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John Lautner x two
by Katy Purviance on 05/04/08 @ 10:01:41 pm
Categories: Architects | 759 words | 8870 views

Today’s LA Times featured two area homes by architect John Lautner. I hadn’t heard of him before.

From the pictures, Lautner’s experience as a Frank Lloyd Wright apprentice was clear. A couple of years ago, I drove from Moscow Idaho to Phoenix Arizona for some kind of organic-sustainability-something-something fest. I enjoyed it, but my tag-along sisters weren’t to keen on it. They drove back to Los Angeles. I bailed too…to Taliesin West for the official tour.

These photographs of Lautner’s work gave me a little flashback to that little 3,000-mile weekend road trip.

Schaffer residence

If homes were music, John Lautner’s designs would be Duke Ellington compositions.

The architect, a onetime Frank Lloyd Wright apprentice, compared the importance of the jazz composer’s use of rests to the significance of the voids in his architecture.

Schaffer residence

Lautner’s 1949 Schaffer Residence, set in a wooded area at the foot of the Verdugo Mountains in Glendale, represents the simple, uncluttered look the architect favored, fusing concrete, wood, glass and hardscapes into a singular vision.

Better known for his Flash Gordon style of architecture, Lautner’s early work here lacks the spaceship-shaped look of his 1960 Chemosphere residence on Mulholland Drive in the Hollywood Hills. That one-story landmark octagon is perched on a single concrete column and reached by funicular.

Schaffer residence

“My house is a mix of complexity and simplicity at the same time,” said David Zander, a commercial film producer and owner of the Schaffer Residence. “It is not James Bond. It’s dynamic but has a very peaceful element to it.”

Schaffer residence

About this home: When Zander first saw the house nearly three years ago, he was struck by the “proportion and scale of every space, by the handmade feel” of the home.

The concrete floors, stained a muted red by the original owners and inset with wood panels, draw the eye – and warm the feet with their radiant heat, a popular amenity among Lautner and his contemporaries.

Schaffer residence

Zander spent months repainting the interior of the house and restoring the cabinets and built-ins to their earlier glory, based on photographs of the original work. Those photos also aided him in re-creating a desk and a side table – crafted from redwood – which may be purchased with the house. Asking price: $1,958,000 Size: The house has two bedrooms and two bathrooms in 1,698 square feet. The property is 11,230 square feet. Features: The house has an open floor plan that flows into an outdoor oak grove; a kitchen with refurbished cabinets, a stainless-steel refrigerator and the original stove, restored; a breakfast area; a den; a two-sided brick fireplace situated between the living room and den; and a covered patio. Where:Glendale Listing agent: Crosby Doe, Mossler & Doe Associates, (310) 275-2222.

Schaffer residence

A SECOND LAUTNER: John Lautner favored the use of earthy materials, such as brick, concrete and wood. The goal was to seamlessly connect a home’s indoors with its outdoor setting. His 1947 Gantvoort Residence atop La Cañada Flintridge represents that sensibility.

La Canada Flintridge house

The home faces east, capturing the morning sun through a glass wall opening onto the patio and garden. The original ocher-colored floors extend outside.

La Canada Flintridge house

The nearly 1-acre property – filled with mature fruit and oak trees – provides views of the local mountain ranges. A stream flows through the property year-round, and the olive-bronze steel roof amplifies the ting-tinging of the rain, bringing nature even closer. A gazebo, koi pond and a Lautner-designed swimming pool complete the outdoors.

La Canada Flintridge house

About this home: Is this a park or a private residence? The winding driveway and woodsy pedestrian entrance to this property – and organic construction materials – make it hard to tell at first. Frequent wildlife visitors and mature landscaping add to the sylvan sensibility.

La Canada Flintridge house

From inside the home, inclined glass walls face a kidney-shaped swimming pool and gardens. The dining area opens onto a covered patio. Wood trim softens the tapered steel trusses that run the length of the house and are a signature Lautner architectural element as are the sweeping, curved, poured-in-place concrete walls, duplicating the arc of the trusses.

La Canada Flintridge house

Asking price: $2.2 million Size: The house has three bedrooms and two bathrooms in 1,801 square feet. The lot is 39,680 square feet. Features: The home has a curved wall of windows surrounding built-in seating in the living room; a floor-to-ceiling fireplace; stainless-steel countertops and original exotic-wood walls, cabinetry and trim in the kitchen; a den; remodeled bathrooms; radiant heat; central air conditioning; and a new irrigation system. Where:3778 Hampstead Road, La Cañada Flintridge Listing agent: Sam Buchanan, B&B Properties, (818) 790-4040. Open house today from noon to 6 p.m.

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