Archive for the ‘Architectural Landmarks’ Category
Update: The votes are in! John Lautner’s Foster Carling house in the Hollywood Hills was crowned Best Home Of 2012. It received 19% of the votes (followed by The Skinner House, 920 N Foothill and the Hailey Residence all tied for second).
My vote was for The Skinner House, but the Foster Carling House was a close second. It’s a beautiful house and everyone seems to love all things Lautner. Thanks for voting and happy new year!
Check out all the top homes of 2012, after the break.
Update: The votes are in! The Norton House in Pasadena was crowned Best Home Of 2011. This Buff & Hensman beauty received 23% of the votes (followed by 3705 Alzada and 1160 Chateau in a tie for second).
My vote was for 1160 Chateau, but the Norton House was a close second. It’s such a great house and I’m not surprised it won. Thanks for voting!
Check out all the top homes of 2011, after the break.
9439 Sunset Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
6 BR, 5.5 BA
Update 8/3/2011: It was determined last night that the preservation community would work to find a buyer for the house over the “60 day cooling period,” which starts today. After that, the owners can apply for a Demolition Permit and get it, and then tear the house down 10 days later. Hopefully, blogs like your own will help find a preservation minded buyer!
Chair, Modern Committee, Los Angeles Conservancy
The Kronish House was built in 1955 by legendary architect Richard Neutra. It is one of only three Neutra designs built in Beverly Hills and is the only home that remains intact–one was demolished, the other completely altered.
The residence was sold in a foreclosure auction in January for $5.8 million and put back on the market in April. A new buyer is now trying to demolish the home. The City of Beverly Hills has no protection for its historic structures, so there is no way to stop the demolition other than finding a preservation-minded buyer or through action by the City Council.
The Los Angeles Conservancy is working to save the Kronish House. For more information on the Conservancy’s position and what you can do to help, go here. Tonight, August 2, is the Beverly Hills City Council Meeting, so please attend, if possible! The meeting starts at 7:00 pm in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 455 N. Rexford Drive, Beverly Hills. The Kronish House is the fifth item on the agenda. (You can find the agenda here.) Parking is available in the garage across the street.
You can also use Twitter to let Beverly Hills mayor Barry Brucker know you want the Kronish House saved – @BarryBrucker.
More info and photos of 9439 Sunset Blvd.
820 Burleigh Drive
Pasadena, CA 91105
3 BR, 2 BA
When writing this post, I considered playing it cool, but I’m going to just come out and say it. I’m in love with this house! The Norton House, designed by Buff & Hensman in 1954, is my dream house.
Rob and I have been emailing each other all afternoon like lovestruck teenagers, head over heels for this stunning 1,881 square foot, mid century, post-and-beam. Just look at that open floor plan! The cork flooring! The floor to ceiling walls of glass!
And, oh yeah. There’s a stream running through the property, too. … Sigh.
Don’t mind me. I’ll be over here doodling hearts and signing my name “Valerie Buff-Hensman” in my spiral notebook. Lots more photos of The Norton House, after the break.
If you live in Silver Lake or just take walks around the Reservoir, you’ve probably noticed the huge gray house overlooking the Reservoir. It doesn’t exactly blend in with the rest of the architecture and it’s kind of… ominous looking. On my runs and walks, I’ve often wondered about this house. The other day Rob mentioned that it was the Garbutt House, owned by Dov Charney, the infamous founder of American Apparel. Who, in case you don’t know, is having kind of a rough week, month, year, life.
The Garbutt House actually has a very interesting history. It’s one of Silver Lake’s largest estates at 11,743 square feet of interior space, 3-stories tall with 20 rooms. It was built by Frank A. Garbutt, a movie pioneer, inventor, industrialist, and “one of the most prominent citizens of Los Angeles in the late 19th and early 20th Century” according to the Los Angeles Times. In 1923, Garbutt acquired the 37-acre hilltop site overlooking the Silver Lake Reservoir with views of the Pacific Ocean, the Santa Monica and Verdugo Mountains, and the downtown skyline. He built three houses on the site, which came to be known as the Garbutt-Hathaway Estate. (Garbutt’s son-in-law was Charles F. Hathaway, a shipbuilder and real estate developer.) The structures were built primarily of concrete, and were designed to withstand earthquakes, floods, and fire, which Garbutt was particularly afraid of. (There were also no fireplaces in the home.) He did allow some design touches, however. There were bronze window frames, hand carved teak and marble floors, and the first floor was entirely travertine.
Garbutt lived in the mansion until his death in 1947. In his spare time, he experimented with new inventions, built race cars, (his homemade car appears in the photograph above), invented a soapless detergent, and worked on a superior chewing gum.
Garbutt’s three children and their families lived on the estate after his death in 1947. The estate was eventually sold by his daughter in 1960. According to the LATs, The houses sat dormant for several years as owners battled with the city and preservationists over plans to raze the three houses and build condominiums or a large housing development on the site. In 1978, two of the houses were torn down to make room for a 100-home development, but the Garbutt House was spared. In 1987, the Garbutt House was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It’s now part of the gated community Hathaway Hill Estates, and it most recently sold in 2004 for $3,250,000.
