The Smith House, $3MAuthor:Philip Ferrato
Where: 1095 North Kenter Avenue, Los Angeles
What: A sublime pavilion in steel and stucco, Craig Ellwood’s Smith House is arguably one of the most important Modernist properties on the market, with a low-slung composition that gives little away, becoming a T-shaped structure cantilevered into the canyon.
Under the guidance of Ellwood’s former associate, architect Jim Tyler, this historic property has been sensitively restored throughout, and the question “What Would Craig Do?” seems to have foremost. Tyler, now also one of Los Angeles’ most respected teachers and mentors, worked in Ellwood’s office from 1965 to 1977, when Ellwood retired to paint in italy.
This austere house remains one of the best interpretations of classic International Style aesthetic– exposed steel rooted in the hillside, walls of glass, exquisitely thin railings– translated to postwar Los Angeles. And the perfect example of how Modernists believed that architecture could change one’s life, a place where every object (and every pile of paper) gets judged. The details count as much as the massing, like the bit of steel barrier in the open carport that keeps your Porsche from rolling into the house.
In what might have been a direct rebuke to Mies van der Rohe’s glass boxes, Ellwood closed the end of the living room with a wall of walnut panels. A more practical reason may just have been to block the intense setting sun.
What We Love: Every view is framed.
Tyler resisted the temptation to turn the baths into spas; if you blink, the kitchen’s a throwback, but then you realize it’s not.
More: Head to the listing for more images and details. Represented by Frank Langen, architecture specialist and senior partner at Deasy Penner.