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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Frank Lloyd Wright-Joseph Eichler connection

According to a fascinating article by Colin Flavin that appeared recently on Houzz, there is a strong connection between the designs of Frank Lloyd Wright and the Eichler-built homes that are so revered by mid-century enthusiasts.

In 1943 Joseph Eichler, then working in the family egg and butter business, rented one of Wright's Usonian homes in the San Francisco suburb of Hillsborough.

Sidney Bazett House

Interior of Bazett House

"Usonian" is a term Wright coined for the series of homes he designed in the 1930s at the height of the Depression. They were built to be economical, custom homes for the middle class, and they were typically single-story dwellings which had no attics, no basements, no garages and little ornamentation.

Eichler loved the Bazett House, but he and his family stayed there for only two years, as it was sold to Louis and Betty Frank. However, the time Eichler spent in the FLW home had a profound influence on his life. He left the family business and in 1949 founded Eichler Homes Co. Over the next 20 years, his company built more than 11,000 houses, and those still standing are in great demand for their iconic mid-century design.

Wright's influences on Eichler's homes include floor-to-ceiling glass which provided openness to nature, street walls containing almost no windows, radiant floor heating, and carports.

Eichler innovations included post-and-beam construction, glazed gables, central courtyards, and open kitchens incorporated into multipurpose rooms.

Typical Eichler exterior

Typical Eichler interior

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Famous Case Study House #21 for sale

Case Study House #21, immortalized by photographer Julius Shulman, is for sale. The asking price is $4,500,000. Known as the Bailey House, the 2 bedroom/2 bath 1280 sf home was designed by architect Pierre Koenig for psychologist Walter Bailey and his wife Mary in 1958 and was featured in the February 1959 issue of Arts & Architecture as part of the magazine's Case Study Program.

In 1997 the current owner of the home, film producer Dan Cracchiolo (of Matrix, Lethal Weapon and Conspiracy Theory fame), asked Koenig to supervise a complete restoration, as it had suffered many alterations over the years. The work was completed in 1999.

The house sits on a 12,450 sf lot in West Hollywood and has a spectacular canyon view.