Monday, December 17, 2007
1923 – Frank Lloyd Wright
8161 Hollywood Boulevard – map
Many folks who don’t know too much about the work of Frank Lloyd Wright know the master’s flat-roofed homes tend to leak. When rainwater began to drip into Westhope – the Tulsa home Wright designed for his cousin, Richard Lloyd Jones – Jones’s wife was to have said, “Well, that’s what we get for leaving a work of art out in the rain.”
Perfect, then, that the day I visited Wright’s Storer House in Hollywood, there was a roofer on hand doing some repair work (see the above shot).
One of five Wright houses in Los Angeles, the home was built for Dr John B. Storer, a surgeon from Wisconsin who turned to real estate after failing the California medical examination. The home is a re-imagining of a design Wright came up with for an Eagle Rock residence for Charles P. Lowes (it wasn’t built).
The Storer House is located in the old Cielo Vista tract, subdivided in 1922. Construction began in late 1923 on the Mayanesque block house (there are four different patterns to the textile blocks, unique among Wright’s houses). There were the natural money issues during construction, and it was Frank’s son, Lloyd Wright, who supervised the building and who was the landscape artist. At one point during construction, the elder Wright responded to Lloyd regarding the home that “I think what you say probably true as to its lacking joy.” Later, Frank told Lloyd that the Storer House was “a tradgedy [sic], from my standpoint.”
Storer didn’t stick around long. He sold the home in 1927, dying six years later. Rudolf Schindler’s wife, Pauline, rented the house for a bit, and the home’s fifth owners, Charles and Helen Druffel, were living here by 1935. For the Drufffels, Wright made some alterations to the house to block out the homes on the hillside towering above theirs.
Although it was designed with five bedrooms and three bathrooms, the highlight is the two-story living room opening onto terraces in both the front and the back of the house.
Partially restored in the 1970s by Lloyd Wright, the Storer House was the beneficiary of a full-blown, multi-million dollar rehabilitation in the mid-1980s thanks to movie producer and, um, ultimate Frisbee-creator, Joel Silver. He’s since sold the home to another private owner.
Wanna see the inside of the Storer House in person? A month from now, January 18, 2008, the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy is hosting a sit-down dinner benefit at the 85-year-old landmark. The cost is a cool $1,500. Go here for details.
Meryle Secrest. Frank Lloyd Wright. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. 1992 New York City
Robert L. Sweeney. Wright in Hollywood. Architectural Foundation and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology 1994
Up next: 1620 Pleasant Avenue Residence