Text by Clive Wilkinson Architects
In 2020, Clive Wilkinson Architects was commissioned by a film director and his philanthropist wife to renovate and modernize the iconic Wolff House in West Hollywood, designed in 1961 by the visionary architect, John Lautner, for concert pianist and interior decorator Marco Wolff.
The house was enlarged, also by Lautner, in 1970 with a guest house wing. The oversailing wide copper roof was extended to embrace the guest house addition. The home was designated a Historic Cultural Monument in 2006.
The organic features of the surrounding hillside contrast with Lautner’s carefully integrated and forward-thinking uses of natural materials like stone, glass, and copper. The elegant, asymmetric geometry of the house is seamlessly integrated into this natural environment, creating an organic flow between the interior and exterior.
Over the years, the house changed hands several times, and changes were made – the kitchen was renovated with stainless steel cabinetry; the staircase was moved from the center to the back of the main house.
Our goal in restoration was to completely restore and revive Lautner’s design vision, without any stylistic imprint of contemporary design.
In the main house, skylights were restored to their original size and place. The powder room was renovated, a sheet of green marble enlivening the space. What had been a large, unfinished storage room, became a sleek wine cellar. The circular stairway was updated to make it less precarious and to visually integrate it in a more seamless way.
The primary bath restored the main features of the original layout, removing a deep sunken tub and replacing it with a glass-enclosed shower. Perhaps most notably, a floor to ceiling window was added to the primary bedroom, bringing in much needed light and expanding the views of trees and the city below.
In the guesthouse, a gym and extra bedroom were created, where before there had been a steam room and storage area. All the renovations were guided by the idea of bringing back the original Lautner character and erasing later modifications.
Photos by Tyler J Hogan