Notes about Southern California FLW designs
The designs in the Los Angeles area offer some unique features. Primarily built in the 1920s, most involve the use of molded concrete blocks known as “textile blocks.”
A common characteristic of homes in the Los Angeles area is a devotion to good views (at least from one side of the house) and privacy. As a result, these houses are typically built into a hillside with one good side (usually the lower elevation) and one service entry side (usually at the top of the hill). Moreover, the houses are often surrounded by privacy walls or extensive hedges. With Wright designs, these privacy walls may repeat the motif of the house’s textile blocks. This privacy, though, means that – unlike Wright houses in the Midwest – you cannot stand in front of a neighboring property and get a good view of the side of the Wright house.
Space is at a premium in these expensive communities. As a result, the houses are often very close to the roadways. The roadways snake through the hills and present driving challenges. Many of the roads seem like they are only one and a half lanes wide, a charming feature until you are met by an oncoming vehicle headed down the hill.
If you go exploring, the mountains and hills can confuse GPS systems. While turn-by-turn directions are extremely helpful (particularly with winding roads), excessive reliance on electronics can easily turn a 15-minute trip into a half-hour nightmare.
The L.A.-area properties line up quite well and are often about 15 or 20 minutes from each other, so an ambitious exterior-only visit to each home can be accomplished in three hours or so. I started in Pasadena and worked my way west, hitting them in this order:
S.214 Millard (in Pasadena);
S.217 Ennis (L.A./Hollywood);
S.208 Hollyhock House and associated structures in Barnsdall Park (L.A.);
S.216 Freeman (Hollywood);
S.215 Storer (Holllywood);
S.356 Anderton Court Shops (Beverly Hills);
S.272 Sturges (Brentwood Heights)
The next property in this line would have been S.275 (Oboler, in Malibu) had time permitted.