This mid-century home in Beverly Hills is a real beauty. Built by architect Wayne McAllister in 1957, it is currently owned by Eugenio Lopez Alonso, heir to the Grupo Jumex fortune, who initiated a major redesign, carried out by Marmol Radziner in the 1990s.
Perhaps the centrepiece of the house is the swimming pool, whose curious design really draws you to the back garden. In this way, it is reminiscent of another pool we covered earlier this year, that of Richard Neutra’s Sten Frenke House.
In both cases, the pool is situated on a slightly lower level than the house, requiring you to descend in order to get to it. The effect in both is to create a spectator element, where those at the pool are on show to the onlookers above.
This is no surprise given that, like the Sten-Frenke owners, Lopez is a consummate entertainer. Yet while the pool is among the more obvious signs, the sense of conviviality is evident throughout the rest of the design.
Besides the pool, the extensive art collection is among the more obvious signs that the house is not just for private enjoyment. Lopez is an art collector, becoming a mainstay of LA’s art scene in the mid-1990s, and eventually joining the board of Los Angeles’ Museum of Contemporary Art.
On top of this, the front of the home makes for a very inviting entrance. Carefully crafted landscaping really enhances the impact as you approach, with a large overhanging porch covering what looks like elephant ear plants.
These plants have been left to grow abundantly, adding a sense of wildness that nicely contrasts with the more controlled hardscaping.
Speaking of the entrance, the same door handle is repeated on both sides of the door: delightfully minimal, and really elegant, just a simple stainless-steel rectangle cut in half upon entry.
Minimalism is the main order of business for the rest of the interior. In this regard, there is a nice, simple motif combining cream and with occasional touches of black. You can see black for the dining room chairs, the lamps and the three cushions on the sofa, also in the black shelf beside the bath.
One last thing that really tops off this great design is the sense of connection it makes with the outdoors. We already touched upon this with the pool, but you can see it with elements such as the remarkably exposed bath, with windows allowing you to peer right out into the garden as you bathe.
Also, the natural pond running alongside the pool: man fmade though it may have been, it has gathered enough wild plant life to be both a stark contrast to the fresh blue pool and an ideal complement to the greenery in the surrounding landscape.
Photo by Mark Haddawy