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in his 1971 biography of Schindler, the architect collected cuttings from European architecture journals of this period, including stylistically related projects by Theo van Doesburg, Adolf Loos and J.J.P. Oud.).

The house’s central volume is a cube, with an attached entry and a kitchen wing. The redwood-sheathed structure rises up from a concrete base that emerges out of the hillside. The concrete was poured and shuttered at sixteen inch intervals to match the horizontal module of the redwood battens above, which continue as transoms across window areas, all contributing to a stratified appearance.

A small glazed entry leads into the second-story living room, a dramatic space that expands outward to a terrace overlooking the view. Schindler pushed the living room ceiling upward, adding a vertical dynamism to the space. Entering further, one becomes aware of a diagonal axis linking the square plan of the living room with the square-shaped terrace outside, articulated by the patterning of the wooden ceiling overhead. These two spaces are divided by a glass wall that pushes into the interior envelope. The living room fireplace is double-sided, also serving the dining room beyond. Bedrooms are on the floor below.

The house needed cosmetic restoration. For this LaFetra called in Jeff Fink, an architect and contractor who has worked on 13 Schindler restoration projects. The exterior redwood cladding, which had deteriorated so extensively that one could push a finger through in places, was replaced, as were the deck and some rotted beams. The redwood was stained with Schindler’s recipe of linseed oil, turpentine and green pigment. Inside, Fink worked with interior designer Kristin Kilmer (who also collaborated with him on the other houses featured in this article) to furnish the house, recreating some of the original furniture and finishes. They reintroduced soft, earthy colors matched to traces they found of the original plaster. “I wanted to take people out of the “black and white” images of these houses,” says LaFetra, referring to the photographs that make up the historical record of Schindler’s original designs. “Schindler loved color from the time he spent in the southwest; warm-toned adobe buildings were the only examples of native architecture that he found on his travels across America. If you look at his notes, he gives you lots of hints about color.” They also had original furniture and built-ins refabricated or created for the first time from Schindler’s drawings.

The other architect that LaFetra particularly responds to is Lautner. The original owner of the 1961 Wolff House was a fan of Frank Lloyd Wright. Inspired by Fallingwater in Pennsylvania, he wanted to build an homage to Wright’s masterpiece in Los Angeles on a site overlooking Sunset Boulevard. Wright could not take on the project, so Lautner, with his credentials as a successful ex-apprentice of Wright’s, was chosen instead. The Wolff House was one of his first concrete houses, his material of choice as he moved into the mature phase of his career. Concrete offered him plasticity; it was in his words “solid and free,” enabling an architecture that could be shaped without modular restriction: roofs could soar and walls disappear.

The house is situated within a network of narrow lanes that run up the steep hillsides, dotted with houses of every style imaginable. One of these runs beneath the geometrically complex Wolff House: massive walls that zigzag down the hill to add strength and earthquake resistance, copper-clad roofs and balconies overlaid at angles to each other. The lane continues sharply upwards around another curve, before arriving in front of the house, near its top, visible only as a broad carport covered by a low-pitched sweep of concrete, with the entry tucked to one side. “I have never done a facade in my life,” Lautner often said, and we look in vain for one here.

Inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright, the entry sequence was carefully staged: first, a constricted low-ceilinged vestibule establishes a human scale, then a staircase descends a narrow space between a cement wall and an expanse of glass brushed by eucalyptus trees. Awaiting below is the dénouement: a dramatic, lofty living room with a balcony that thrusts out to embrace a view of the city. A seating area to the rear of the space nestles, cave-like, back into the hill. To the side is a double-height glazed wall and, beyond it, outside, an equally high stone-clad wall. Sandwiched between these are two eucalyptus trees — carefully Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96  |  Page 97  |  Page 98  |  Page 99  |  Page 100  |  Page 101  |  Page 102  |  Page 103  |  Page 104  |  Page 105  |  Page 106  |  Page 107  |  Page 108  |  Page 109  |  Page 110  |  Page 111  |  Page 112  |  Page 113  |  Page 114  |  Page 115  |  Page 116  |  Page 117
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