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Aaron Kirman lists modernist masterpiece Richard Neutra-designed home in Hollywood Hills
Modernist architectural master Richard Neutra called this 1936 Hollywood Hills home his favorite of the period. Now, after a painstaking seven-year restoration, the home, a designated cultural heritage monument, is ready to delight a new owner. Listed for $3.5M, perched on a steep, raw Nichols Canyon hillside overlooking West Hollywood and the entire Los Angeles Basin (above and south of Laurel Canyon), the three-bedroom, two-bath residence was designed and built for Los Angeles Examiner printer Joseph Kun. Reflecting the architectural, technological, and spatial vision that’s made Neutra an icon of the Modernist movement for over 75 years, it was not only the first Neutra home with all-electric fixtures, but one of the first such homes in Los Angeles. The house also launched the career of world-renowned architectural photographer Julius Shulman, whose amateur Kodak snapshots of the property (his first encounter with Modernist architecture) impressed Neutra and led to the 26-year-old’s first professional assignment. Featured in the October 2014 issue of Dwell, the approx.1,732-square-foot, three-and-a-half story structure has horizontal bands of windows facing the LA Basin, framing sweeping views and bringing in strong, southern light via crystal clear low-iron, UV-protected glass. The steel-framed casements have been restored to original condition, an attention to detail reflected throughout the home. The entrance begins at the top and steps downwards. On the top floor, the foyer accesses a top-floor deck with an uninterrupted panorama of the city and the Pacific Ocean beyond. This space, together with wraparound decks on the other levels, are a Neutra signature, designed to blur the line between interior and outdoor spaces. The second level comprises the living room, dining room and kitchen, while the first, private level houses two bedroom suites and an office/third bedroom with its own entrance. Below the house, a beautiful, steep garden filled with color and exotic plants descends to a private meditation area by the timber bamboo that encloses most of the lower property. The restoration is likely the most meticulous of a Neutra to date. All post-1930s material was removed, and original and period fixtures were found or fabricated. Wood flooring was stripped and stained to its original color. Missing metal doors were recreated, and all built-ins and architectural details were painstakingly restored to 1936 standards. The nickel and chrome detailing, which marks the division between private and public spaces, and the rare period white vitrolite glass in the kitchen and bathroom indicate how painstakingly the restoration was carried out. Much of the original cabinetry was preserved; other pieces, such as the living room sofa and king-sized master bed, were custom made in place according to the original plans. While the home’s original Minimalist look has been carefully preserved, it features all the latest comfort and security technology. In the kitchen, an electric cooktop duplicating the one conceived by Neutra is built into the zinc countertop, with a contemporary oven concealed behind cabinet doors below. The large refrigerator is hidden behind a cabinet panel. A new, hidden central HVAC system has been installed, and the original plumbing and electrical brought to contemporary standards. Superbly and sensitively returned to Neutra’s original Modernist vision, this landmark architectural statement presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to a buyer equally captivated by that vision.
Read more at 7960 Fareholm Drive
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