens. In his early twenties, he was investing in small real estate deals in markets like Dallas and Atlanta, starting with neighborhood malls and eventually shifting profits to larger “power centers” anchored in supermarkets. , said. In recent years, he has begun to invest in hospitality, buying up disused restaurant space, devising a gastronomic concept and courting restaurateurs. His company, Black Lion Investment Group, recently acquired upscale restaurant space in the One Thousand Museum condominium building in Miami and has plans to bring a Michelin-starred restaurant there, he said. His company also owns the space that houses the famous Gekko steakhouse in Miami. Ms. Rivani, who attended California Polytechnic State University, is a registered dietitian but does not practice, although she said she loves nutrition and tries out new health trends with Mr. Rivani, calling him “patient zero.” The Rivanis have no children, but said they plan to start a family soon.
As the Covid-19 crisis took hold, the couple had more time to equip the house. Stuck at home, they spent endless hours scouring Etsy and auction websites for design ideas. It was a challenge finding furniture to fit their style in Los Angeles, they said, so most of it came from abroad.
The home’s main entertaining space, which the Rivanis refer to as the Great Room, has approximately 35-foot-high triple-vaulted ceilings and Juliet balconies. It would have looked strange to have a traditional sofa in such a large room, Rivani said. “Putting a 4-foot-tall couch in that room just didn’t make sense,” he said.
Instead, they commissioned a $50,000 replica of the Iron Throne from “Game of Thrones.” Unable to find the one they wanted locally, they worked with a craftsman in Siberia, then paid around $15,000 to have the 500-pound throne air-shipped to the US. When it finally arrived in 2021, they realized their Measurements were a bit off: The throne was too deep and took up half the living room. They cut it in half and then mounted one side to the wall under a dragon gargoyle. About 30 people were required to attach it to the wall using boom lifts, the Rivanis said. Most of the contractors turned down the job.
For the living room, which they call the Jungle Room, the couple purchased a roughly 25-foot-long, $150,000 chandelier from Dubai made up of 300 glass pieces that resemble butterflies, Rivani said. Inspired by butterflies, they covered the walls with fake greenery and flowers, which were painstakingly installed one by one over the course of several weeks. For the center of the room, they commissioned a custom brown velvet U-shaped sofa at a cost of nearly $20,000.
In the bar, which already had elaborate wood coffered ceilings, the Rivanis installed a textured burgundy and black wallpaper called Dragon Skin. They added a couple of animal bone chairs they bought at a Santa Monica antique store and heavy red velvet drapes adorned with a lion’s crest. Ms. Rivani found a 17th-century French cabinet online, which she filled with novelty potions based on the “Harry Potter” movies. She spent days during lockdown mixing the colorful concoctions herself, labeling them with names like “Polyjuice” and placing fake eyeballs in jars.
In the dining room, the Rivanis installed crown-shaped chandeliers. The 15-foot-long dining room table has tall, slim-backed chairs. For the master bedroom, they paid about $45,000 for an approximately 250-year-old Austrian church altar to serve as the headboard.
In keeping with their mantra of overdoing it, the couple tried to give their guests an experience they would remember in the bathroom: They hung a dragon-shaped gargoyle on the wall opposite the toilet, often surprising unsuspecting guests. .
“I call it the ‘bathroom to scare everyone and your mom,’” Rivani said. Some particularly drunk guests have screamed when they looked at it.
For the most part, the couple agreed on the aesthetic of the home, though Rivani said her husband’s style is a bit darker and more gothic than hers. They bumped into a pair of chairs in the Great Hall that feature an assortment of skulls, with horns on the armrests and headrests. Ms. Rivani was not a fan, although she said she has begun to notice. They also fought for a pair of approximately 15-foot-tall warrior statues made from recycled motorcycle parts for the front of the house. Mr. Rivani had seen a similar pair at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas and decided he must have them. Ms. Rivani thinks they are a bit too much.
“The sculptures almost caused our marriage to fall apart,” Rivani said with a smile.
As a concession, Rivani said he gave Mrs. Rivani full control over the outdoor garden, which she renovated with an “Alice in Wonderland” theme. The grounds were redone in a harlequin pattern, with colorful flowers interspersed with cobblestones. She also added a vegetable garden and a life-size chess set, though neither Rivani knows how to play chess.
It should come as no surprise that the Rivanis love to throw costume parties. Last year they dressed up as a witch and wizard to throw a Harry Potter-themed Thanksgiving party, transforming the Great Hall to look like the dining hall of Hogwarts, the series’ fictional wizarding school. Guests sipped on goblets of butterbeer and took photos with actors posing as Voldemort and Dumbledore.
Mr. Rivani said he has often been warned by Mr. Altman that the specificity of the couple’s design choices could affect the home’s resale value, especially since the previous owners had to neutralize the décor and make various cutbacks. of prices. But Rivani said he just doesn’t care and wants his house to reflect his tastes. He also said that he feels confident that they will be able to find a buyer when the time comes.
“Isn’t there always that crazy, dysfunctional person like me who would overpay for something? Yes,” she said. “I’ll have to find that person.”
In the short term, the Rivanis plan to rent the mansion while they move to Miami, where many of Rivani’s business interests are now located. They have put their Beverly Hills home up for sale for $150,000 a month.
Still, the Rivanis said they have no intention of selling anytime soon. In any case, Mr. Rivani said that he would like to be able to physically move the house to Miami.
“I always tell Krystal that I want her to bury me in this house,” he said.
Ms. Rivani said that she would agree to that plan.