One of the best parts about living in Silver Lake is that you’re surrounded by amazing examples of architecture while you’re just out walking the dog. One of my favorite homes is just a few streets up from us–the incredible Lipetz House. It was Raphael Soriano’s first residential commission in 1936. The home features a streamline moderne style with a large 15′ by 32′ semicircle all-glass room that was designed to be a music room for the original owner’s Grand piano. The home was photographed by Julius Shulman, which he talked about in his autobiography:
At the location I met Soriano, sitting on the newly carpeted living room floor eating lunch. I shared a sandwich with him, and described my meeting with Neutra, which surprised him. Neutra, he stated, was a tyrant with photographers. That utterance was followed by him asking, “Would you photograph this house when it is completed?” Not only did I photograph the house several months later, but subsequently its publication in this country and abroad served to showcase Soriano’s design and my talents.
The Lipetz House sold in 2007 (after being owned for 70 years by a previously owner) to its new owners Bill and Annie Macomber who quickly got to work renovating the home.
After tweeting about my love for Lipetz House, Bill tweeted me back and wound up inviting me over to take a look at his place and agreeing to do an interview about his home and the renovation process.
Take Sunset: What originally drew you to this home?
Bill Macomber: We were in the market for something that we connected with. The living room is amazing, and we immediately felt that we could rehabilitate the house to be a great place to raise a family.
TS: What condition was the home in when you acquired it?
Macomber: It was a granny house–lived in for many years without any improvements. But the roof was good and the former owners had taken good care of it. The original architecture had been compromised, mainly in the ’50s. A shower was added and a breakfast nook was added as well. The original garage was removed and a carport replaced it. The house was originally a party house–not one that was fit to raise two boys. So the incremental changed made sense seen through that lens. But to us, we wanted to start over and go back to Soriano’s original design as much as possible. Interestingly, the original 1936 construction faired very well, while the construction in the ’50′s needed to be completely replaced. It really speaks to the shift in building philosophy that occurred during the war.
Check out the rest of our interview and more pictures of the Lipetz House, after the break!
1150 Brooklawn Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90077
4 BR, 6 BA
The Luis Barragán Fountain home is back on the market for $5.45 million. The home was first listed in 2008 for $9.95 million and then had a number of price drops before it was leased in 2009. Originally built in 1927, the home underwent a complete remodel in 2008 by architect Tim Campbell. (Curbed has an interview with Campbell about the renovation.)
Located in the Holmby Hills section of Bel Air, the 5,500 square foot home features spectacular walls of glass, ultra high-end finishes, an open kitchen, formal dining room, spacious living room, and a separate media room with a bar. The floor to ceiling glass walls open to the famed Luis Barragán-designed pool and fountain.
The fountain, officially named Campbell Divertimento Fountain is Historic-Cultural Monument No. 637, thanks to a 1997 ruling by L.A.’s Cultural Heritage Commission. The commission states the fountain is “a signature project of Barragán, an architect of international fame and an architect of great importance to contemporary Mexican culture.”
My parents and uncle have been in LA for the last few days, and while driving between Los Feliz and Silver Lake, my uncle asked me about the Shakespeare Bridge. I realized that I was kind of murky on the details. I didn’t even know why it was called the Shakespeare Bridge. So here’s the deal in case you also don’t have your facts straight on bridge that connects Franklin Ave. to St. George Street. Although, as it turns out there is some mystery involved…
There’s one bit of confusion over whether or not the bridge was filmed in The Wizard of Oz. Apparently, this is unsubstantiated. So while that film credit is just a cool rumor, the Shakespeare Bridge was in the 1991 film Dead Again and has surely been in many other films.
The Shakespeare Bridge was built in 1926 by J.C. Wright and is 30-feet wide and 230-feet long. It was declared an Historic-Cultural Monument in the City of Los Angeles (No. 126) in 1974. Writes Big Orange Landmarks:
It features Gothic arches and, at either end, two pair of what Gebhard and Winter, in “Los Angeles: An Architectural Guide,” call “aedicules.”
The bridge took a major hit in the 1992 Northridge earthquake and underwent a $1.5 million seismic retrofiting by TM Engineering. The bridge reopened in 1998.
As for why it’s called the Shakespeare Bridge, that seems to be a mystery. It was originally known as the Franklin Avenue Bridge, but the name changed at some point, with most information pointing to a neighborhood council-type decision.
If you want to check out the Shakespeare Bridge, here’s a map. And if you have any additional information on the bridge, please let me know in the comments!
645 Prospect Crescent
Pasadena, CA 91103
4 BR, 4 BA
The Millard House, or “La Miniatura”, was recognized by Frank Lloyd Wright as his earliest Usonian house and was the first of Wright’s residences to utilize his textile block building system. Built in 1924, the Millard House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.
The home includes a detached studio, 4 bedrooms, 4 baths, 2 kitchens, living room, formal dining room, and semi-attached garages. Following a multi-year restoration, the 4,230 square foot home is now back on the market.
5121 Franklin Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90027
7 BR, 4 BA
The Sowden House in Los Feliz was built in 1927 by Frank Lloyd Wright Jr., and is regarded as one of Lloyd Wright’s best and most important works. The home is also know as the “Jaws House” due to its ornamental concrete block facade, which resembles the mouth of a shark. The textile-block construction was a continuation of Frank Lloyd Wright’s textile block work of the early 1920s.
The 5,600 square foot residence underwent meticulous restorations in 2002 and 2009 by Xorin Balbes of TempleHome, which enhanced the home’s livability with modern amenities and functionality.