Looking Back: Three Favorite Properties of 2018


 I write dozens of property posts every year for CH+D, homes culled from many more submitted by agents, publicists and designers. And while the architecture, design quality, staging and photography are all important, the principal criterion comes down to just one thing: In some wildly-prosperous alternative universe, can I imagine myself living there? These three were among my favorites in 2018; click on the links for the original posts and photo credits. –PF

The Stack House, Mount Washington, 2018, by FreelandBuck
We wrote about the Stack House before it came on the market, and it appears to have sold privately, but what was so impressive was the use of generic forms like board+batten in a highly programmatic way. Each level twists around the core to open up new vistas, and nothing inside (or out) is visually static in the least, all the while looking back at the compact, hillside houses of Neutra, Soriano, and others.

1215 Wynn Road, Pasadena, 1955, by Harry B. Zook
Harry B. Zook has long been one of LA’s most under appreciated Mid-Century architects, but that may be changing. His residential projects are probably too luxe to have fit into the severe Modernist canon that characterizes the recent Mid-Century revival, and probably more suited to Palm Springs (or Miami) than Pasadena. Here, the massive slab of roof is floats on tall, almost impossibly slender pilotis inside and out,  looking back to influential European modernists, especially Eric Mendelssohn. The glazing goes from from floor to ceiling, a detail that’s expensive and difficult to execute, plus Zook clearly had a way with poured concrete. This property has had a number of interior alterations, probably in the ‘90s, but retains its essential Zookness, selling for $3.1M, or $400K over the asking price.

280 Middle Road, Montecito, 1926, designed by Lutah Maria Riggs
Clavelitos, the exquisite house Lutah Maria Riggs designed for herself, and where she would live for the rest of her life. A disciple of G.W. Smith and one of California’s first women architects, Riggs worked almost exclusively in the Santa Barbara area, first taking over Smith’s projects after his sudden and unexpected death, and later, in her own moderne-inflected version of Andalusian Spanish Revival. Restored and much loved by interior designer Richard Hallberg, Clavalitos is a perfect example of the 1920’s Mediterranean romanticism in California. Currently off the market.