This home exudes mid-century class. Located in the Hollywood Hills, it was built by John Lautner in 1956. A protégé of Frank Lloyd Wright, in the mid-1930s.
True to the location in which he worked, Lautner’s often quite peculiar, geometric Googie-style designs are noted for being a favourite of the Hollywood film industry.
Among the more standout cameos are those of his Sheats Goldstein Residence, featured in The Big Lebowski (1998) as the home of pornographer Jackie Treehorn, and the restaurant Jack Rabbit Slim’s, which hosted the famous dance scene in Pulp Fiction (1994), not to mention the The Simpson’s parody of Lautner’s Chemosphere as character Troy McClure’s bachelor pad.
As with these more famous designs, there is a distinctly geometric feel to the Lautner Harpel House. This is something which owes a lot to the structure of the mid-century modern house itself, with a roof held up by a series of interconnecting beams, arranged in a pattern of equilateral triangles.
When brought together, most notably in the central outdoor space where the roof is momentarily absent, these triangles make up a delightful hexagonal structure.
Starting from this basis, triangles arise in much of the rest of the structure. You can see them in the steps extending from the inside to the outdoor pool, in subtle elements such as the small wooden-grill light fixtures dotted around the house, and even in the shadows cast from the windows.
With Lautner’s design, you can see the same attention to detail as some of the best Frank Lloyd Wright houses. This is probably most obviously demonstrated in the high-quality material occurring throughout, and particularly the built-in wooden cabinetry.
Such cabinetry looks as good as new, and you’d be forgiven for thinking it is. Yet this is all thanks to the home’s recent restoration by Resurrection Vintage co-founder and design restorer Mark Haddawy.
Haddawy purchased the house in 2006. Judging by the main adjustments he made, the restoration was first and foremost aimed at returning the house to its original glory. Namely, he initiated the removal of a second storey which had been added later, decidedly against Lautner’s original vision.
We recently covered another house restored by Haddawy, also in Los Angeles, in Benedict Canyon. In both cases, Haddawy has really captured the essential brilliance of a mid-century home. Let’s hope he keeps up the fantastic work!
Photo by Mark Haddawy