This Beverly Hills Platform House is Full of Charm

DeSilver House - John Black Lee - New Canaan - exterior front

This space-age house above Coldwater Canyon, Beverly Hills, slowly reveals its charm like a flower in bloom.

Starting with a relatively modest entrance, with garage, parking space, simple facade, and simple flat roof all revealing very little of what might lies behind, the design opens out into a deeply impressive interior, where the visitor is treated to a gradual realisation that the house is (seemingly perilously) perched on a sheer cliff edge.

William Beckett - mid-century Platform House Beverly HillsWilliam Beckett - mid-century Platform House Beverly Hills - entrance

Yet they need not fear, because this is one of the famed “Platform Houses”. These houses owe a great deal to the precedent set by master modernist architect Richard Neutra, who set the mold for gravity defying houses with his Lovell Health House, where he employed his experience working on skyscrapers in Chicago to suspend said house on the side  of a cliff overlooking LA.

This one was specifically derived from a plan Neutra laid out for the developers Stone/Fisher, it was one of a handful of homes built in 1961 by the great mid-century architect William S. Beckett, whose principal aim with this particular project was to prove that hillside home sites could still offer residents a spectacular city and canyon view without being severely graded.

William Beckett - mid-century Platform House Beverly Hills - dining areaWilliam Beckett - mid-century Platform House Beverly Hills - living room

Since its construction, the house has had a number of owners and has lately undergone a smart renovation, bringing it bang up to date. In this vein, the kitchen is perhaps most conspicuously of the present day, with all modern conveniences and the kind of solid sleekness to which the contemporary design enthusiast has become accustomed.

White, wipe-clean worktops offset by minimalist espresso cabinets, orb overhead lighting, and an extension to the breakfast bar that, while nodding to Googie design, is perhaps more reminiscent of the contemporary trend for so-called “kinetic design” (especially since it recalls the spoiler of a racing car).

With that said, important original features remain, or have been improved. For instance, the general sparseness of decoration is pure mid-century, with the concrete seating around the entrance steps exercising minimal decorative waste.

Likewise, wall to wall, floor to ceiling windows wrap around the central open plan living area, leaving the house very much open to the outside world, while maintaining a sense of privacy through the elevation above the environment in which it is situated.

William Beckett - mid-century Platform House Beverly Hills - livingWilliam Beckett - mid-century Platform House Beverly Hills - terrace

Classy wood features abound throughout the house. In the main living area, Herringbone flooring showcases the wood’s variety of rich textures, and this is complimented by the front door, the dining room chairs and the breakfast bar stools, all of which are stained in a darker brown hue than the floor.

Overall the colour palette is soft and easy on the eye. Besides the wood, the prevailing colour is white and off white, again in a more contemporary flourish. Off white for the walls and ceiling in the main living area. This choice for a relatively muted palette takes the edge off the interior, all the better to direct attention more on the view outside.

All in all, this house provides a wonderful example of how to fuse contemporary and modernist design approaches.

This property is for sale! For more information, contact Cherryl Weaver via Hot LA Neighborhoods.

William Beckett - mid-century Platform House Beverly Hills - kitchenWilliam Beckett - mid-century Platform House Beverly Hills - kitchenWilliam Beckett - mid-century Platform House Beverly Hills - entranceWilliam Beckett - mid-century Platform House Beverly Hills - front

Photos by David Giannamore photography.

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