Saturday, February 12, 2011

Cedars Estate, Xorin Balbes, Sue Wong & Zoltan Papp, Restoration 2003-2004

Originally built in 1926, The 'Cedars' is one of the most storied old Hollywood glamour estates, originally built for film director Marcel Tourneur, and reputed to be the home of silent screen star Norma Talmadge, although never proven. In an interview published in 'Antiques & Fine Art' by Lynn Morgan, Sue Wong, an avid student of history and art claims ' Errol Flynn practiced his 'wicked, wicked ways here; Marilyn Monroe was a frequent guest. Howard Hughes played the grand piano in the solarium, and Johnny Depp lived here to do research for his role in Ed Wood because Bela Lugosi had lived here. The wrap party for Easy Rider was held here; Dennis Hopper shot some scenes for the movie here. It was also a big rock 'n' roll party pad. Arthur Lee of the band 'Love' lived here for a while.'
It is said that the home is a replica of a 17th Century Florentine villa owned by the Duke of Alba. It was last sold in August 2004, setting a record price of $5.3M for the Los Feliz area.

Schrage House, Raphael Soriano, Architect, 1951

Schrage House, Raphael Soriano, Architect, 1951
Along with his contemporaries, Gregory Ain, John Lautner, Charles & Ray Eames and Harwell Hamilton Harris amongst others, Raphael Soriano was in important contributor to the 'Second Generation' of California Modernists. Having worked with both Richard Neutra and Rudolf Schindler, Soriano provides a link between the two. Both Craig Ellwood and Pierre Koenig worked for Soriano, and Frank Gehry claims to have been strongly influenced by his work. His first residential commission was the Lipetz House in Silver Lake in 1936, which created a sensation at the 1937 International Exhibition in Paris, winning the prestigious Prix de Rome and establishing his reputation.

Taggart House, Lloyd Wright, Architect 1922 (Eric Lloyd Wright, Remodel 2006)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sowden House, Lloyd Wright, Architect

Visiting Sowden House in Los Feliz is an enchanting experience. As a volunteer-docent for the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy 2005 Home Tour, I was invited to attend a 'Volunteer Appreciation Event' at this fabulous home by the Conservancy's 2005 Conference Co-Chairs, Scott Crawford (of Silver Lake), Deborah Vick, and Larry Woodin.

Designed by Lloyd Wright, the son of Frank Lloyd Wright in 1926-27, the Sowden House has been re-imagined by Designer Xorin Balbes (Temple Home) whose firm specialized in the restoration of old historic homes. The home has the look of an ancient temple which one may have just stumbled upon on a foray into a jungle. Temple Home's transformation is nothing short of magical, bringing a sensual vitality to this long-neglected landmark.

Judge Isaac Pacht House, S. Charles Lee, Architect 1927

Designed by famed theatre architect S. Charles Lee for Superior Court Judge Isaac Pacht. Pacht lost the house during the Great Depression. , Architect S. Charles Lee moved to Los Angeles in 1922. During his long career, Lee designed over 400 theaters throughout California and Mexico The Los Angeles Theater (1931) is considered his finest work. Other works by Lee include the Hollywood Melrose Hotel (1927); Tower Theater (1927); Los Angeles; Hollywood & Western Building (1931); Max Factor Building (1935) and the Bruin Theater in Westwood (1937).

The Judge Isaac Pacht House is located at 5057 Los Feliz Boulevard.

Mark Hall House, Mark Hall Architect 1981

Designed by the architect for his family, the exterior walls are formed from 'energy-efficient corrugated concrete asbestos', probably in retrospect not the ideal material. Architect Mark Hall served as president of the Los Angeles chapter, American Institute of Architects in 1985, and is also Past President of the Los Angeles Conservancy.. Hall is co-founder and principal of Archiplan, a Los Angeles-based planning and architectural firm.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Johnstone House, William Kesling, Designer 1935

One of Kesling's earliest commissions and one of his best. The home was built right after the success of his 'Model Home' in Silver Lake, which established the young architect-builder as a force in the Modernist Movement. It must have appeared on the outer edge of the avante-garde in the affluent Los Feliz of the time, when elegant homes of Spanish, Mediterranean and English Tudor design were most preferred. Resistance to this new 'machine' architecture was high; it took the speculators almost two years to sell the house after its completion.